The quality and operation performance of layer composites manufactured by thermal spraying is influenced by two different processes, the activation process of the surface prior to coating deposition and the coating process itself. The activation of the substrate surface is mainly performed by grit blasting operations. Surface activation by grit blasting is used in order to improve the bonding between substrate and coating, which is strongly related to the size and nature of the surface topography and roughness generated by the blasting process. Besides the roughening effect, grit blasting induces compressive residual stresses into the substrate surface which can be critical especially for thin walled components, e.g. piston rings, where the component shape is an important factor for the operation behavior and functionality. Another effect is an increase of hardness in the surface region related to the induced compressive stresses. A variety of blasting parameters can influence the surface characteristics, like nozzle diameter, grit medium and size, blasting pressure, distance and time. The influence of these parameters on the surface roughness, hardness, component deformation and residual stresses was investigated by tactile surface metrology, universal hardness and Almen tests as well as experimental residual stress analysis with the incremental hole drilling and milling method. All investigations were performed on rectangular steel strips. The results are discussed concerning quality control features for grit blasting processes in serial production.