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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 wire spray is often used to produce anti-corrosion coatings and dimensionally restore surfaces. Metal-based wires are used in-shop or on-site for coating large steel structures, such as chemical / petroleum tanks and pipelines, and for marine applications. The simple equipment requirements make it a popular choice for everything from on-site work to high-volume production in-shop.

Key benefits of this process
  • Low equipment investment costs 
  • Portability for on-site coating jobs 
  • High spray and application rates with low fuel gas consumption 
Typical applications
  • Steel structures
  • Transport pipes
  • Storage tanks
  • Automotive pistons
  • Restoration of damaged surfaces
Process description

The feedstock material, in wire form, is continually fed into a fuel gas-oxygen flame where it is melted by the heat of that combustion. The fuel gases generally used are propylene, propane or acetylene. Compressed air surrounds the flame and atomizes the molten tip of the wire. This accelerates the molten particles towards the prepared workpiece surface. Combustion wire spray is a common choice for machine element repair and general corrosion-resistant coatings. 

Process basics
  • Heat source: combustion
  • Feedstock: wire (metal)
  • Flame temperature: approx. 3 100 °C (5 600 °F)
  • Particle velocity: up to 200 m/s (650 ft/s)
  • Approximate application rate: 15 to 1 400 g/min (2 to 185 lb/h)

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