Daher's aircraft division has inaugurated a large paint facility at its Kodiak Aircraft Company production site in Sandpoint, Idaho, marking the latest investment since Daher's acquisition of the Kodiak utility aircraft product line in 2019.
Daher invested $2.7 million in the operation, which consists of separate preparation and paint booths, and was conceived with the possibility of additional expansion to meet increases in Kodiak production rates. A team of full-time highly skilled painters has been formed to staff the facility.
“This underscores our commitment to the Kodiak's future as we evolve the aircraft family,” says SVP Nicolas Chabbert. “It follows the launch of two new Kodiak versions since Daher purchased the product line four years ago: the enhanced Kodiak 100 Series III, which we introduced during 2021, and the larger Kodiak 900, unveiled in July 2022.”
The Sandpoint painting operation mirrors the best practices process employed by Daher's aircraft division at Tarbes, France for its TBM family of very fast turboprop aircraft, with major components, including the fuselage, wings, control surfaces, cowlings and doors, painted individually after coming out of manufacturing and then flowed directly into the final assembly line.
An electrostatic painting technique is employed, ensuring a more environmentally friendly process as well as an enhanced surface finish for the aircraft components.
Until now, Kodiak aircraft were flown from Sandpoint to locations outside of Idaho for painting. This extended the production time, while also requiring control surfaces to be removed upon arrival and the aircraft reinstalled once the procedure was completed. The ability to perform on-site painting reduces the overall Kodiak production cycle by approximately one week.
Aligned with Daher's strategy of being a responsible corporate citizen in the regions that it is located, the company utilised local-area contractors for the new paint facility's design and construction, while also working closely with the city of Sandpoint for the permit process.