Aerospace Coating Techniques
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A creative repair solution from US Chrome Engineers fixes error on zero defect tolerance Titanium part, salvaging program budget and launch schedule.

Despite the highest of possible standards and quality procedures that all but eliminate the opportunity for mistakes, human error still occasionally makes an appearance, even on NASA programs that include tight schedule projects for the Space Shuttle. Such was the case recently when a seemingly uncorrectable error was made in producing a very expensive, extremely sophisticated component for an orbiting satellite.

     A leading aerospace manufacturer had been tapped to design and manufacture the part. A zero defect tolerance was applied to the Titanium component. Its timetable was tight and unbending, because the satellite was to be launched into space via the Space Shuttle.

     The part called for a number of holes to be drilled; however, the feed rate was not set correctly, resulting in holes that were considerably larger and egg shaped. Not only was it financially unfeasible to fabricate a completely new Titanium part, but there was not enough time to do so and still make the launch.

     Fortunately, one of the decision makers involved in the program had the idea to contact U.S. Chrome to see whether its material/process engineers had any creative ideas for solving this seemingly dead-end problem. It was the right call, because U.S. Chrome is the only Hard Chrome company that can apply Chrome on a Titanium Base Metal with sufficient adhesion to make parts aerospace worthy.

     U.S. Chrome studied the mis-drilled part and came up with an innovative repair procedure. The team at U.S. Chrome’s Ohio facility determined a three-step approach. First, engineers jig ground the hole, so it would be oversized and round. Next, the team hard chrome plated this hole undersized, directly to the Titanium substrate. Finally, the hole was finish ground to all geometric tolerances. Remarkably, this method enabled the component to meet spec and the contractor to keep the schedule to get it onto the satellite, so the satellite could get onto the Shuttle without any delay in launch time.

     What began as a potentially painful rebuild ended without incident thanks to some creative grinding and plating work by the metals experts at U.S. Chrome.

     For more information, contact: U.S. Chrome Corporation of Ohio, 107 Westboro Street, Dayton, Ohio 45417, Phone: 1-877-872-7716, Fax: 937-224-5695, www.uschrome.com, gsanto@uschrome.com. Or U.S. Chrome Corporation of Connecticut, 175 Garfield Avenue, Stratford, Connecticut 06615, Phone: 1-800-637-9019, Fax: 203-386-0067, www.uschrome.com, info@uschrome.com.