Thermal Spray Coat and Grind

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The thermal spray coatings industry occupies a niche in the industrial goods and services market. There are several opportunities to make money in the field of thermal sprayed coatings. From aerospace to ground turbine to other commercial industrial applications, thermal spray coatings are being used extensively to improve metallurgical characteristics of components. By the same token, competition within the thermal spray industry is fierce, with only the strong thermalspray companies successful and the weaker metallizing service shops barely making it. If you are already in the thermal spray coatings business, then one way in which you can strengthen your position against your friendly flame spray competitors is by adding other value added services. For example, many times components require a thermal spray coating followed by grinding to size. By offering thermal coating and grinding services as a one stop shop, you will enhance the value added to your customers. Better yet, thermal spray, grind to size and also provide fluorescent penetrant inspection services to detect cracks in the coating or in the grinding operations. By the way, once these processes are in place, you can offer them separately as well – for example offer grinding services followed by FPI for other thermal spray shops. This is called selling intermediates. Grinding thermal spray coatings is an art by itself. Not everyone with a grinding machine can grind plasma coatings and hvof coatings successfully without introducing grind cracks and other defects.

If you are not involved currently with thermal spray coatings, then may be it is time you look to getting started with plasma, hvof and wire arc sprayed coatings; especially, if you are currently outsourcing your flame spray coating requirements. You don’t have to start off in an elaborate manner. Start with one thermal spray booth and learn the ins and outs of the thermal spray process and technology and may be one day, your thermal spray cell can stand as an independent profit center. For example, if you are machining a component from bar stock and sending it out to be plasma sprayed, why not do both the processes and sell it to your customer as a complete part? I had the opportunity of being in a company once that machined a part from bar stock, heat treated and brazed another component to it, thermal sprayed it, performed a small welding operation to it, then performed magnetic particle inspection to ensure absence of weld cracks, sent it out for a plating operation and then sold the part to the customer as a finished piece. Notice that other than the plating operation, everything else was done under one roof. They could significantly reduce the delivery lead times for this component as opposed to their competitors that outsourced most of the work except one or two that they were capable of performing.

In this day and age, when manufacturing shops are trying hard to increase their revenues, getting into the thermal spray coatings business may just be the added niche that sets your shop apart from your friendly competitors

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