To avoid constraints due to the conventional surface preparation before thermal spraying (degreasing and sandblasting), the PROTAL process was developed implementing a Q-switched Nd-YAG laser to prepare the surface simultaneously to the coating build-up. The original system was designed with a single laser head and could meet with some limitations versus the thermal spray plume size, for example in the case of HVOF or twin wire arc spraying. In this work, a device with two laser heads was implemented thus increasing the size of the surface area which is prepared to receive the impinging material droplets. Then, after a presentation of the integration of such laser system in the thermal spray environment, some results will be presented. No significant surface topography modification can be noticed after the laser beam impact, this paper aims at clarifying the bonding mechanisms of thermal spray coatings manufactured implementing the PROTAL process. The case of a metallic coating deposited on a metallic substrate is especially discussed.

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