The Use Of Thermal Spray Coatings For Component Reclamation
Thermal spray coatings are used extensively in the manufacturing of compressors, gas turbines, bearings, pumps, and oil field equipment, as well as diesel engines. It is also used to coat medical implants. But, one of the main draws of thermal spray coatings is its use for the refurbishment and reclamation of worn or damaged components that can no longer be used in their present state. Many of such damaged components can be returned to their former glory with the thermal spray process, nullifying the need to seek out expensive replacement parts. Predictably, this makes thermal spray coatings for component reclamation incredibly popular, especially when it becomes a means to save some money.
What are Thermal Spray Coatings?
Thermal Spray coatings are applied in a process where a material known as a substrate is applied with a coating that consists of a concoction of materials. The coating material is heated up, turning it into a liquid or molten state. It will then be sprayed onto the substrate. It is then allowed to cool down and solidifies upon contact with the substrate, creating molecular bonds that become an incredibly resilient and durable coating that will prolong the lifespan of, or restore the substrate.
What Are the Benefits of Thermal Spray Coating for Component Reclamation?
- A wide range of coating materials is available, including alloys, metals, ceramics, polymers, cermet, carbides, and plastics.
- The lifetime of new components can be extended by using a premium material for the thermal spray coating.
- At high deposition rates, thick coatings can be applied.
- The majority of parts can be sprayed with little or no preheating or post-heating, and component distortion is minimal.
- Because thermal spray coatings are mechanically bonded to the substrate, it is possible to spray coating materials that are not metallurgically compatible with the substrate.
- Thermal spray coatings can be applied manually or mechanically.
- Parts can be rebuilt quickly and cheaply, usually at a fraction of the cost of a replacement.
How Are Thermal Spray Coatings Used for Component Reclamation?
Components can be damaged or worn as they undergo numerous manufacturing processes; it is simply an expected side effect. Unfortunately, these component parts are usually very expensive or difficult to acquire. As such, manufacturers turn to thermal spray coatings. The damaged components may be put entirely through the thermal spray process, covering the entire component, or more rarely, only the damaged part will be covered with the coating.
In many cases, a thermal spray coating can make worn or damaged components better than new ones. For example, if the component is particularly prone to wear, it may be possible to coat it with a material that is much stronger and more durable than the original.
Even remarkably delicate plumbing components can be reclaimed through regular maintenance and the implementation of a thermal spray coating, because, despite what the name may suggest, some types of thermal spraying keep the substrate at an ambient temperature, avoiding any metallurgical changes that could weaken the substrate if exposed to too much heat.