Of the many types of thermal spray coatings that are available arc spray coatings are one of the most popular. See below for our summary of the arc spray process and then contact us to find out more about our full range of thermal spray coatings.
What is an Arc Spray Coating?
Arc spray coatings are a form of thermal spray coatings. In this process a pair of electronically conductive wires is melted by means of an electric arc which is passed between them. One wire is given a positive electrical charge and the other is given a negative charge. This forms an electric arc between them which causes the wires to become molten. A stream of compressed air is then passed through the molten material, propelling it towards the surface of the material that is to be coated (the substrate). When the tiny particles of molten material hit the substrate they bond with the surface forming a coating.
Advantages of Arc Spray Coatings
- When carried out correctly this is known as a ‘cold process’ as the temperature of the substrate can be kept relatively cool compared to the temperature of the molten coating material. This means that more delicate substrate materials can be coated whilst avoiding damage, distortion and metallurgical changes. This is particularly useful when spraying sensitive substrates such as capacitors and similar electronic components.
- Arc spray coatings have the highest deposition density of all the thermal spray processes, with deposition rates of 15 kg/hr or higher being able to be achieved.
- The density of arc spray coatings tends to give them a much higher strength and resilience to wear and other environmental factors.
- The power input required for arc spray coatings is much lower than other thermal spray processes at around 5-10 kW (compared to up to 50kW for plasma spraying). This makes the process much cheaper to run, and these savings can then be passed onto the customer.
Disadvantages of Arc Spray Coatings
- This process can only be used to spray electronically conductive material that can be sourced in wire form. A different process would be required to create cement or ceramic coatings.
- Although it is cheaper than many other forms of thermal spray coating, arc spraying can result in a lower quality coating than methods such as plasma or HVOF.
- This is one of the messier thermal spray processes, producing a large amount of dust and fumes.
To find out more about arc spray coating and how it can be beneficial to your business, contact the experts at IRS Ltd today.