StandardAero’s large transport-category bizliner completions center, Associated Air Center in Dallas has received the state of Texas’ highest award for environmental achievement: the Texas Environmental Excellence Award. AAC received the award for its sustainability initiatives and continuous improvement projects in the reduction and/or elimination of products and processes that use hexavalent chromium as well as the use of LED (light-emitting diode) task lighting within aircraft projects.
Hexavalent chromium is used for corrosion protection of metal substrates in aircraft and is most commonly used in chromate conversion coatings of aluminum via chromic acid bath. The process, commonly called alodining, is also used in primer and sealants for the same reason. Aluminum is typically acid etched, alodined and primed with a hexavalent chromium primer.
On an unpainted and unfurnished aluminum-skinned aircraft, the primer and alodine are easy to see. It is hexavalent chromium that gives that familiar green or yellow color.
The health effects of exposure to hexavalent chromium include lung cancer, irritation or damage to the nose, throat and lungs; and irritation or damage to the eyes and skin. A common place of occurrence would be when maintenance technicians work inside an aircraft, putting them at risk for inhaling it as a dust, fume or mist.
“We removed the phosphoric acid etch in favor of a detergent cleaner and replaced alodine with an adhesion promoter for the chromate primer. The adhesion promoter reduced the hazardous waste generated from the alodine process by 32,400 pounds/year. Further, the chromate primer was reduced to structural metals only. Non-structural pieces are now primed with a water-based primer,” Aaron Myers, Associated Air Center’s environmental analyst, told AIN.
AAC has been recognized by the City of Dallas with consecutive Blue Thumb Awards and Pollution Prevention Awards. Last year the City of Dallas recognized the company for reducing water consumption by two million gallons by modifying its fire pumps to dead-head during required weekly tests.