The project LaTex proposes to substitute grit blasting by laser texturing before thermal spraying. Thermal spraying is a coating technique widely used to obtain thick coatings at a high deposition rate. During the coating process, a melted material is sprayed onto a surface where it solidifies in form of splats and, by successive overlapping, build-up the coating.
The change to laser texturing in industrial manufacturing will have several positive effects from an environmental perspective. For instance, there will be no need to use chemical agents and running water for cleaning the surfaces; the grit which is often difficult to recycle will completely disappear from the process. In turn, the laser uses as the only resource electrical energy which is even expected to be significantly lower than what is used today (cleaning, blasting, compressed air). Furthermore, it will remove noise and vibrations associated to the blasting process and improve the air quality by reducing the amount of dispersed particles resulting in a greatly improved work environment.
The goal of LaTex is to demonstrate the effectiveness of laser texturing before thermal spraying in industrial environments. To this end, the implementation of the project will be divided in four main activities: texture design, demonstrators of real components, the case for industrialization and sharing the results.