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What is “thermal spraying”?

The term “thermal spraying”, often referred to as metalizing or micro-welding, encompasses all coating methods where coating material is semi-melted or melted through thermal energy and are then sprayed onto a component surface through combustion gas or atomizing gas. The coating material solidifies on the surface and forms a firmly adhering, metalized layer.

The most common thermal spraying methods are flame spraying–widely known as metal spraying–arc spraying, plasma spraying and high velocity oxygen fuel spraying (HVOF). The designation depends on the process by which the thermal energy is generated to melt the coating material.

What material can be used for thermal spraying?

Thermal spraying allows the use of different coating materials on equally different base materials. The most commonly used coating materials are metals, carbides, metal carbide compounds and oxide ceramics. While ceramics are predominantly used in powder form, for metal very cost-effective wires may be used for metalizing.

What is the advantage of “thermal spraying?”

Today, thermal spraying is an established process in almost all branches of industry. Where repairs use to be the main focus, today, the optimization of surfaces is already taken into account during the design phase. The goal is to always give the component surface special properties through thermal spraying.

This is the reason why wear and corrosion protection often play an important role. But also the setting of special functions such as electrical conductivity, hydrophobic/hydrophilic behavior or special surface supporting parts are also possible. The layer is therefore effective where it is needed – on the surface! The component itself can be produced cost-effectively.

In thermal spraying, the heat input to the base material compared to others, e.g., build-up welding, is very low. This does not create any microstructural changes or heat distortions. This allows casting materials be repaired through thermal spraying. Processing errors, which otherwise lead to rejects, can be remedied through thermal spraying.

Whatever the problem may be, thermal spraying offers effective, customized solutions in surface technology, which can also be implemented very efficiently.

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