Glass Container Manufacturing: Thermal Spray Coatings for Deflectors and Scoops

Glass bottle manufacturing

In the ever-changing landscape of glass container manufacturing, the pursuit of efficiency and durability is ongoing. One transformative technology making a significant impact is thermal spray coatings. Thermal spray coatings are used in many different areas of the glass container manufacturing process, from molds to conveyor shafts. The most frequent use is to protect and maintain deflectors and scoops. Thermal spray helps mitigate wear and tear from heat and high-volume use. So, what is thermal spray, how does it work, and what are its benefits for deflectors and scoops? Let’s start at the beginning… 

Thermal Spray 101 

Thermal spray is a coating process that applies semi-molten metal to a substrate, kind of like spray painting with molten metal. There are various thermal spray processes, but they all use either a powder or wire material to apply specialized coatings such as nickel graphite, tungsten carbide, and many more. It has a relatively low application temperature compared to other coating types, such as laser cladding or welding, so parts are not distorted during the application process. For some coatings, this makes it possible to apply thermal spray coatings repeatedly, as needed, to the same parts. 

For a more in-depth look at Thermal Spray, check out Thermal Spray 101

How Does Thermal Spray Work for Deflectors and Scoops? 

Glass Glob Deflector Coating

Thermal spray coatings can be applied to new or used deflectors. If parts are used, the parts are first degreased, and any prior coating is removed. The parts are then mounted, and the thermal spray coating is robotically applied. Finally, they are polished smooth, and ready to be put back into production. As simple as the process seems, these coatings can have profound results for the glass container manufacturing industry. The carbide coating used on scoops is very durable and, therefore, hard to remove so it can only be applied to new scoops. 

Benefits of Thermal Spray for Deflectors and Scoops

1. Wear Resistance 

One of the standout advantages of thermal spray in glass container manufacturing is its ability to resist wear and corrosion. These coatings extend the life of manufacturing components and reduce maintenance downtime. When components last longer it also minimizes replacement costs and reduces overall maintenance expenses. Thermal spray can be used, in some cases, to reclaim worn parts instead of purchasing new ones.

2. Thermal Protection  

Deflectors and scoops see temperatures upwards of 2000 °F. The addition of heat to an already abrasive environment increases part erosion. Thermal spray coatings can act as a heat barrier between the glass glob and the underlying base material, extending the life of the parts.

3. Lubrication 

The biggest improvement we have seen thermal spray coating bring to the glass container manufacturing industry is lubrication. Due to the natural material properties and the porosity of the coating, which holds onto swabbing lubricants, we have seen deflectors stay in production 2-3 times longer than swabbing alone. 

Thermal Spray Coatings for Deflectors and Scoops 

Thermal spray coatings are beneficial across many industries and glass container manufacturing is no different. While many components in glass container production benefit from thermal spray coatings, deflectors and scoops are the most common and numerous. One caution before jumping headlong into thermal spray as a solution is for clear glass products. Flecks of the coating may appear in the final product. But if that isn’t a concern and you want to lengthen your time between swabbing, reduce friction, and wear, thermal spray coatings may be the solution you’ve been looking for.