AAR PetroTech Announces Successful Test of Oil Purificiation System on Aircraft

AAR PetroTech announced that it has successfully adapted its proprietary oil purification technology for Skydrol, the synthetic oil used in aircraft hydraulic systems.

“This is a giant leap for us,” said Haig Hachadoorian, director of Product Development for AAR PetroTech and a pioneer of oil purification technology. “We proved that we can dramatically reduce water contamination and particulate levels in an aircraft’s hydraulic system with the use of our purification unit.”

Hachadoorian and his team recently completed a trial run on a USAF KC-10, the military adaptation of the 3-engine DC-10.

Since the 1970s, the company’s technology has been used by industrial plant manufacturers to reclaim and purify hydraulic oil—a procedure that results in potentially big cost savings. The success of the KC-10 test means that AAR PetroTech will soon be able to extend the same benefits to aircraft operators.

AAR PetroTech is a division of AAR Corporation, a provider of products and services to the worldwide aviation industry. Its move into Skydrol purification leverages AAR’s established reputation and expertise in the aerospace industry.

In both industrial hydraulic oil and Skydrol, contaminants such as water and particulates cause erosion and potential failure of hydraulic components. Repairing and replacing these components is costly. According to Robert Sopp, Executive Vice President, AAR PetroTech, purifying hydraulic oil as part of regular maintenance can extend the life of hydraulic components by as much as ten years.

“Our technology will help aviation stakeholders keep their components on wing longer, thus minimizing hydraulic component removal rates and boosting reliability,” Sopp explained. “This translates into lower aircraft-on-ground rates, shorter delay time, and leaner hydraulic component inventory demands. When you add up the high costs of hydraulic fluid and component replacement, the savings gained through purification with our machines is significant. And for aircraft operators, there’s an obvious safety upside to purification.”

The AAR PetroTech team’s success with the KC-10 came after a series of trials and errors. “We found that we would have to make modifications to the unit to handle the higher inlet pressures and flows required by aircraft hydraulic systems,” Hachadoorian explained. After several hours of modifying the unit, the test on the plane’s hydraulic system was successful. According to Hachadoorian, the purification system had dramatically reduced particulate levels and brought water content in the oil to well below spec.

AAR PetroTech’s proprietary technology combines microfiltration with low-temperature vacuum distillation. An ultrafine filter first removes particulates from the oil, such as dirt and metals, while vacuum distillation removes water, gases, and other impurities that can contaminate and damage hydraulic components.

“This test proved that we can modify the system to work with any type of aircraft,” said Daniel Watts, AAR PetroTech Lead Technician. “It also proved that we could integrate our unit with the aircraft without disrupting usual maintenance procedures.” He added that “The KC-10 team was very accommodating in working with us to make this happen.”

According to Dennis Santare, Director of Business Development for AAR Aircraft Component Services, a standard design for the Skydrol purification system is now being finalized, while cost-savings data from the KC-10 test, as well as from an earlier test on a commercial aircraft, are being collected.

“We’ve achieved a milestone in demonstrating the capability of our Skydrol purifier to Northrop Grumman,” Hachadoorian said. “This was a major step toward the day when oil purification will be a standard part of all aircraft maintenance routines. I have no doubt that’s going to happen sooner than later. After all, this is a technology with virtually no downside. From every angle, it’s a win-win proposition.”

For more information, please contact Dennis Santare: 516-222-9000 or visit www.aarpetrotech.com.

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