Every year, the AAC attempts to offer plant tours as part of its program of events at the annual AAC Conference and Exposition. At this year’s conference, the AAC arranged for Boeing to host tours of two of their facilities with anodizing capability. One tour was of Boeing’s plant in Frederickson, WA and the other tour went to their facility in Auburn, WA. These tours were limited in size so interested participants had to sign up early. I was one of the lucky ones who signed up early and got in on the tour to the Frederickson plant, the newer and more modern of the two facilities.
The Skin & Spar Operation in Frederickson features anodize lines that are used to produce Class 5 anodic coatings per BAC5632 "Boric Acid – Sulfuric Acid Anodizing". The 110ft long tank lines are large enough to process wing skins and the tank holds approximately 50,500 gallons. The size of the 2000 and 7000 series plate that is processed here is incredible. Intense machining and metalworking are all done on site prior to anodizing.
If you had your chance to sign up for this tour but decided to do something else, you really missed out. This was a once in a lifetime chance to see how massive aluminum plate is transformed into airplane wings, with anodizing as a crucial operation after fabrication. Many thanks go out to Boeing and the AAC for arranging such an interesting tour for its membership. I cannot wait until next year’s tours in Pittsburgh at the 2014 AAC Conference. Mark your calendars now!!!
This post was written by AAC Board of Directors Member Todd Hamilton of Southern Aluminum Finishing Company.