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Thread: New covering system

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    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    New covering system

    Dear All

    I know this site is not for advertising, however we have been working with the manufacturer for the past year and we have gain UK approvals for it and covered our our aircraft (Sherwood Ranger) in it and it is both fast, revolutionary and fair stunning. The Product is Oratex UL600.

    Whilst it is not cheap the system is both eco friendly and human friendly, the adhesive system is water based, paint on and allow it to dry, iron on the fabric, shrink it up, rib tape and rib stitch if necessary and go fly. No paint, no sealer, no UV protection(it is in the fabric), no stinking solvents, no haz waste.

  2. #2
    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Hi Paul,

    There has already been a lengthy discussion of Oratex on this Forum. Mark Stull was considering it for his plane. Here's the link:

    Oratex Covering System

    Bruce

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    Registered User BBerson's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    How do you cover the surface tapes without paint?
    BB

  4. #4
    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Hi Bruce

    Thanks for your comments, nice to see somebody else looking to see what is available. We are now selling this product in the UK and Ireland and the acceptance has been very good. We have UK approvals for it's use in both permit aircraft (experimental) and microlights, just so easy to use.

    Paul

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    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Hi BB

    The tapes are coloured the same as the fabric, and the tapes are adhesive backed so once again just iron on.

    The weight saving on our biplane was 12 kgs or 26 lbs not a figure t be sniffed at and we saved in labour terms about 6 weeks, oh and no paint sprayer needed.

    Paul

  6. #6
    Registered User mstull's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    BB,

    A special glue is applied to both surfaces, in all cases, including applying tapes. You let the glue dry completely, and then the two are ironed together to activate the glue. It needs no painting, although it is paintable. This is a good product. For now, its main disadvantage is its very dull, unattractive finish. They're working on making a new shiny version (that will cost and weigh more).

    Another disadvantage is its cost. It's considerably more expensive than using Stits Poly Fiber. But if you include your labor time in the cost, it's probably less than Stits.

    Its advantages are: You don't need to buy a spray rig; You don't need a spray booth; You don't have to deal with toxic chemical fumes; It weighs considerably less; It takes much less labor; And there's way less opportunities to goof up.

    So it works out advantageous for manufacturers who sell covered airplanes. The weight savings can also be a big deal, if it makes the difference between passing a weight limit or not.

    I still have a sample of the material, some glue, the covering manual, and color samples. If anyone is seriously interested in covering their plane with Oratex UL600 in the USA, let me know, and I'll send it all to you.

    It looks like normal light Dacron covering cloth, that is dyed. But the dye dip also serves as a sealer and UV proofing. It does not look coated or painted. I found the extremely dull finish too unattractive to consider, even though I don't care much about aesthetics.
    Mark E. Stull
    mstull@wtxs.net

  7. #7
    Registered User BBerson's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Quote Originally Posted by paulgy80 View Post
    Hi BB

    The tapes are coloured the same as the fabric, and the tapes are adhesive backed so once again just iron on.


    Paul
    OK.
    But do you paint a strip of glue on the fabric first before ironing on the surface tape?
    This would look bad with brush marks. And if you eliminate the glue that is used to improve the fabric adhesion, the surface tape will not have the same adhesion.
    Certified airplane are required to have surface tapes to cover joints such as the leading edge. Usually 4" or 6" tape as specified in AC 43.13.

    Edit after rereading Marks post.
    You answered my question about the surface tape. But I am still confused about how the tapes are applied. Perhaps the taped area is masked, so a two inch wide area of glue is painted. Is that what you do?
    BB

  8. #8
    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Hi Mark

    To be correct the glue is applied the airframe only, you can let it air dry but you can also force dry it with cool air. The adhesive is quite advanced and patented, it is a 2 pack emulsion which is heat activated,the reinforcing tapes have pre applied heat activated adhesive whereas the cloth has no adhesive supplier.

    Cost, yes way more expensive, but as yo rightly point out by the time you add it all up it is about the same as Stits and Ceconite. But the benefits are emense in terms of time and outsourcing spraying etc.

    Weight is also an incredible saving, 12 kgs on our aircraft alone, that is big.

    The fabric is not dyed it has a colour system impregnated into the weave, by the way the weave is way finer than Stits or Ceconite. Once the colour is in it has a new technology sealer applied and then a UV absorber, so the whole thing is done and dusted. Even with all of this done the material stays ultra flexible, not stiff like paint, retaining it's modulus of elasticity. As the finish is in the weave and not a "topical" coating you also eliminate the handling issuse such as "bullseyes" when you press a painted surface, no dulling of the finish, no hidden surprises under painted finishes and weight savings.

    With regard to finish, if you are looking for gloss then the system is not for you, the finish is spot on for aircraft of the biplane era, and to be honest all of the benefits far outweigh the desire for a gloss finish, I have just cleaned our airframe and it could not be easier, I cleaned a Stits covered gloss finish Rans and the paint just cracked all over the place and after 4 years it needs a repaint???

