preptech From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 4 posts, RR: 0 Posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3725 times:
After recently joining this community to contribute some expertise on a related topic, I am wondering whether anyone here can provide any information about the industry's actual use of tack cloths...about Boeing (or others' ) specs ? ...about how/where they're used ? ...about how they're evaluated and validated ? ...about technicians who use them, managers who oversee the applications ? ...etc.
We would welcome the opportunity to provide much more technical detail on tack cloths.
tdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 81 Reply 1, posted (3 years 3 months 1 week 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 3603 times:
Quoting preptech (Thread starter): After recently joining this community to contribute some expertise on a related topic, I am wondering whether anyone here can provide any information about the industry's actual use of tack cloths...about Boeing (or others' ) specs ?
Each company will have their own spec, which will lay out the answers to all your other questions. For commodity materials like tack cloths, there will typically be many vendors who manufacture material to the same specification. The first part of the path, at least for Boeing, is to register with them here: http://www.boeingsuppliers.com/
Then you start down the long road of qualifying your product to an existing specification, or convincing Boeing that they need to create a new spec for your product.
preptech From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 4 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (3 years 3 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3275 times:
tdscanuck - Thanks for your input. I've been in the tack cloth industry for 30+ years, and have become a foremost expert in the field with industry-adopted product developments to my credit. I've been through the introduction, sales and support processes with auto manufacturers and other major industries, so I understand that corporations have their own product specs, requirements, etc. One problem here is in even getting those specs. Another problem is in being able to find appropriate contacts and discuss with them whether their specs are complete or even valid, or what might be some alternatives, etc. In the case of tack cloths, which are often poorly understood even by experienced paint engineers, there are often misstatements in specs such as "percent tack".
When treated as a commodity, tack cloths are too often not considered for their great variety of chemistries and other qualities that are difficult to qualify. Tack cloths, in particular, will differ greatly between the relatively few manufacturers in the industry, regardless of empirical spec. Auto manufacturers who perform "Class A" painting know about these nuances, and will "validate" and approve only specific manufacturers and their individual tack cloths, in addition to specifying the material in general.
I believe that Boeing (et al) would have keen interest in the kind of uncommon, highly specialized expertise that I can provide. But I have never quite been able to crack the Boeing corporate veil. Large corporations impose high hurdles to small businesses or qualified individuals who may seek to do business with them, or even try to make a simple inquiry. Channels are not generally open to those who are not large advertisers or trade show exhibitors, or who don't have well-established channels in related industries or professional communities.
Generally, small businesses or individuals who seek entre to large corporate customers would need to work through a pre-approved, tiered vendor. But getting to that point requires some sort of contact with the actual corporate consumer in order to start the process. From my experience in the auto industry (also notoriously difficult to access), the best channel is a "champion" inside the corporate customer who can takes some interest in the situation, and thereby help a potential vendor to jump through the hoops (whether that's to become a direct vendor or to work through an approved teir vendor). Otherwise, the investment in time and money that may be required to even investigate an opportunity can be prohibitive to a small business.
Its understandable that larger corporations need to filter and qualify vendors, but at the same time, this kind of efficiency may come at their expense of obtaining the best inputs available.
About Boeing using tack cloth, we know that it had been an item of use there at some point because we used to receive requests for a certain brand of tack cloth that was said to meet some Boeing specification (which I was never able to obtain). It stands to reason that the aviation industry at large is...or would be...a significant and interested consumer of tack cloths for paint preparation. In particular, overseas component suppliers could benefit from a more global perspective on tack cloth rather than their reliance on regional suppliers who may not have achieved "state of the art" in tack cloth. Where solvent wiping is used to remove particlate, tack cloth might be substituted as a much less hazardous alternative...and potentially superior one (at least in some applications). Where tack cloth is not used, or where its use may have been reduced, its not unlikely that the consumer had a bad experience with poor quality tack cloth. Certainly Boeing has not had the benefit of my expertise.
So further comment, questions and contacts are most welcome here.
kanban - the recent thread you mention about cheesecloth contamination in the new Dreamliner was the impetus for me to join and contribute to this forum. It showed up on a recent search I conducted.
tdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 81 Reply 4, posted (3 years 3 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 3211 times:
Quoting preptech (Reply 3): Auto manufacturers who perform "Class A" painting know about these nuances, and will "validate" and approve only specific manufacturers and their individual tack cloths, in addition to specifying the material in general.
Aerospace companies do this too. Once they've defined a spec, individual vendors have to prove that they can build to that spec and then a list is developed for each spec of which vendors can provide which materials under that spec. In order to actually use the material, the vendor has to be on the qualified vendor list...even if they say they meet the spec, and even fi they *do* meet the spec, use of an unapproved vendor is a no-no.
preptech From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 4 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (3 years 3 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3129 times:
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 4): Aerospace companies do this too. Once they've defined a spec, individual vendors have to prove that they can build to that spec and then a list is developed for each spec of which vendors can provide which materials under that spec. In order to actually use the material, the vendor has to be on the qualified vendor list...even if they say they meet the spec, and even fi they *do* meet the spec, use of an unapproved vendor is a no-no.
I would assume as much. The essential questions are 1) how was a spec formed...did it benefit from product expertise and different perspectives ? ...and 2) what products were evaluated ? ...was there a at least a representative cross-section of types and vendors ? Very often these steps fall short, sometimes because the consumer is overconfident in their own knowledge of a product or material. I note this because barriers to entry make it difficult for suppliers (experts) to scrutinize the consumer's spec and process for reviewing/testing/validating supply items (like "peer review" in academia). Consumers may end up have a spec that's driven by a single or unduly favored vendor. I could cite examples from the auto industry, such as where supply was routinely shorted of spec because vendors were not able to police each other.
I would strongly encourage professionals in aerospace surface prep and finishing processes to take a new look at tack cloth, whether they use it now or not. Distinguish the actual manufacturers from resellers; learn about how the product actually varies between brands and designs; investigate how the product can be described/specified, how it can be tested, and how it can affect process cost and quality; consider the new technologies on the market. The true cost of something like tack cloth is not in the purchase price, but is much more in the effect that it has on the completed finish (dirt/defect counts, need for paint repairs, etc.). This is why the auto industry moved from price-driven commodity, cheesecloth-based tack cloths to much higher priced synthetic-based versions -- the results in the paint process were much more cost-effective overall.