Production downtimes due to defects on machine components such as friction galling, worn shafts (bearing or sealing seats) or similar - this is a nightmare which everyone in the mechanical engineering sector probably experienced. Annually, friction and wear costs amount to around 2% of the gross national product, and decisions need to be made quickly. After all, time is money! As a rule, it is not so easy to obtain a new or spare part to meet tight production and assembly deadlines. This is the moment for choosing thermal spraying as a timely solution, a fact which annual growth rates of between 8% and 10% have confirmed over the last several years.
Working together with coating businesses, repairs can often be carried out on components within few days, if necessary even within few hours depending on the size, geometry and weight of the parts to be repaired. Thanks to transportable spray systems, repairs can even be conducted on site.
As already mentioned, a big advantage offered by thermal spraying is the high flexibility of the process. Coating thickness from 50 µ m up to several millimetres can be produced. Restrictions presented by the base material are minimal; coating can even be applied to plastics, carbon fibre composites or other substrate materials. Here, the coating is not only adapted to the base material, but can, in fact, exceed the latter's properties.
When it comes to worn components, e.g. simple shafts, the diameter is first pre-machined with a lathe, subsequently coated using thermal spraying and then machined again by means of turning or grinding. As a result, the coated component often has a longer service life than the uncoated part!