    I guess horses for courses but there has been nothing new in covering for many years, I am pretty please to be advancing the cause in the UK

  9. #9
    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Quote Originally Posted by BBerson View Post
    OK.
    But do you paint a strip of glue on the fabric first before ironing on the surface tape?
    This would look bad with brush marks. And if you eliminate the glue that is used to improve the fabric adhesion, the surface tape will not have the same adhesion.
    Certified airplane are required to have surface tapes to cover joints such as the leading edge. Usually 4" or 6" tape as specified in AC 43.13.

    Edit after rereading Marks post.
    You answered my question about the surface tape. But I am still confused about how the tapes are applied. Perhaps the taped area is masked, so a two inch wide area of glue is painted. Is that what you do?
    BB
    Hi BB

    On a tape joint you can either apply the tape which has glue already applied on the back from the factory, tack in position then heat bond all over with an iron. Additionally for max adhesion you can take a 4" tape, select the joint you want to cover and apply masking tape at a gap 3.75" apply a quick layer of adhesive allow slight drying then remove the tape finish till totally dry by blow drying then apply the tape. No brush marks visable, fast and easy and no nasty solvents.

    Oh a major couple of benefits I forgot, if you get a pressure deflection of the fabric like handling hanger rash, all you do is use a hot air gun gently and take it out, very easy to do and if you do damage the surface then you can pactch it at the drop of a hat with an offcut, no respray, no big prep problems and to give you an idea a 1" split in a fuselage covering was dealt with in under 15 minutes in the hanger and was barely visable, try doing that with a finished Stits covering???

  10. #10
    Registered User mstull's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Quote: "To be correct the glue is applied the airframe only,..."

    That is contrary to the instructions in the latest covering manual, Paul. I talked to Siegfried recently, and specifically asked if both surfaces always have to be coated with glue. His answer was, "yes and no."

    Yes, the covering manual says to coat both the frame and the underside of the fabric. Doing that makes covering goof proof. It will still stick with just one surface coated. But it would be very easy to end up with spots of poor adhesion, if you're not super careful. So they recommend always coating both surfaces with at least a light coat.

    The finishing tapes are pre-coated with adhesive at the factory, so you only have to coat the surface you're sticking them on. Yes, you'd want to mark where the tapes would go to minimize the amount of glue that shows beside the tape edges, BB. It comes out looking excellent.

    One of my suggestions to Siegfried, in addition to offering a shiny material, was to factory coat all the fabric, not just the finishing tapes. His reason for not doing that was just the added weight. Apparently, extreme light weight is critical for some of his European customers. I suggested that in the USA, the convenience of having the fabric pre-coated with glue would be preferable.

    Quote: "... the weave is way finer than Stits or Ceconite"

    You must be comparing the weave of Oratex with medium Stits or Ceconite fabric, Paul. It's the same as light Stits or Ceconite. I'll count the number of threads per inch of both to be certain, next time I'm at my hangar. Light Stits fabric has an extremely fine weave.

    I didn't say the fabric was dyed. I was just describing its appearance... that it lacks a coated or painted look.

    When you count finishing tapes and everything needed to complete both, Oratex is significantly more expensive. That will vary considerably depending on the aircraft being covered. Oratex comes in two widths. How much more Oratex costs, depends on how much waste material you'll have.

    It also depends on how many coats of chemicals and what weight Stits fabric you're comparing to. If you use light Stits fabric, it takes less sealer to fill. For uncertified aircraft, you can also skimp quite a bit on chemicals. For example you only need to silver the top and sides. And you could use 2 cross coats of silver instead of 3. And you can skip one or both of the sprayed coats of sealer. So if you minimize the chemicals, especially like you can on an U/L, Stits is much cheaper.

    A proper Stits covering job (using the less shiny Poly Tone paint) will not crack, and will last the life of the aircraft, even parked outside all the time. Cracking is a common problem with the shiny Stits Aerothane paint.
    Mark E. Stull
    mstull@wtxs.net

  11. #11
    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Dear Mark

    Glad you spoke to Siegfried, he is a great guy with some good idea's, we have been working with him for over a year now and I did the translations on the instruction manual.

    The English manual only says fabric and airframe adhesive covering where tapes are being applied unless I am mistaken, you can download the latest manual from our website www.g-tlac.com

    Siegfried answering yes and no means exactly what I have stated above, yes with tapes and no elsewhere.

    Gloss adds weight, once again Siggy is spot on, as would adhesive on the back, and really not needed, I have now done 2 aircraft in UL600 and 4 in Stits/Ceconite, adhesive on the back is not needed.

    On the issue of dye, and sorry to be a pain but as I read it you said the product was dye dipped??

    It looks like normal light Dacron covering cloth, that is dyed. But the dye dip also serves as a sealer and UV proofing. It does not look coated or painted. I found the extremely dull finish too unattractive to consider, even though I don't care much about aesthetics.

