An interview with Bob Unger -Part 1 of 2

Interview with Bob Unger -Part 1 of 2

Innovating the Future of Thermal Spray Wires with Bob Unger and Thermal Spray Depot

In our ongoing series of insightful discussions, we recently delved into the fascinating world of thermal spray wires with industry veteran Bob Unger. However, before we discussed wire, I asked Bob to tell the story of how he and his father were an instrumental part in helping Merle Thorpe in the early stages of TAFA.

Just one of the fascinating things I learned is that TAFA stands for “Thorpe Arc Flame Associates”.

Listen in and see what history lesson you might learn.

Bob Unger: The Thermal Spray Wire Pioneer

Bob Unger, often referred to as the “Thermal Spray Wire Guy,” has been an influential figure in the thermal spray community. His extensive experience, spanning over four decades, has positioned him as a go-to expert in thermal spray wire technology. It’s his unique expertise and dedication that have significantly contributed to the advancements in this field.

A Look Back at TAFA and Its Origins

Bob’s journey in the thermal spray industry began with TAFA, a company with a fascinating history. TAFA’s roots trace back to Dartmouth College, where professors Jim Browning and Merle Thorpe, pioneers in plasma technology, laid the groundwork for what would become a major player in the industry. Their entrepreneurial spirit and technological innovations set the stage for TAFA’s emergence.

TAFA evolved through various phases, each marked by significant contributions to thermal spray technology. From the entrepreneurial era of Merle Thorpe to partnerships with companies like Metalization, Hobart, Eutectic, and Praxair; TAFA continually pushed the boundaries of wire arc technology. Bob Unger played a crucial role in this journey, bringing his knowledge and vision to the forefront of TAFA’s development.

Bob Unger and Polymet: A New Chapter

After TAFA, Bob transitioned to Polymet, where his entrepreneurial spirit thrived. At Polymet, he leveraged his expertise to expand the company’s reach into the thermal spray wire market. His ability to blend technical knowledge with business acumen led to new growth opportunities, particularly in wire technologies.

Thermal Spray Depot: A Testament to Collaboration and Innovation

During his career, Bob Unger’s path intersected with Thermal Spray Depot, synonymous with innovation and customer-focused solutions in the thermal spray industry. At Thermal Spray Depot, we believe in the power of collaboration and expertise, values that Bob embodies. Our shared history with industry leaders like Bob is a testament to our commitment to advancing thermal spray technology.

Looking Ahead: The Future of Thermal Spray Technology

As we reflect on the incredible journey of Bob Unger and the evolution of companies like TAFA and Thermal Spray Depot, it’s clear that the thermal spray industry is built on a foundation of innovation, expertise, and strong relationships. The future looks bright as we continue to explore new frontiers in thermal spray technology, driven by the pioneering spirit of industry veterans and the dynamic vision of companies like Thermal Spray Depot.

For more insights into the history of thermal spray technology and how we’re shaping its future, reach out to us at 724-229-5791 or drop an email to We’re here to answer your questions and guide you through the fascinating world of thermal spray!

To see part 2 of 2 of the Bob Unger interview, click this link.