United States

United States

New coating for blades

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San Gorgonio Pass company will probably test 40-50 sets of blades with a new polyurethane coating designed to prevent the deterioration that occurs with the standard gel coat most commonly used on glass fibre rotors.

Field Service and Maintenance of Palm Springs is already testing four sets of Phoenix blades with the new coat, used on high-speed boats and airplanes, says the company's Clare Lees. He says production losses amount to 12-18% because of the gel coat deteriorating and becoming rough. If blades are sanded, polished and re-waxed, they regain their factory production curve.

Armed with this knowledge, Field Service approached Phoenix Industries of Crookston, Minnesota and got the company to use polyurethane paint, which comes with a ten year guarantee. "They're flying now, but it's way too premature to tell what the performance will be," says Lees. But after the first five months of testing, he comments: "Yes, it's looking excellent." He cautions, though, that the blades have not been through a "bug season" yet.

The company is now talking to Phoenix Industries about using the new paint on existing blades. "I believe the economics will be paid for in less than one and a half years," predicts Clare Lees.

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