Advantages of Thermal Spray Coatings

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Thermal spray coatings are a type of industrial coating that uses melted or heated materials to create a new outer layer on the surface of treated parts, components, or equipment. A number of different thermal spray coating processes are possible, including HVOF (high-velocity oxygen fuel), plasma electric arc, fuel combustion, electric wire arc, and high-pressure cold spray methods. Additionally, a wide variety of materials may be used as feedstock for these processes, including copper, aluminum oxide, chrome oxide, zirconium oxide, tungsten carbide, and many others. The methods and materials used are selected based on the application, the substrate material, and the coating thickness required.

Thermal spray coatings are useful for a broad range of industries, from aerospace to manufacturing and everything in between. Thermal spray coatings offer numerous advantages, including improved wear resistance of treated parts and components, enhanced part performance, and extended equipment life.

Wear Resistance

Wear resistant thermal spray coatings can improve overall product quality, reduce maintenance costs and downtime, and help improve energy efficiencies. Part and component wear from all sources, including fretting, abrasion, erosion, and corrosion, or a combination of these factors, can be reduced or eliminated with a properly applied thermal spray coating. Many wear resistant coatings require pre- or post-processing to achieve the proper surface finish. Thermal spray providers, such as ASB Industries, often use extensive wear study results to develop the ideal wear resistant coating for a particular application.

Performance Enhancement

Thermal spray coatings can enhance product performance in a number of ways. A copper-based coating can be used to improve electrical conductivity; various additional techniques can be employed to shield unwanted electrical frequencies. Stress corrosion cracking and other types of damage caused by exposure to high in-process temperatures can be reduced or eliminated; specialty coatings can reduce oxide pick-up for parts and components used in glass and steel processing. Nickel, zinc, and aluminum coatings can be applied to reduce or eliminate corrosion caused by atmospheric factors, extreme temperatures, and oxidizing vapors or liquids.

Extended Life

Thermal spray coatings can be used to extend the working life of treated parts and components. Damaged or worn parts can often be returned to their original dimensional specifications at a fraction of the cost of total part replacement. Applying a thermal spray coating to cast, forged, or fabricated parts can both extend the parts’ working lives and reduce the cost of manufacturing these parts, as less expensive substrate materials can then be used for their manufacture.

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