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Airplane Artists Aided by Advanced Motion Technology

Aircraft painting at Boeing’s Everett facility is a manually intensive operation performed by skilled artisans. Many of the paint schemes produced by the decorative painters at the facility are truly works of art. That art is now being facilitated by advanced motion technology that lets operator cranes reach within 4 inches of the aircraft without risk of contacting it.

Aircraft painting at Boeing’s Everett facility is a manually intensive operation performed by skilled artisans. Many of the paint schemes produced by the decorative painters at the facility are truly works of art. That art is now being facilitated by advanced motion technology that lets operator cranes reach within 4 inches of the aircraft without risk of contacting it.

The typical commercial airliner carries 800 pounds of paint. The paint’s primary function is corrosion protection to the aircraft skin. Requirements for the paint include: Durability to support the fuselage’s expansion with cabin pressurization, flexibility in all conditions, weather and temperature extremes, impact from hail and dust (at 600 mph); and resistance to salt spray and chemicals (hydraulic fluid, de-icer, etc.).

During operations to prep and paint the aircraft, painters navigate quickly around the aircraft on large working platforms mounted on cranes known as stackers. Each stacker (see picture) is an overhead-supported boom with four axes of movement: bridge, trolley, hoist, and rotate. Continue Reading →