SDI Lasers, a subsidiary of research and development company Klydon, will soon unveil a laser-based paint removal system intended mainly for the defense and commercial aviation industries. Carel Swart, Klydon's chief commercial officer, told South African publication Engineering News that use of the new laser system will save turnaround time, require less work and result in less hazardous waste than using today's aircraft paint-removal techniques. SDI Lasers is looking for a strategic partner to commercialize the product and hopes to win its first order for its new paint-removal laser system within the next 12 months.
The company is also developing laser-based systems for non-destructive testing of and paint removal from composite-material structures in aircraft. Manufacturers are increasingly using composite materials – particularly materials which make extensive use of woven, resin-embedded carbon fiber – in their aircraft designs (even for major structural components) and SDI Lasers has found that such aircraft are creating a new market for carbon dioxide lasers in non-destructive testing and paint removal.