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News | Aug. 30, 2022

Vital Aircraft Parts Restored at FRCSW Metal Processing Shops

By Jim Markle

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest’s (FRCSW) metal processing shops in Building 472 restore thousands of crucial metallic aircraft parts and components annually.
Many of the items have sustained damage or suffered prolonged exposure to the harsh environment of the Navy’s fleet.
Once inducted, components are stripped to their metallic structures through blasting and cleaning methods and inspected for indications of corrosion or unusual wear. About half undergo a non-destructive inspection (NDI) to determine the cause of defects found during visual inspections.
Following repairs, the components (if required) are plated and sent to the paint shop. Afterward, they are deemed ready-for-issue or sent to kitting for installation.
The shops are divided into four work centers: the blast shop, cleaning shop, plating and metal spray, and employ artisans from a variety of trades including sand blasters, robotic shop peening mechanics, electroplaters, robotic metal spray finishers and metal finishers.
The first step in the restoration process is the removal of any residue.
Blast media removes corrosion by using fine granules of glass, metal or ceramic. The media size used depends upon the amount of material removed and the composition of the part.
Shot peen, for example, is typically made of metal or plastic and varies in size to as small as a grain of sand. It is used on a variety of parts including landing gear, turbine disks, and aircraft wheels.
Blast shop facilities can accommodate large components like canopies and windscreens. During the process, media blast is vacuumed from the walk-in chamber and recycled, while smaller parts are treated in hand cabinets.
Afterward, components are sent to either NDI, the cleaning shop or to plating.
In the cleaning shop, aluminum and nickel-plated parts are immersed in a strip tank of alkaline solution. Steel-based parts are placed in a nitric acid strip tank, then rinsed in hot water and placed in a dryer.
To clean parts made of plastics and some metals that are not compatible with the acidic or alkaline-based solutions, the shop uses an aqueous degreaser. The degreaser removes oils, grease, metallic flakes and chemicals.
Steel and aluminum parts typically complete an NDI process before forwarding to the plating shop.
Once cleaned, most components move to the plating shop where nickel, chrome, silver, or cadmium are applied.
Cadmium is used for components exposed to a salt-water environment because it serves as a protective coating to the substrate materials.
Cadmium is usually electroplated to steel, copper, and powdered metals via an alkaline bath containing cadmium oxide. Once complete, depending on the material it is covering, the component is placed in an oven and baked for up to eight hours.
Ionic vapor deposition (IVD) applies aluminum, steel, brass, or beryllium to component substrates primarily for corrosion protection. The procedure may be operated in a vacuum to minimize potential contamination when aluminum coatings, for example, are applied.
The IVD process coats steel and copper alloy parts including bushings, springs and bolts. Larger parts needing plating to a small area undergo a stylus plating procedure where numerous coatings are applied to achieve the desired thickness.

Nov. 21, 2023

FRCSW at Fleet Week San Diego

On November 8 2023, Fleet Week in San Diego unfolded as a grand spectacle of innovation and technology, transforming the Port Pavilion Building into a vibrant hub of the future.

Nov. 10, 2023

Honor Flight San Diego’s Tribute to American Veterans

Veterans Day not only offers a moment to reflect upon the sacrifices of service members, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the price of liberty and the importance of acknowledging those who have borne its cost. This day reinforces the timeless truth: freedom is never free, and gratitude towards its guardians is eternally owed. Building on this spirit of reverence, organizations like Honor Flight San Diego (HFSD) work tirelessly to show tangible appreciation to these heroes.

Sept. 5, 2023

FRCSW STEM in Action

When Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) STEM ambassadors visit local communities, their goal is to utilize the STEM outreach program to inspire and create valuable opportunities to learn for both students and educators. The program also tries to empower both the students and FRCSW employees by fostering meaningful connections between Naval STEM efforts and the upcoming generation.

July 20, 2023

FRCSW Engineer Receives Assistant Secretary of Navy (Research, Development and Acquisition) Dr. Delores M. Etter Top Scientists & Engineers of the Year Award

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May 15, 2023

FRCSW Comptroller Receives Department of the Navy and Secretary of Defense Financial Management Awards

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April 27, 2023

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

FRCSW E-2D Team Wins NAVAIR Commander’s Award

April 18, 2023

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

FRCSW Sailors Named 2023 Sailor of the Year

April 6, 2023

FRCSW Ally Support Strengthens Royal Australian Air Force

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) successfully completed a first of its kind reconfiguration of a U.S. Navy EA-6B Growler for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

March 31, 2023

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest - Eliminating Waste and Improving Efficiency

For over 100 years, Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) has provided the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps with the highest quality products and services in the most efficient manner possible. One of the state of the art management systems that makes this possible is the “Lean” process which focuses its attention on eliminating waste and error. FRCSW began the command’s most recent “Lean” process by integrating pre-expendable bins (PEB). Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Legg, Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Industrial Supply Officer, in collaboration with the other PEB managers, played a pivotal role in the improvement of PEB inventory.

Sept. 26, 2022

FRCSW Navy’s Sole Maintainer of Rotodome Radar

A primary tool of the Hawkeye’s defensive posture is the rotodome radar system, maintained by Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW).