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Rob Hrabe, president and CEO of VRC Metal Systems, shows off their cold spray process applicator. 

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base and the defense company Moog Inc. have received a Laureate Award from Aviation Week for pioneering the use of cold-spray technology in aircraft repair and maintenance.

The cold-spray process was invented during the Cold War and developed at Mines in conjunction with the Army Research Laboratory. It involves blasting metallic powder at a high velocity onto a metal surface that is worn or needs repair. The Air Force’s 28th Bomb Wing now uses cold spray to repair B-1 bombers.

The development of cold spray at Mines lead to the spin-off company VRC Metal Systems.

“This recognition from Aviation Week is an honor for the university and it further highlights the potential for research at Mines to spin-off into world-class innovation and high-tech job creation,” Mines President Jim Rankin said in a news release.

The three organizations will be recognized in March at the 62nd Annual Laureate Awards in Washington, D.C., in the MRO (Maintenance, Repair, and Operations) category.

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