Thermal Spray Jobs

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Recently, I was asked to share my thoughts on thermal spray jobs as in employment in the thermal spray coatings industry. This post is the result of the discussions that went on, with regards to finding or changing thermal spray jobs. In my opinion, the thermal spray coatings business is still in its infancy as far as growth potential is concerned and it is a great time to find gainful thermal spray employment. A few words of advice to the graduating metallurgical engineer wanting to make a career in thermal spay or the current thermal spray professional looking to change thermal spray employers and some notes on thermal spray resumes! First of all, unlike the olden days, the internet is full of resources for finding employment in the thermal spray industry. Simply find the companies performing thermal spray coatings services in the geographical location that you are interested in, go to their web sites and you can instantly send them an e-mail to the appropriate person and discuss your thermal spray interests and there you go! However, while that seems to be the quick way, that may not necessarily be what you want. If you end up accepting employment with a thermal spray company that you have not researched out sufficiently, then you may be back on the market looking to change employers ! Hence, the first step to take is to know what kind of thermal spray field that you would want to get in to. A few thoughts here : are you interested in production thermal spray coating services? If so, then there are several thermal spray coating services shops throughout the landscape that offer flame spray services to various segments of industry. One of these companies could work out for you. As opposed to production thermal spray, your interest may be in thermal spray R and D. In that case, many of the production coatings companies may not be the right choice, even though some of them do perform R&D on a limited scale. You may be better off working closely with a university department that specializes in thermalsprayedcoatings ; and there are quite a few of them around. Then again, designing and building thermal spray equipment may interest you more than services or service R&D in which case, you narrow your search to thermal spray equipment manufacturers. A graduating engineer with significant interest in powder metallurgy can develop a phenomenal career working with thermal spray powders and so should be concentrating on powder manufacturers as opposed to going to work for an equipment manufacturer or coatings service shop that simply uses the thermal spray powder consumables.

Thus knowing what field of thermal spray excites you is the first step to take before spending a lot of time sending out resumes to companies and organizations that may not necessarily serve your engineering interests. Once you identify your primary interest, you need to look further into what subset of that would really interest you. The reason for this is if your interests do not match very closely to what your future potential employer can offer, then you will be dragging your self to work everyday half-heartedly and so will not perform at your best capability and everyone will be able to notice it and then you have wasted tremendous time. Subset interests need to be carefully evaluated also. For example, if you are interested in production thermal spray coatings, if your real interest is in on-site coatings as opposed to aerospace coatings then choose your target company accordingly. Tremendous progress has been made in medical coatings applications and that might be what you are looking for. When it comes to research, the subsets need to be evaluated even more closely. What is the point of joining an organization that specializes in HVOF research, when your interest may be in non-transferred plasma arc coatings. Again, you may be specifically interested in numerical solutions to heat transfer in plasma sprayed coating processes, then you choose your research facility accordingly. Hence knowing your specific field of interest should be the primary focus.

Getting to know your potential employer is the next important step. A little bit of research needs to take place for this. There is no point in wasting time sending out resumes to companies that are on the verge of bankruptcy, unless your interest is in business turnaround of service companies! I remember being approached for employment at one time by a thermal spray coatings company that was trying to be sold because they were losing money. It so happened that that was exactly what I was looking for and with my thermal spray engineering knowledge and sales knowledge and aggressive business nature, I succeeded where others had failed ! If working under constant financial duress is NOT your style, then you need to find more stable companies. See if they have won any big contracts that press releases have been put forth for. If they are publicly traded, see how their stock has been performing. Have there been too many changes in top management. If it is a research establishment, read some of their publications; are they of good quality or are they publishing low grade research. Do they have any patents to their credit. These are some of the things you need to investigate before even proceeding further. In a future post, we will continue this discussion; see you soon !

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