The company uses PPG Ambient Reactive Extrusion Technology to produce custom-designed ramp seals for Lockheed Martin’s C-130J Super Hercules

November 22, 2021

PITTSBURGH—PPG reported that it recently supplied Lockheed Martin with sets of six custom-designed ramp seals for the aft loading ramp of the C-130J Super Hercules military tactical airlifter. It was PPG’s first commercial sale of 3D printed components, created using a patented ambient reactive extrusion technology called PPG ARE, the company said in a release.

With the technology, PPG can make easy-to-install parts from its production-qualified aerospace sealant. The 3D-printing process enables PPG to customize the design of various parts, such as ramp seals, for continuous process improvement while increasing sustainability, the company said.

Conventional manufacturing processes involve subtractive manufacturing, which requires removal of excess materials to create the desired part. With additive manufacturing, the exact amount of material is deposited in the precise layout and design of the part—reducing waste, saving energy, and eliminating the rework of a manually created product. It also shortens the time required to bring the product to market.

“With additive manufacturing, we’ve automated a manual process for producing these ramp seals,” said Cindy Kutchko, PPG senior group leader, additive manufacturing, aerospace, in the release. “By creating shelf-stable parts that are quick to install, we are able to save our customers significant production time and a cost savings of more than 30 percent compared to current manufacturing processes.”

PPG said that it is working with Cosine Additive to expand PPG ARE large-scale 3D printing capabilities. The first 3D printer using PPG ARE technology for commercial applications has been installed at PPG’s Application Support Center (ASC) in Los Angeles. PPG’s position as a global paint, coatings, and specialty materials provider, combined with the size, speed, and accuracy of the PPG ARE thermoset technology in these 3D printers, is said to enable the creation of durable and functional parts that were previously difficult to produce.

“These 3D printed components are a game-changer for the C-130J Super Hercules,” said Rod McLean, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Air Mobility & Maritime Missions line of business, in the release. “PPG’s ARE technology is an outstanding example of how manufacturing innovation and evolution combine to deliver affordable, customized, and durable components for our operators.”

PPG’s global aerospace business offers coatings, sealants, adhesives, transparencies, packaging and application systems, and transparent armor, as well as chemical management and other services.

Research was sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Cooperative Agreement W911NF-17-2-0227.

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