Advanced measurement technology for coatings
Nowadays, there is an ever-increasing need for improving safety and reliability of key components in major industrial sectors, such as transportation, chemical, energy and process industries. The use of high performance materials and coatings can significantly minimise component failures. However, the most commonly used chemical and electrochemical surface coating processes are not only environmentally unfriendly, but may also create hazardous working conditions. Aiming to provide a cleaner technology for replacing the dangerous chemical stripping process, the ABRADE project focused on developing an adapted abrasive water jet (AWJ) removal method for hard coatings. The new adaptive AWJ system for coating removal was designed to be used with a manipulator or industrial robot. The project work paid attention to the controlled removal of coatings at high volume rates. Project partners concentrated on the development of an AWJ coating removal strategy by integrating a CAD geometry model and thickness measurement data. For this purpose, a Non-Destructive Technology (NDT) for monitoring hard coating thickness was required. This involved an adaptive sensor for in-process hard coating layer thickness measurement. Optimisation of the probe geometry and design can allow reliable monitoring of the different types of High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) thermal spray coatings. Apart from coating removal, the NDT monitoring system may be also employed for coating measurements for instance in quality and process control applications. The NDT-coating monitoring method offers a better knowledge of process conditions and may improve the production capacity significantly.