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Thermal spraying is a cost-effective method for applying coatings that enhance surface properties. In the simplest terms, thermal spray involves heating a feedstock material, generally in powder or wire form, to a molten or semi-molten state. The feedstock is propelled using a stream of gas or compressed air to deposit it, creating a surface structure on a given substrate.

The coating feedstock material may consist of a single metallic element, but more often it is an alloy, composite, ceramic, carbide or blend that will give rise to a surface having physical properties that are only achievable through the thermal spray process. Thermal spray is a family of processes, with each member of the process family providing unique opportunities for engineered surfaces.

Oerlikon Metco actively supports all common thermal spray methods, with options to suit your surfacing and applications requirements — such as the size of your production run, geometry of your part, environmental concerns and portability. Through thermal spray, Oerlikon Metco has developed and marketed application technologies to apply coatings that solve our customers’ toughest surface challenges since 1933.

Combustion powder spray is suitable for maintenance, repair, restoration of machine parts, as well as abradable coatings used for clearance control applications. It is a relatively flexible process in that it can be used to apply metals, alloys, carbides, polymers and even some ceramic powders. 

Key benefits of this process 
  • Equipment investment costs can be low
  • Greater flexibility of feedstock choices compared to Combustion Wire Spray
  • Coatings can be machined to final dimensions and finish
Typical applications 
  • Crank shafts
  • Sucker rod couplings
  • Gas turbine shrouds for clearance control
  • Dimensional restoration of worn or mismachined parts
Process description

The feedstock material, in powder form, is continually fed into a fuel gas-oxygen flame where it is then melted by the heat of combustion. For most combustion powder spray systems, the powder is fed via a feeder using a carrier gas to transport it to the spray gun. The mixed gasses accelerate the melted particles onto the prepared workpiece surface where it rapidly solidifies to form a coating.  

Process basics
  • Heat source: combustion 
  • Material: powder (metals, alloys, metallic blends or ceramics, ) 
  • Flame temperature: max. 3 100 °C (5 600 °F) 
  • Particle velocity: up to 50 m/s (165 ft/s) 
  • Approximate application rate: 35 to 150 g/min (4.5 to 20 lb/h) 

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