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Thermal Metal Spray Inspections

Thermal Metal Spray (TMS) Inspections involve the evaluation of the quality of a coating applied to a surface using a thermal spray process. This process involves melting materials such as metals, ceramics, or composites and spraying them onto a surface to create a protective layer. The inspection ensures that the thermal spray coating meets specified standards and performance criteria. 

When Are Thermal Metal Spray Inspections Conducted?

Pre-Application TMS Inspections

Before applying the thermal spray coating, our qualified inspectors will check the substrate to ensure it is properly prepared. This includes checking for cleanliness, surface roughness, and absence of contaminants such as oil, grease, and rust. The ambient conditions will also be assessed to confirm they are within acceptable ranges for the thermal spray application.

TMS Inspections During Application

After the initial layer of thermal metal spray has been applied, we inspect it to ensure the correct parameters – such as spray distance, angle, and feed rate – are being used. The spraying process should be continually monitored to ensure consistency and uniformity of the coating by checking the thickness and coverage of the sprayed material.

Post-Application TMS Inspections

A visual inspection must be conducted immediately after the thermal spray has been applied to identify any clear defects such as an uneven coating, overspray, or missed areas. After the coating has cooled and set, we will carry out a detailed inspection. This may involve the use of a tool such as a micrometre or ultrasonic gauge to measure the dry film thickness, depending on the exact conditions. We will also carry out adhesion tests such as pull-off tests to check that the coating is securely bonded to the substrate.

Regular TMS Inspections

For components exposed to harsh environments or critical applications, we recommend periodic inspections to assess the ongoing condition of the thermal spray coating and identify any wear, corrosion, or damage. 

If the coated component is subjected to significant stress, such as high temperatures, chemical exposure, or mechanical impact, we will conduct an inspection to evaluate the integrity of the coating.

What Is Involved In A TMS Inspection?

During a TMS inspection, one of our certified inspectors will carry out a series of tests in line with your Inspection Test Plan (ITP), which ensures all tests and inspections are conducted uniformly and to the same standards and specifications.

Our thermal metal spray inspections may include the following actions:

  • Checking the cleanliness and roughness of the substrate to ensure proper adhesion of the sprayed coating
  • Monitoring ambient temperature, humidity, and other conditions during the spraying process
  • Verifying the spraying parameters, such as spray distance, angle, and feed rate, to ensure uniform application
  • Measuring the thickness of the applied coating using tools such as micrometers or ultrasonic gauges to ensure it meets the required specifications
  • Conducting tests, such as a pull-off test, to assess the bond strength between the coating and the substrate
  • Inspecting the coating for defects such as cracks, porosity, or uncoated areas using both visual and microscopic methods

Our TMS inspector will record all inspection data, including measurements, observations, and test results. This ensures traceability and compliance with standards, and means that any deviations are clearly denoted and can be corrected. 

Who Carries Out A TMS Inspection?

TMS inspections must be carried out by a certified inspector who has had the training required to accurately assess the health of a protective coating. Our team at Specialist Coatings and Inspection includes ICORR L3 Paint Inspectors, SSPC L2 Fireproof Inspectors, and Coating Surveyors with experience working on highway structures to the requirements of BD87/05 and rail structures to Network Rail specifications. View our full list of accreditations including ConstructionLine Gold and Acclaim Health & Safety on our about page.  

For more information about our THERMAL METAL SPRAY Inspection services

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