“Integrate functions to your coatings & robustness for your bondings”

Competitiveness and industrial performance are two challenges spurring on the adaptation of surface treatment and assembly technologies, the reduction of manufacturing costs and the reduction of product maintenance while adapting processes to comply with new legislation, notably environmental regulations. The objectives of weight reduction, multi-functionality or the improvement of durability put surface treatment at the heart of tomorrow’s R&D.


The center designs, develops and operates on a semi-industrial scale. Understanding the impact of process parameters is reinforced using modeling tools. The technologies developed at IRT Saint Exupéry are thus transferable and adaptable to the needs of the aeronautics and space industries.


The applications targeted are mainly structural parts or sub-assemblies of aeronautics systems as well as launchers and satellites.


Finally, the center develops the competencies of technicians, engineers and doctors. It also trains PhD students for careers in surface treatment and assemblies with a strong emphasis on the automation of processes.

R&T Fields

IRT Saint Exupéry dedicates a significant share of its R&D to the development of multifunctional coatings to meet the ever-increasing expectations of industrial performance, cost reduction and environmental protection.  Of the properties researched are resistance to wear, to corrosion and erosion, as well as to ice and fire. Anti-contaminant or thermo-optical coatings are also studied. Several technologies are researched to respond to the specifications of these industrialists, including micro-arc oxidation, chemical conversion, ground frost processes or heat projection.
The automation of the coating process is one of the center’s major objectives.

The different technological approaches studied are:

  • The automation of the preparation of the surface by plasma activation before adding the coating material.
  • The development of new automatic processes of UV posing and drying of polymer paints and decorative inks.
  • Taking the contactless printing processes to TRL to be able to print electrical cables on the structure of the aircraft or on the lining panels of the cabin.
  • The development of automated technologies for printing sensors on structures.
The technologies of structural assemblies of 3D parts for spatial and aeronautic applications are at the heart of the center’s work.

  • Metal assemblies / composite by hyper joints
  • Composite assembly / composite or metal / composite fitted with expandable fasteners
  • Preparation of the surface before adhesion to metals by IR laser
  • Preparation of the surface before adhesion to composites by UV laser or atmospheric plasma
  • Non-destructive testing of surfaces (measure the pollution level)

The elaboration and the characterization of leadless soldering pastes with improved thermo-mechanical properties are also studied.


Head of Innovative Assemblies & Surfaces Competence Center
Toulouse Site



  • Know-how of the solutions for the preparation of surfaces, formulations, assemblies (welding, soldering, hyper joints, expandable fasteners).
  • State-of-the-art, technical synthesis.
  • Specific technological platforms.
  • 1:1 or reduced scale demonstrators.
  • Methodological guides of statistical tools for the use of data.
  • Mechanical modeling (MEF) of the transfer of effort in assemblies.
  • Specifications and studies to produce semi-industrial scale benches.
  • Appraisal reports of technologies (parametric studies and ageing).
  • Training.
  • Contribution to technology readiness level.