THERMALASER project press release


THERMALASER project "THERMAlly sprayed and LASER sintered ceramic coatings to protect steel structures" was launched on November 1, 2021. This project will develop new powder formulations, together with a new process to produce ceramic protective coatings based on the combination of two technologies: thermal spraying with suspensions and powders feedstock and laser post-sintering. The main objective is to achieve new high corrosion-resistant coatings for protection of metallic structures subjected to extreme environmental conditions, such as those suffered by the base of offshore wind towers or silos for grain and chemical storage.

The project has a relevant Consortium covering the whole production chain, allowing a position of strength within the proposed markets. The Spanish company TORRECID will develop ceramic formulations with required functionalities, suitable for both thermal spraying and laser sintering. All the powders produced will be utilized by using different spraying techniques. The German SME job coater PUTZIER will develop coatings applied by thermal spraying with powder feedstocks. FRAUNHOFER, represented by two Institutes IWS and IKTS, will contribute  its strong knowledge on development and thermal spraying of suspensions. The sintering of coatings will be carried out by the Spanish SME EXOM Engineering, who is also the project coordinator, using different laser post-treatments of the components. Advanced characterization of ceramic coatings will be done by research centre CIDETEC Surface Engineering, which will be subcontracted by the Spanish companies.

In the final phase of the project, the most promising coatings will be used to produce demonstrator components for silos/storage tanks and offshore wind tower structures to be tested and validated in real conditions.

The objective is to develop a completely new process for the preparation of enamelled steels providing a smooth surface, well adherent and high corrosion-resistant coating. By applying this technique, the risk of distortion and microstructural alteration of structural steels will be avoided preserving their mechanical properties. Moreover, the new technology, will allow to deposit coatings on cost-efficient steels to meet the demanded quality and functionality requirements. Therefore, the THERMALASER solution will lead to significant savings in the cost of the final product and in maintenance and replacement operations due to the extension of the service life.

The THERMALASER project has received the EUROSTARS-EUREKA seal of approval with a total budget of 1,617,041.37 € and will last for 30 months.