Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc. a wholly-owned subsidiary of Praxair, Inc, has announced the commissioning of a dedicated production cell for applying metallic and ceramic coatings to airframe components.

Based in St. Etienne, France, the new production cell will provide automated high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) coating services for components used in actuation, landing gear and gearbox systems on rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

“Expanding the capabilities at our St. Etienne facility will provide European-based airframe system manufacturers with the most advanced coatings to combat wear, friction, corrosion, erosion and other problems,” said Mark Gruninger, Praxair Surface Technologies President.

“At the same time, we will help our customers reduce their environmental footprint as the aviation industry moves to replace hard chrome plating with greener alternatives.”

Thierry Thomas, Group Vice President of Engineering for Messier-Dowty, a world leader in the design and manufacture of landing gear systems, who attended the airframe cell commissioning ceremony along with the group’s Henri Koffel, Vice President of Purchasing, commented, “As Messier-Dowty invests in next generation airframe manufacturing technology, we seek advanced coating solutions that can help us design and produce improved landing gear systems. Working with Praxair Surface Technologies, we are better able to serve our customers with more environmentally responsible products.”

The new airframe production cell is equipped with the latest automated HVOF coating systems and process controls. The cell operates under the principles of lean manufacturing, which incorporates dedicated support systems and processes.

This structure ensures the highest level of equipment availability and reliability, and it provides customers with superior quality, product consistency and improved delivery times.

The St. Etienne facility is one of more than 35 production operations in the Praxair Surface Technologies global network. The company also provides airframe coatings services from several of its other facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia.