Thermal spraying processes have been widely used for many years throughout all the major engineering industry sectors for component protection and reclamation. Recent equipment and process developments have improved the quality and expanded the potential application range for thermally sprayed coatings. The main benefits and features of thermal spraying as a coating process are summarised below:
- Comprehensive choice of coating materials: metals, alloys, ceramics, cermets, carbides, polymers and plastics
- Thick coatings can be applied at high deposition rates
- Thermal spray coatings are mechanically bonded to the substrate - can often spray coating materials which are metallurgically incompatible with the substrate
- Can spray coating materials with a higher melting point than the substrate
- Most parts can be sprayed with little or no preheat or postheat treatment, and component distortion is minimal
- Parts can be rebuilt quickly and at low cost, and usually at a fraction of the price of a replacement
- By using a premium material for the thermal spray coating, the lifetime of new components can be extended
- Thermal spray coatings may be applied both manually and mechanised.
Thermal spray coatings are extensively used in the manufacturing of gas turbines, diesel engines, bearings, journals, pumps, compressors and oil field equipment, as well as coating medical implants.
Thermal spraying is principally an alternative to arc welded coatings, although it is also used as an alternative to other surfacing processes, such as electroplating, physical and chemical vapour deposition and ion implantation for engineering applications.
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