The story began when we were asked for some product samples by an engineer from the Aircraft Restoration Company, based at Duxford Aerodrome in Cambridgeshire (a former Royal Air Force base which is now also home to Britain’s largest aviation museum, the Imperial War Museum Duxford). From this historic base the Company provides an extensive range of aviation services, these include; aircraft restorations, aircraft maintenance, aircraft transportation as well as aircraft display, TV and film work.
At the time, the company was nearing completion on an exciting project: the rebuilding of a vintage De Havilland DHC-1 Chipmunk two-seater aeroplane. However, they had encountered an unusual problem during the restoration and came to Advance Tapes looking for a product that could offer a solution.
The aircraft’s streamlined shape required a number of aluminium alloy panels to join various surfaces together (such as between the wings and the fuselage), which were screwed face-to-face. This could potentially cause a problem as vibrations from the engine could cause fretting or chafing between the surfaces of the panels.
The engineers wanted to alleviate this by applying protective adhesive tape along the internal edges of the panels, meaning there would be no direct metal-on-metal contact – a fantastic solution, but one that would only work with exactly the right tape.
After consulting with our in-house technical experts, we offered several potential solutions to help the Aircraft Restoration Company choose the perfect tape to use. The product needed to meet several important criteria:
- Highly resistant to dampness or oil misting from the engine
- Very strong and durable adhesive
- No thicker than normal electrical insulation tape
- A cost-effective solution (for a project as large as an aeroplane!)
After considering the samples and advice we provided, the 25mm-wide version of AT8 Lane Marking Tape was selected as the best solution for the job. As the name suggests, this popular PVC tape is most commonly used for things like marking out traffic lanes on warehouse floors. However, its durability and flexibility make it ideal for a huge range of more creative uses, just like in this case.
“As the Supervising Engineer on this project I was aware of the needs for a suitable product but our normal supply routes had drawn a blank. After contacting Advance tapes with the problem, they were most swift in finding a suitable product for our requirements.
They were able to supply a tape that was both thin and flexible enough to follow the contours of the various joint panels and yet had the strength to provide the protection we needed. In addition the high degree of adhesion was essential for the aggressive environment that some of the panels are situated in.
We were thoroughly pleased with the tape supplied for the purpose and most grateful to Advance Tapes for giving us the product we needed thanks to their in-depth knowledge of their range and the customer support was second to none.”
Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor
Aircraft Restoration Company
The customer was extremely pleased with the results, allowing them to complete the project and restore their post-war aircraft to its former glory. Although the finished results aren’t yet ready to be unveiled to the public, the team did provide a sneak-peek of the AT8 tape being applied.
We always love to hear about inventive applications for our tapes, so if you’ve found an original use for any of our products or you’d like some help investigating different possibilities, please let us know!