Transforming manufacturing for a greener tomorrow


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What is cold spray?

As a reminder, Cold Spray (CS) is an additive manufacturing process where metal powder is accelerated to supersonic speed and propelled towards a substrate.  It is the only thermal spray process capable of adding a significant-enough thickness to be recognized as additive manufacturing (CSAM), allowing to do many things such as : Dimensional and structural repairs,  Functional coatings, and Adding features.

Green, because of how it works.

Cold Spray Additive Manufacturing (CSAM ) also represents an environmentally friendly alternative to technologies such as electroplating, soldering, and painting. Presence of hexavalent chrome, a well-documented human carcinogen, during processing of traditional chrome plating applications led users of these technologies to switch to HVOF thermal spray of tungsten carbide, a more benevolent process on this regard. Because of the absence of fumes, combustible gases, sparks and flames, CSAM represents an even better alternative for health and safety standpoint, using no acid, no base, no solvent, and no hazardous gas.

To propel metal powders to supersonic speed, cold spray uses gas. Some gases (such as He) are known to be more efficient than others at accelerating metal particles. However, if one considers scarcity and safety, the obvious choice is N2 since it is abundantly available and does not produce any by-products. That is the reason why, at Polycontrols, N2 is the only gas that we use for our CSAM applications.

The CSAM process, as most manufacturing processes, has a great appetite for energy. Being based in Quebec, we are proud to operate solely based on a totally clean source of energy, that is hydro-electricity , thus allowing for a virtually zero carbon-footprint.

Green, because of what it does…

In terms of functionality, additive manufacturing makes a more efficient use of raw materials. Instead of removing material (subtractive methods) from a large piece of metal, CSAM deposits metal powder only where needed. The deposit efficiency of the metal powder is quite good, and any unused metal is recuperated and sent to specialized firms to be disposed of in an eco-friendly way.

CSAM, with its distinctive features, can be employed to replenish material in areas susceptible to wear, corrosion, cavitation, or friction that suffered from material loss, making the part non-conforming. With its remarkable reconstruction capabilities, the useful life of parts can be multiplied manyfold.

In addition to those amazing features, CSAM offers the possibility to deposit a wide variety of other functional coatings, for instance to improve thermal performances, electrical conductivity, radiation shielding, etc... All of this without distorting the base material as the heat transfer to the substrate is minimal. Thinking about product lifecycle has never been as easy, and circular economy of multiple parts can now be envisaged.

Given the compelling challenges that our planet is currently facing, sustainable manufacturing concepts and processes that can contribute to the circular economy are more critical than ever.  In this context, there is a growing interest for fast, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly methods meant to restore and/or repair components that have been damaged or worn, as opposed to simply replacing them.  In this context, cold spray technology stands-out as a beacon of progress !

Looking for more? Connect with PolyControls today! 

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