Coating Designations - Contd

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In a previous post, we discussed the advantages of developing a thermal spray coating designation matrix to help ensure consistent sales volume. In this post, I would like to describe the steps involved in developing a thermal spray coating designation matrix. You could use your own indigenous method – the end result being a unique matrix of thermal spray coatings designations for your own organization.

Firstly, not all thermal spray coating shops have all of the thermal spray coating technologies available at their disposal; for example, you may have the capability for air plasma spray and hvof thermal spray, but no twin-wire-arc thermal spray process capability; or else, you may not have the capability for hvof thermal spray but have the capability for Low Pressure Plasma Spray. So firstly, your matrix may get divided by process capabilities such as plasma sprayed coatings, hvof coatings, wire-arc thermal spray coatings and so on. The second subset within this could be the material driven families such as tungsten carbide cobalt, chrome carbide nickel chrome, T-800 and so on. Another method for developing the matrix could be by metallurgical properties imparted by the thermal spray coating – such as a family of wear resistant coatings, a family of electrical properties coatings, a family of abradables and so on and within this develop a subset by thermal spray process capability and within that subset, have a designation by coating chemistry – for example, under the family of wear resistant coatings, you may have plasma sprayed tungsten carbide-cobalt, plasma sprayed chrome carbide nickel chrome, HVOF thermal sprayed tungsten carbide-cobalt, HVOF thermal spray coating of chrome-carbide, and so on – I believe you get the picture. You may additionally have specialized family of proprietary coatings, for example a thermal sprayed coating base with a silicone release impregnation or a plasma tungsten arc coating with a subsequent fusing operation – these would form a separate family.

Developing the thermal spray coating designation matrix has other advantages besides the immediate increasing sales objective. Firstly, it gives you a better understanding of your own thermal spray coatings business – even though you may have been providing thermal spray services for several years, the matrix kind of summarizes for your own self what all you can provide your customer – sort of reorganizing capabilities, a kind of inventory taking per se and proper filing of all the clutter. Secondly, it may give you insights into developing new combinations of coatings and steer you toward developing newer coating families based upon your current capabilities. For example, how about developing a family of thermal sprayed hvof bond coat of CoNiCrAly with a top coat of plasma sprayed thermal barrier zirconia-8%yttria and another family with the same bond coat but with a top coat of plasma sprayed thermal barrier zirconia-12% yttria. This is just one example. Notice that this did not involve buying any more capital thermal spray equipment at all

One thing that I would not do is develop a thermal spray coatings designation matrix by industry – that is a bad idea – for example if you developed a family by printing industry coatings, pump coatings, automotive header coatings and so on then you are blindfolding potential future thermal spray coatings entry into industries you have never been to and you will be revising and rebuilding the matrix too often. Of course, the thermal spray coatings designation matrix must be kept up to date as you add newer products but you shouldn’t be making a career out of it simply because you started it the wrong way In a future post, we will address the thermal spray coatings designation matrix in a little bit of more detail.

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