Thermal spray masking costs

Sponsored Links

Thermal spray coatings processing almost always involves some kind of masking to prevent certain areas from receiving the thermal sprayed coating. Such thermal spray masking can be very basic such as sticking a thermal spray masking tape or the use of painted on liquid masking or it can be very elaborate and technically involved as the design and use of sophisticated thermal spray hard tooling. Masking plugs to cover up holes and polymer based re-useable thermal spray masking materials such as polyurethane masks have also been used quite successfully.

In all cases, the cost of thermal spray masking can end up being quite significant in the overall processing of the hardware and it is essential to keep an eye on these costs. The best engineering talent needs to be put forth in thermal spray masking design and such design needs to be continually improved and updated to reduce masking costs. Some poor design methods can be inexpensive up front but very much costly later on by involving very high labor costs for example. A case in point is in simply using masking tape everywhere instead of spending the time and thought in designing proper shadow masks and hard tooling.

When using hard tooling, it is advisable to coat the hard tooling with some kind of a release agent in order to remove all the overspray that the hard tooling takes on. There have been many thermal spray companies that do such an excellent job of maintaining their hard tooling that it is unbelievable. They go through a stripping method to remove all the over spray and maintain their hard tooling so that they do not have to keep fabricating new hard tooling every so often and at the same time the proper masking cut off dimensions are accurately maintained. For without that, part quality will begin to suffer.

Most thermal spray facilities simply cringe on the costs of the masking department and think that the way to squeeze costs out of masking is to drive their masking personnel to work harder and harder than the previous day. What might provide more effective cost control is to have the engineering department re-visit EVERY single thermal spray job in house and re-engineer the masking methods to see if a more cost effective method can be developed. That is where real costs savings can be accomplised.

Sponsored Links

No comments: