The Intricacies of Thermal Spray: A Case To Consider Safety And Automation
I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed about the inner workings of thermal spray technology. So, I wanted to recap the highlights of our conversation, to show some of the fascinating details that make thermal spray such a remarkable process.
If you’re already involved with Thermal Spray at your place of business, I think you’ll find the accompanying video interesting and enlightening.
Here at Thermal Spray Depot, we’re deep into the details of automating many of the processes and some of this video hint toward our bias of the inevitable automation transitions that companies are going to have to, soon, embrace to stay competitive.
So, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s dive in!
The Coaxial Cable: A Multifunctional Marvel (00:00:00 – 00:02:44):
One of the most intriguing aspects of thermal spray is the coaxial cable, which plays a crucial role in the process. This cable, as I explained during the interview, serves multiple functions simultaneously. It carries the electricity needed to melt the wire, transports the wire itself, and delivers the compressed air required for atomization. The coaxial cable acts as the interface between the operator and the various elements involved in thermal spray.
To ensure operator safety, the coaxial cable is designed to handle high DC currents of up to 650 amps. Safety measures, such as fusible links, are implemented to prevent overheating and potential hazards. Loose connections can lead to excessive heat generation, as I demonstrated with my own demo unit. However, by following proper procedures and safety precautions, thermal spray can be a safe and efficient operation.
Automation and the Future of Thermal Spray (00:04:40 – 00:05:04):
As we discussed in the interview, there is a growing push for automation in thermal spray processes. The sheer amount of energy and power involved in operating the equipment can be overwhelming for a human operator. Automation not only reduces the risks associated with human error but also enhances efficiency and productivity. With automation, the stress and dangers of manual operation can be significantly reduced, making thermal spray a more accessible and reliable process.
The Importance of Tight Connections and Maintenance (00:05:23 – 00:07:09):
Maintaining tight connections is crucial in thermal spray operations. Loose connections can lead to heat generation, corrosion, and even meltdowns, as I demonstrated with my own demo unit. Regular maintenance and adherence to safety protocols are essential to prevent such issues. By ensuring all connections are tight and following proper procedures, operators can mitigate risks and maintain a safe working environment.
My Suggestions Based on the Interview:
- Emphasize Operator Training:
Given the intricacies and potential risks involved in thermal spray, it is crucial to provide comprehensive training to operators. This training should cover safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and the importance of tight connections. By equipping operators with the necessary knowledge and skills, we can ensure safe and efficient thermal spray operations.
- Invest in Automation:
As mentioned earlier, automation offers numerous benefits in thermal spray processes. Investing in automation technology can enhance productivity, reduce human error, and improve overall efficiency. By embracing automation, we can take thermal spray to new heights and unlock its full potential.
- Regular Maintenance and Inspections:
To prevent issues like loose connections and meltdowns, regular maintenance and inspections are paramount. Implementing a proactive maintenance schedule and conducting thorough inspections can help identify and address potential problems before they escalate. By prioritizing maintenance, we can ensure the longevity and reliability of thermal spray equipment.
Accidents and wear-and-tear can occur in thermal spraying, like when a personal demo unit had a meltdown due to a loose connection. In such cases, the affected parts need to be disassembled, cleaned, and if possible, salvaged for parts like the fusible link. Replacement parts can then be used to restore the system to its optimal functioning.
Transitioning to a more automated approach in thermal spraying offers several benefits for companies. Firstly, it enhances safety by reducing the risk of human error. With automation, there is less reliance on manual handling of equipment and materials, minimizing the chances of accidents or injuries. This can lead to a safer working environment for employees.
Secondly, automation improves precision and consistency in the thermal spray process. Machines can be programmed to apply coatings with a high level of accuracy, ensuring uniform thickness and coverage. This results in a higher quality end product and reduces the need for rework or corrections.
Lastly, automation increases efficiency and productivity. Machines can work continuously without fatigue or breaks, allowing for faster completion of projects. Additionally, automated systems can be optimized to minimize material waste and reduce overall production time. This can lead to cost savings for companies in terms of both time and resources.
Remember, Robots always show up, they do not take breaks, and the always pass the drug test.
Thermal spray is a remarkable process that continues to evolve and revolutionize various industries. By embracing safety, innovation, and continuous improvement, we can harness the full potential of thermal spray and achieve remarkable results.
If you’re considering any type of automation for your thermal spray operations, please do yourself a favor and have a conversation with me. This is a major focus for us. Yes, we’re “all things” Thermal Spray but we like to think that we can save you a ton of time and money researching automated solutions because of our experience and expertise.
Remember, safety and proper procedures are paramount. Let’s continue to explore, innovate, and push the boundaries of thermal spray technology together!
Call Bob McDemus today. Let’s start a conversation. 724-229-5791
Note: The timestamps provided in this blog post correspond to the timestamps in the transcript of the video episode.