Bodycote is a leading supplier of environmentally responsible thermal spray coatings that are used extensively to improve the wear and corrosion characteristics of landing gear components. Over the past three years, Bodycote has implemented an investment strategy to specifically support the rapid growth of the landing gear supply chain. The recent signing of an eight year agreement with Messier Bugatti Dowty for thermal spray coating services on major commercial and military airframe components is an example of how the improvements and expansions at Bodycote can serve its customers.
Tom Gibbons, President of Bodycote’s Aerospace, Defence & Energy (Heat Treatment and Surface Technology), explained: “Bodycote was already an established supplier to the landing gear supply chain in France and the UK, but we realised that in order to support our customer base more effectively, we needed to broaden our process capability and offer more processes in the value chain. The growth of new programmes such as Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 was putting the supply chain under pressure. To support this expansion, we identified a requirement to develop a strategy to simplify how customers purchase value-added processes such as thermal spray coating.”
By adding ancillary processes such as pre- and post-finish grinding and non-destructive testing (NDT), Bodycote can deliver a comprehensive coating solution to the landing gear supply chain. Instead of sending the same part to multiple suppliers, customers can now issue a single purchase order to Bodycote for multiple value-added processes, reducing processing lead times and working capital costs.
Bodycote operates a network of thermal spray facilities strategically located to support the landing gear supply chain in the UK and France. Bodycote’s Newport plant in the UK recently completed the installation of a finish grinding and an NDT cell, doubling the size of the plant. The cylindrical and surface grinding capability, combined with the NDT line, has already started to benefit Bodycote’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 customers. In France, Bodycote’s facility at Serres-Castet has invested in a state-of-the-art thermal spray cell to coat large geometrically complex landing gear components. The fully automated system is capable of coating main landing gear components up to 2.2m in length and 500kg in weight. The site has also recently invested in vertical stripping capability that will be used to support the MRO market.
These additional capabilities in Europe are part of Bodycote’s long-term efforts to continue its global leadership in thermal processing services. More investments will be made in other growing aerospace markets, such as North America and Asia Pacific, to support the landing gear and aerospace supply chain. With facilities in 26 countries, Bodycote is able to combine the capability and expertise of a network of over 190 locations to deliver global, or local, services for customers in all major market sectors.