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07 July 2022

Ionbond, a proven coating service partner for aerospace

The aerospace industry is a fascinating sector, with high quality requirements, cost pressures and safety criteria. Ionbond is proud to have over 30 years of experience in this challenging market, from our plants in three different countries. In this article, Managing Director Franck Derangere (Ionbond France), Managing Director Chris Constable (Ionbond UK) and Val Lieberman, our Global Segment Manager for Industrial Components, discuss Ionbond’s expertise and advantages in aerospace.
Ionbond, a proven coating service partner for aerospace

Certified experts in high-quality coatings

“The basis of Ionbond’s successful partnerships in the aerospace sector is our decades of experience with a wide range of coatings, applications, markets and materials,” says Chris. “Our quality, reliability and expertise are corroborated by the ISO 9001 and AS 9100 certifications that our plants in Consett (UK), Paris, Toulouse and Lyon (FR) carry. At Consett, we also have the NADCAP Merit Status.”

As a company certified to provide coatings for Airbus aircraft, Ionbond is a key supplier to Airbus and its subcontractors. We also work with many other aerospace companies, such as Pratt & Whitney, Dassault Aviation and Rolls Royce, both in commercial air travel and defense. Franck: “We can support our customers with all steps of aerospace coating, including quality procedures, tooling design, coating application, etc. That includes choosing from, and potentially customizing, a wide range of PVD, CVD and PACVD coatings.”


Tribobond™ 40 applied on a shaft used to sustain aeronautic engine and avoid fretting to make maintenance easier

Coatings that provide the desired surface functionalities

Each aerospace application has its own requirements and quality criteria, mostly because the components need to function in wildly varying environments: in the hot section of the engine, components are exposed to heat and corrosion; in the cold section, to erosion and wear; and in other parts of the aircraft, reliable smooth movement is required. “Many of the aerospace components we coat require low-friction and fretting wear resistance,” says Chris. “Consider bearings, fasteners, actuators, and other moving components that have to keep functioning under difficult environmental circumstances. For these applications, the Tribobond™ 40 (WC-C:H) and Tribobond™ 01 (TiN) coatings are very popular.”

Franck also noted an increase in demand for coatings that can provide even better corrosion and high temperature resistance in the last five years. “Another growth market for the near future,” he says, “is offering PVD coatings for components that currently still use hard chrome plating. Once hard chrome plating is no longer allowed in Europe, PVD can provide similar surface characteristics. The right coating also contributes to the sustainability of air travel and reduction of its carbon footprint – by reducing wear and fuel consumption and increasing service intervals.”

The service level this challenging industry needs

“One thing that sets Ionbond apart from our competitors is our capacity to coat larger components, up to 1.4m long,” says Chris. “In addition to this large-scale coating equipment, we also have smaller machines to efficiently coat small lots.” Franck adds: “Turnaround time is very important in aerospace, especially if an airplane is stuck on the ground, waiting for a replacement part. We are proud to offer good, reliable turnaround times in general and an optional fast AOG service.”

Ionbond is also known for its excellent engineering teams. Both Chris and Franck confirm that they are very open to customization and development at their respective plants in the UK and France. “We are actively involved in developing custom solutions for unusual or unique challenges,” says Franck. “Our engineers are always searching for new coatings and bespoke solutions to solve specific challenges.”

Sometimes, this takes the form of unique manufacturing capabilities. Chris: “We are proud to offer our rapid prototyping service for mask designs, important for when drawings call up areas of components that need to be free of coating. With 3D printing technology, we can quickly test and iterate masking methods to achieve clean lines with no diffuse areas between the masked and coated regions. This reduces time to market as we can order production masks from our contractors more quickly and with confidence.”

The Hauzer F1500Max at Ionbond Consett, the largest Airbus qualified equipment globally, with Pylon Spigot Sleeves ready for WCCH coating.

Trust and quality, the basis of long-term relationships

“Ionbond worldwide is known for its long-term relationships with customers,” says Franck. “This consistently shows up in our customer survey results as well. And because of our flexible engineering teams, customers come back to us time and time again with new challenges. New customers, too, find that we are able to respond quickly to their specific needs.”

Would you like to know more about what Ionbond can do for you? Or about sampling, our aerospace certifications and quality standards? Visit us at FIA 2022 or contact us by filling in our contact form and our Global Segment Manager for Industrial Components, Dr. Val Lieberman, will be happy to reply to all of your enquiries.

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Tribobond™ 01 applied on shafts

Global presence in aerospace

In addition to the European operations, Ionbond provides coating services to aerospace industry in the US. Val Lieberman, Global Segment Manager Industrial Components, elaborates: “Our plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, is qualified to provide coatings to Airbus, and is a key supplier of coated components for the aircraft assembled in the US. Ionbond coating centers in Chicago and Cleveland provide specialty coatings for various components of aircraft controls and jet engines. Just like in the European plants, our US teams are highly skilled in providing outstanding services to our customers. As the sourcing of aircraft components expands to Asia, we also see an increased demand for aerospace coatings in China and India, where Ionbond has capabilities for their production through a network of coating centers.”

Cutting tools for aerospace and defense manufacturing

Ionbond has a strong reputation for tool coatings in a variety of industries. Selecting the right coating can make a dramatic difference in the lifetime and performance of cutting tools. Chris: “In the UK, the Ionbond Hardcut™ Plus and Tetrabond™ Plus coatings are very popular for aerospace materials. Aircraft components have tight component tolerances and are often made of high shear strength/low machinability alloys. Hardcut, our multilayer TiSiN coating, has been proven to perform exceptionally well improving cost effectiveness of the manufacturing process.”

Cutting Tools coated with Hardcut™ Plus (left) and Tetrabond™ Plus (right)

Space applications for Ionbond coatings

“Most of what we do for the aerospace industry concerns commercial air travel,” says Val. “However, our coatings do find numerous applications in the space industry, both in satellites and launch vehicles. Of course, many of these coatings are specially developed.” For instance, Ionbond Tribobond™ coatings are used in elements of cryogenic fuel delivery systems to prevent galling and provide other functional improvements. Specialty Ionbond™ CVD diffusion barrier coatings are used to enable operation of plasma thrusters to control space probes and satellites. Ionbond engineers also developed customized CVD coatings for extremely high-temperature space-related applications.

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Dr. Val Lieberman

Dr. Val Lieberman

Global Segment Manager Industrial Components

+41 62 553 42 35 [email protected]

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