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The Difference Between Hard Chrome and Thermal Spray Coatings

Hard chrome plating

The industrial coating industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry, providing protective material coatings for products worldwide. The most common coating, for a variety of reasons, is hard chrome.

What goes into hard chrome plating? Hard chrome plating is a type of industrial metal coating that protects an object from wear. Industrial coatings are used in a variety of businesses, including automotive, defense and arms, marine, aeronautics, and more.

Hard chrome protects materials with a moderate level of hardness. While the material is not suitable enough for completely wear-resistant coatings, it does provide anti-corrosion protection in most conditions. Chrome is also useful for restoration of products that have suffered from wear previously.

This material is also fairly cheap to use and install, but can take a while to dry. Chrome metal coatings are applied by dipping the substrate (the product that is being coated) into a bath of coating material. Due to the coating’s directional application, uneven coatings are more likely to occur. The thickness of the coating may be thicker on one side from dripping, or built up along the edges and corners of the coated product. The coating process may have to occur multiple times to obtain a suitably even finish.

Other types of industrial coatings can be used, such as thermal spray coatings, which are applied by robotic machinery. While the coatings are applied more evenly, this method requires more oversight. The machinery must be programmed specifically in order to successfully coat products with complex geometries. In many cases, the machine can only coat a couple inches of a product at once. It is also difficult to properly coat a product via spray, because the spray only covers the substrate from one angle at once. By the time the coating is applied at all angles, the coating my be uneven.

More advanced technologies have been consistently emerging, replacing hard chrome and thermal coatings, and providing more economic, environmentally friendly, and faster methods of coating application.

Wet sheet application is a different method of coating, which provides a uniform layer of coating on top of any substrate, regardless of its geometric design. It is easy to install, and dries nearly instantly, but requires very specific deposition equipment in order to complete the process.

Each coating method offers its own unique benefits. Any type of industrial coating could work well for your business’ needs, as the success of the coating depends on the volume and architecture of the product.

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