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Thermal metal spraying, also referred to as thermal spray or metalizing, is a process where molten or semi-molten materials are propelled towards a substrate and deposited on the surface to create a coating that enhances the substrate’s properties or characteristics. Spraying materials may include pure metals, alloys, ceramics, cermets or plastics and can be delivered in a powder, wire or rod forms. Some common thermal spraying processes include plasma arc spray, combustion spray, electric arc spray, wire flame spray, high velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) spray, cold spray and powder flame spray. Thermal metal spraying is used across a wide range of industries and applications where metalworking is common including automotive, agriculture, aerospace, gas turbines, gas or petro-chemical.

Some of the key benefits from metalizing spray fume filtration include:
  • Worker health protection and minimized potential long term liability
  • Extended machine life
  • Improved part / product quality
  • Reduced housekeeping
  • OSHA & EPA regulation compliance

Let's Get Specific

Contaminant Characteristics

The contaminant or fume generated varies by the process and the consumed materials. Particle size can range from over 50 µm to well below 1 µm with high dust and fume generation rates. Contaminants from electrical arc spray have a high percentage of sub-micronic particulate and higher fume generation rates compared to other processes. The contaminant generally consists of the consumed process materials. In addition, when these materials are exposed to high temperatures, complex metallic compounds such as hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) can be created. The generated particulate can also be abrasive especially when metallic sprays are being utilized.

Thermal Metal Spraying Hazards

The primary hazard associated with thermal spray is extended exposure to high concentrations of metal fumes. Inhalation of metal fumes has been linked to respiratory, neurological and fertility problems and also diseases including Metal Fume Fever and Parkinsonian Syndrome. Metalizing processes that contain nickel or chromium such as stainless steel or chromate coating are particularly hazardous and have been linked to various forms of cancer. Uncontrolled metallic fumes also result in reduced worker productivity, product quality problems, factory maintenance issues and environmental concerns.

In addition to an inhalation hazard, the fine metallic dusts and/or powders used in the process also present combustion or explosion risks that need to be analyzed and accounted for.

Recommended Approaches for Thermal Spray Fume Control

  • Source Capture. Whenever possible, capturing and controlling thermal spray dust and fume at the source is recommended. Source capture involves utilizing various types of hoods to extract the contaminant at or near the generation source to protect the worker and prevent the fume from migrating elsewhere in the facility. Source capture is the most effective means of capture and requires the least amount of energy and initial investment to accomplish. Source capture can be accomplished utilizing fume extraction arms or local fixed hoods.
  • Containment. Containment isolates the thermal spray process from the rest of the facility and protects the contained area. Containment is generally used where hoods proximate to the spraying area are not practical but the process can be isolated from other parts of the factory. An example would be a booth or partitioned area where ventilation is used to control and collect the process dust, fumes and gases.

Product Solutions for Collecting Thermal Spray Fumes

We offer a full line of dust collection equipment suitable for safely controlling thermal spray dusts and fumes. The list below indicates our products that are most commonly applied into these applications. Our application engineers can help you select the right product with the appropriate options and accessories such as explosion vents (swing door or membrane panels), sprinklers, safety after filters, rotary air locks and more to meet your specific application and facility needs.

Our products that are most suitable for thermal spray applications include:

Various federal government agencies have regulations and standards in place to protect both workers and the environment from the hazards of weld fumes. Several national organizations also provide safety considerations and guidelines.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

Additional References

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