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Cold spray technology vs. welding: what's the difference?

For metal repairs and restoration

Repairing and restoring metal components can be complex and time consuming – and the right technique can make all the difference.

But while cold spray and welding are two popular options, they each have their own benefits and limitations. So which one should you choose? This guide should help you decide.

What is cold spray?

While our article What is cold spray? covers this revolutionary method in more detail, here’s a brief snapshot:

Cold spray is a process in which metal powders are accelerated to high speeds using compressed gas, and then impacted onto a substrate. This forces the particles to bond to the substrate, forming a dense, solid coating.

Why is cold spray so popular?

More durable

Produce coatings with fine-grained microstructures and minimal porosity to enhance their mechanical properties, durability and functionality.

More options

Use a wider variety of metal alloys (including high-temperature and reactive materials that aren’t easily melted) and open up new possibilities for restoring components previously considered to be beyond repair.

More protection

Repair corrosion and provide long-lasting protection, such as in marine applications where grit is used to blast away corrosion and apply corrosion-resistant aluminium to steel structures – without the need for disassembly.

Less risk

Repair delicate or temperature-sensitive components (such as electronic devices and aerospace components) with minimal heat output, reducing the risk of thermal damage to the substrate and surrounding areas.

Less wait

Repair obsolete or expensive components in hours – rather than waiting months for replacement parts.

What is welding?

There’s a reason why welding has been a staple of metal repair and restoration for decades. By heating metal parts until sections of them become pliable or molten, it’s easy to mould them together – as well as make joints more precise and controlled. And because welding can join metal parts of any thickness, it’s a versatile way to build a wide range of metal components.

But there’s a catch: welding a large area to repair geometry or surface imperfections can introduce significant heat. This threatens the metal’s grain structure, potentially causing warping, cracking, or heat distortion.

What is welding?

Cold spray:
Produces fine-grained, dense coatings with improved mechanical properties.
Repairs with dissimilar metals, such as aluminium onto steel.
Uses a variety of metal alloys, including high-temperature and reactive materials.
Minimal heat input, reducing the risk of thermal damage.
No need for hot work certification.
Easy to learn and apply with Titomic training.
Doesn’t weld or join separate metal structures.
Produces strong, permanent bonds between metal parts.
Produces precise and controlled joints.
Suitable for fabricating large metal structures.
Can generate high levels of heat, potentially damaging the substrate or surrounding areas.
High heat may warp metal parts and change the metal’s grain structure.
Requires hot work certification, specialised equipment and expertise.

Cold spray in action

See how our low-pressure cold spray systems rapidly restores metal parts, to drastically reduce repair and maintenance costs.

See what’s possible

Learn what other industry leaders have achieved with our TKF Additive Manufacturing System.

Titanium Valve Manufacturing with Cold Spray

Learn how Titomic’s D523 low-pressure cold spray system was used to quickly repair a classic car with no heat. The no-heat process does what welding, putty, and epoxies couldn’t for 20 years. Now, this vintage race car is back on the track, ready to take its driver toward the podium.

Read more

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