This paper investigates the advantages that an advanced control system can provide for plasma spray deposition in terms of variation reduction and greater ability to engineer coating structure. We report our work on implementing a feedback control system that automatically adjusts system inputs to maintain the desired particle states in spite of process variations. The limitations and performance capabilities of both feed forward and real-time control are evaluated. Important system characteristics needed to develop such controllers are discussed including dominant nonlinearalities, dynamics, cross-coupling, distributions, and sensor issues. Performance is evaluated in terms of engineering coating structure and production objectives.