Thermal Spray Plant Layout

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Thermal Spray Coatings service shops are facing increasing competition nowadays. In order to compete effectively, today’s thermal spray shops have to watch every aspect of the business in order to squeeze costs out of the thermalsprayedcoatings operation. A rarely looked upon area of cost control in thermal spray coatings shops is facility layout. An improperly designed thermal spray plant layout can cost significant amounts of money in everyday flame spray operations which leads directly to lowered profit margins in your thermal spray business. Another aspect is a badly laid out plant can have safety hazards. For detailed discussions on safety aspects, you are invited to visit my site

The layout of the thermal spray shop should enable easy and smooth flow of parts from the receiving area back to the shipping area. Since you cannot have a long building like a bowling alley, I prefer the looping approach where there is a loop between the receiving and shipping departments which are usually in the same vicinity. When parts flow smoothly from one area or department to another area in a sequential manner in the order of operations to be performed, then excessive mileage is not associated with part movement and therefore you have less chances of people walking around all day moving parts back and forth between departments. This walking around all day process leads to operator fatigue and hence lower productivity towards the end of the production shift. Additionally, thermal spray shops that deal with aerospace customers usually deal with parts that are very expensive to begin with and hence excessive mileage on parts can lead to higher levels of potential dings and dents and other part damages.

To give you an example, there was one thermal spray shop where the masking area was next to the receiving area, followed by quality control inspection, followed by degreasing and part cleaning operations followed by the grit blasting area and the parts then looped around to the thermal spray coating booths and then back to quality control inspection and then to shipping. Total chaos everyday – everybody runs around all day and the thermal spray business was really not operating at its best. What they should have done is to back off, take a deep breath, spend some money and rearranging departments, so that the quality control inspection department is right next to receiving and shipping, followed by the degreasing and cleaning operations, followed by masking and then grit blasting and then loop around to the thermal spray coating booths and thence to quality control inspection for final inspection and simply move to shipping. This way parts flow freely and there is harmony every day in the thermal spray business. By organizing the layout of the plant to match the sequence of the thermal spray operations, your bottom line will improve because you are saving on labor inputs into each part. Thermal spray operators need to be coating parts not moving parts back and forth. Of course, process engineering and office personnel can be a little bit moved away from the flow of parts and that doesn’t really cause too much of a problem.

Altering an existing thermal spray shop’s set-up will cost money in the short term; but if sufficient thought goes into it and it is properly done, then the long term benefits outweigh the short term hassles.

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