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Surface Engineering – What Is It?

Apr 4 '17

Surface Engineering – What Is It?

Surface engineering is the broad name given to a whole range of technologies designed to change the behaviour, aesthetic, or wear resistance of a metal surface. It can also be used to stretch the time between maintenance, and improve the way a part behaves under serious pressure. Surface engineering is common practice in almost every industry from mining and manufacturing, to aviation and aerospace engineering, stainless steel production, construction, even tinning to produce food and drink containers.

The benefits of surface engineering

We could go on and on about the benefits of metal coatings. Suffice it so say almost every metal part, tool, work surface, or vehicle you come in to contact with has had some kind of surface engineering applied to it. Here are some of the ways metal coating can improve the look and performance of metal:

  • Improving wear resistance in moving parts of almost any size
  • Metal spraying, where metal is transferred to another surface by a variety of methods (arc spray, thermal spray, HVOF spray) to form a strong coating
  • Making metal more resistant to heat and pressure, or corrosion from water and chemicals
  • Galvanising, where ferrous elements are dipped in molten zinc or zinc alloys to form a protective coating
  • Heat treatment to metallurgically alter the metal’s structure making it harder, softer, or changing its composition entirely
  • Electroplating metal to change the surface material, usually to something like gold or copper to save cost
  • Powder coating metal to produce a different look, or a smoother finish for application in a whole range of industries
  • Decrease the friction or slippage of metal parts where it matters

Surprising applications for surface engineering

By now you realise the applications of surface engineering are almost limitless. One surprising industry which relies heavily on surface engineering and metal spraying for performance and safety is aerospace. The stress placed on metal components in the aerospace industry is phenomenal and every part needs to meet the highest standards of safety and reliability.

From actuator components to transmission bearings, fuel transfer components, tail rotor gears, and the smallest rotor hinge pins, almost every part of an aircraft is precision engineered for one reason or another. It might be to increase the power density of the part, or help it perform under pressure. Metal spraying can even improve the lubrication requirements to save cost, or improve the strength and resistance of metal components.

Surface engineering is the hidden process which makes so many things possible. In virtually every instance where metal is used or interacted with, it has been engineered to some degree. It may not always use a metal spraying technique, but the applications can be surprising. New Metal Surfaces are Perth’s experts in surface engineering and metal spraying. We help clients across a wide range of industries to get more from their metal using innovative metal spraying and surface engineering techniques. If you need help from the experts, then get in contact with New Metal Surfaces today!

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