What is ORATEX
TLAC are the sole UK distributor of ORATEX, an iron-on type polyester fabric covering, ideal for all scale models, large scale models and historical models.
ORATEX has several key advantages:
1. Easy application: due to its suppleness and a shrinkage of 5% in both directions. ORATEX is easy to apply round corners and edges. Creases can easily be removed with a heat-gun.
2. Excellent adhesion: the adhesive of ORATEX is about double as strong as that of conventional fabric coverings.
3. Remarkable toughness and stability of the fabric.
4. Protective seal: the surface of ORATEX has been treated to make it fuel and oil resistant. You can paint or varnish it if you wish, but there is not need to do so!
What we found in using the product
James Milne who works in our Part M maintenance facility has covered a couple of his aircraft (Pitts S1B's), and he was initially very skeptical, some comments of which I dare not type. After covering a trim tab he came back to me with a beaming smile and said "I get it" and after a couple of hours working together we had really sorted out the issues. His view now, why would you do anything else ! ! !
The system is fully patented, worldwide.
The adhesive is an advanced 2 pack single component product, it contains an emulsion which is waterbased with micro encapsulated catalyst, it is temperature sensitive and when heat is applied the adhesive melts bonds to the fabric and the catalyst then reacts and toughens the adhesive, resulting in an incredibly strong bond. The adhesive is simply painted on to the airframe with a synthetic brush and allowed to dry, it can be accelerated with cool blast of air.
Once the adhesive is on and dry the fabric can be applied and with the heat and stretch process compound curves are a doddle, once the form is achieved the fabric is ironed down then shrink the material and then either pinked edge or straight edge tape is applied. Both the pinked and straight edge tape have adhesive pre applied.
If rib stitching is required then the normal stitching knots and thread can be used with reinforcement tape below and tape over the top.
A full instruction book now in English (although for the Flitzer group we could arrange to bring over some German ones) is available as a download.
The oldest actual aircraft covered in the material is approx. 3 years, the material is as good as the day it was applied, the accelerated lab tests indicate we are certainly no worse and could comfortably be well in excess of Stits, Diatex and Ceconite. Pinked edge stick down is outstandingly good, and that was an area of great concern with one of the UK’s highly respected builders.
Current Approval status
Both the BMAA and the LAA have approved the product for use on permit aircraft, current stipulations are that the aircraft cannot have a wing loading exceeding 10.1 lbs per square foot and a VNE exceeding 160 mph, this is the current MkII fabric.
We have samples in with the LAA currently of the new MkIII Oratex UL600 fabric which under lab conditions is 25% stronger and 20% lighter, this is a major improvement all down to the filament development, whilst it is also more expensive its advantages far outweigh the minimal cost increase when compared to the existing MkII
Additionally we have samples with the LAA of the new Oratex 6000, currently used overseas to cover ex Soviet design biplanes and other aircraft that have very high wing loading, we await the outcome of the Engineering Departments review,
- 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 Germany there are a number of Ultralights covered in it plus a Mistral and a Kiebitz
- Just an outstanding product.
- Personally the thought of covering our Sherwood Ranger with currently available coverings filled me with concern and the time needed prohibitive, covering it with ORATEX is going to be a pleasure.
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