Lufthansa Technik is now using a new, faster and more environmentally-conscious process to maintain aircraft fire extinguishers at its Hamburg component shop.
A test facility for this work was dedicated recently and put into regular service.
The new process primarily reduces environmental risks while also significantly cutting turnaround times. The job of inspecting the fire extinguisher container no longer involves the time-consuming task of purging the ozone-depleting halon from the container (pressure bottle), temporarily storing it and externally processing it for reuse.
Lufthansa Technik claims it is the world’s first and only independent MRO provider that offers this service on the market.
The pressure bottles of aircraft fire extinguishing systems are usually ball-shaped metal containers that measure between 10 and more than 40cm in diameter. Their structural integrity and proper function must be regularly checked. Up to now, they have been emptied and inspected in a water bath using hydrostatic testing methods.
As part of the work, the attachment parts on the container are removed and then welded back into place.
The inspection also involves the purging of halon, an ozone-depleting chemical that is still used in aviation for this special purpose due to safety reasons and the lack of alternatives. The halon is then temporarily stored in containers at the Hamburg base.
Authorised service providers then clean and certify it before it is refilled in the bottles. Each step in the process of purging the fire extinguishing agent, temporarily storing it and transporting it poses a potential risk to the environment.
The new process enables the fire extinguishing agent to remain in the pressure bottle throughout the entire inspection, a change that eliminates the complex handling of the chemical.
The maintenance work can now be completed much faster and more economically and environmentally consciously than with conventional processes.
Visit lufthansa-technik.com for more information.