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

Surface treatment and assembly technologies are important drivers for industrial performance and competitiveness. They are major optimization contributors as they represent a significant proportion of aeronautics and space product and system total costs.

Reduction of manufacturing costs and product maintenance while adapting processes to new legislation, particulary environmental regulations, are mandatory to meet these goals. The objectives of weight reduction, multifunctionality or the improvement of durability put surface treatment and assembly technologies at the heart of today’s R&T.


The competence center designs, develops and operates up to a semi-industrial scale. Understanding the impact of process parameters is supported by using modeling tools. The technologies developed at IRT Saint Exupéry are thus transferable and adaptable to the specific 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.


The competence center favors the development of stronger skills for technicians, engineers and PhDs. It also trains PhD students for careers opportunities in surface treatment and assemblies with a strong emphasis on the automation of processes.

R&T Fields

IRT Saint Exupéry dedicates a significant part of its R&T to the development of multifunctional coatings to meet the ever-increasing expectations of manufacturers in terms of performance, cost reduction and environmental protection. Among the properties to achieve desired product performance are resistance to wear, corrosion and erosion, as well as ice and fire. Anti-contaminant or thermo-optical coatings are also studied. Several technologies have been selected to address industry demands, including micro-arc oxidation, chemical conversion, sol-gel or thermal spray processes.
The automation of the coating process is one of the competence center’s major objectives.

The different technological approaches studied are:

  • The automation of the surface preparation by plasma activation before coating.
  • The development of new automatic processes for application and curing of polymer paints and decorative inks.
  • The technological maturation of contactless printing processes 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 space and aeronautics applications are at the heart of the competence center’s work.

  • Assemblies of metal / composite parts by Hyperjoints
  • Bolted composite / composite joint or metal / composite joint fitted with expandable fasteners
  • Surface preparation of metallic materials before adhesion bonding by IR laser
  • Surface preparation of composite materials before adhesion bonding by UV laser or atmospheric plasma
  • Non-destructive surface Inspection Technologies (detection and measurement of the pollution level)

The synthesis 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 and technical answers 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 and tools for statistical processing of data.
  • Mechanical modeling (MEF) of load transfer in assemblies.
  • Specifications and studies to produce semi-industrial scale benches.
  • Appraisal reports on technologies (parametric studies and ageing).
  • Training.
  • Contribution to technology readiness level.