    On all the work we have done I would completely agree UL600 is more expensive, but the benefits far outweigh a bit of cost on the front end. Most of our Homebuilders over here are boyant because of :-
    • No Smell
    • No solvents (unless you class water as one)
    • No paint, primer, sealer or UV coating needed
    • Little to no environmental impact
    • Wash out tools with water
    • Can apply adhesive today and apply fabric tomorrow or next year no time limitation (within reason)
    • You can do it in the front room
    • Light fabric 120 grams per meter and that is finished
    • The fabric is finished when you apply, no thick paint coats
    • No spray booth
    • No temperamental painter
    • No trailering aircraft about for painting
    • No paint cracking
    • No extra weight
    • Both finish sealer and UV absorbers applied in near Lab conditions ultra consistent quality and performance
    • Easy to apply
    • Easy to rib stitch
    • Pinked and straight edge conform easily
    • Significant weight saving (estimated Sherwood Ranger saving, dependant of spray shop to an extent 10 to 15 kgs)
    • Can be painted over, system paints are available for trim and styling
    • Fast, an SSDR aircraft which is completely covered recently took 4 weeks with Stits, a similar airframe was covered in 5 days with ORATEX UL 600
    In closing a proper Stits job, if you follow the book has between 7 and 9 coats after the fabric is on, you said earlier about making stuff goof proof, there looks to be a bit of room there for making some goofs.

    At the end of the day I am not selling the product in the US I have no axe to grind I am just stating what we have found and the benefits we have found and they are many, it is a dream to use, but take it as it is don't try to make it what it is not, otherwise you will loose the benefits and just have another old time aircraft covering.
    Kind regards

    Paul

  12. #12
    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Quote Originally Posted by mstull View Post
    A proper Stits covering job (using the less shiny Poly Tone paint) will not crack, and will last the life of the aircraft, even parked outside all the time. Cracking is a common problem with the shiny Stits Aerothane paint.
    And I've seen Polytone hand-rubbed to a decent (though not mirror-like) shine.

    Bruce

  13. #13
    Registered User bmcj's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Hi Paul,

    In reading your last post, I suspect that you feel Mark is speaking out against the Oratex. In reading through his past posts, I did not get the same perception. As I read it, I felt that Mark is, in fact, an advocate of your product and only has reservations regarding total cost and sheen. Other than that, I came away with the feeling that he likes many of the features that Oratex offers and would agree with most of the points you make in your post. Overall, I think that Mark has presented a very well balanced comparison between Oratex and PolyFiber.

    Bruce

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    Registered User paulgy80's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    Hi Bruce

    Many thanks for you balancing comments. I did not think Mark was speaking out against but I felt that there is more knowledge about the product that has been gained over many months learning process. As I indicated in an earlier post there has been little to no advancement to covering in, well, I don't care to think how many years, what I was concerned about for others who view the forum is that we are not comparing apples with apples, we are comparing apples and pears, they both look green but they taste different and are different and the Oratex pears are worth a taste.........

    Aviators are a suspicious bunch, well in the UK anyway, they like to see stuff in the market place for many years before they bite the bullet to buy, sometimes we need to grasp new technologies and push them forward, I hope somebody does with Oratex in the US, it is good kit.

    Kind regards

    Paul

  15. #15
    Registered User mstull's Avatar
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    Re: New covering system

    You're right, Bruce,

    I do like the product. The ultimate question is: Would I put it on one of my airplanes? We each have to answer that question. If you can abide with the super dull finish and higher price, it has a multitude of significant advantages. And I agree completely, that Stits and other systems have some huge disadvantages. I don't rule out using Oratex on my planes, especially since my spray rig wore out, and will cost $400 to fix.

    I read the Oratex covering manual several times, a couple of the times looking specifically to see whether you need to coat both surfaces. The manual seemed vague. It neither says specifically that you always have to coat both surfaces, nor that you only have to coat just one. That's why I asked Siegfried about that, and got the answer I posted.

    I'm hoping my suggestions to Siegfried will help him come up with a product better suited to the USA market. And I hope we get a USA distributor, so we don't have to order from Germany.

    In the mean time, I keep finding more steps I can skip with Stits, saving time and money. I'm down to 6 total coats, but could easily cut that to 3 or 4, depending on the color. As a minimum you could brush 1 coat of Poly Brush, spray 1 cross coat of silver (Poly Spray)(Only on top and sides), and spray 1 cross coat of paint (Poly Tone). You could use the homebuilt fabric that Aircraft Spruce sells at half the price of Stits. I'm gradually using fewer finishing tapes. And I stopped using any rib stitching or PK screws. With all that, you can do a whole U/L airplane for around $400, and it would still look good and last long. That's about 1/3 the cost of Oratex. I already skip all the surface preparation chemicals.

    I wouldn't be surprised if you could similarly skimp on a few things with Oratex on a Part 103 U/L. But that wouldn't bring the cost down much.
    Mark E. Stull
    mstull@wtxs.net

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