The process properties for DC plasma spraying are affected by the arc as the source of energy for plasma generation. For instance, the position of the anode attachment point, the arc movement and the arc formation are significantly influencing process stability, reproducibility and coating quality. Following a qualitative and objective assessment of the complete arc movement and plasma generation is leading to an improved process characterization. Therefore, a preventive arc-based analytical method for DC plasma spraying is developed. Based on a representative data volume and realized by an automatic analysis of high-velocity recordings of the arc dynamics and correspondent arc voltage measurements, the evaluations are carried out. A developed software algorithm automatically detects for all images of the video sequence (at least 3200 images) the anode center axis, the arc orientation and the position of anode attachment point on the anode surface referring to the anode center, with simultaneous compensation of aberrations. This allows an objective assessment of the complete arc movement. In further investigations, the detection limit of the developed measuring system is determined and the effects on the arc behavior and the coating process could be quantified. Thus, the developed automated analysis of the arc dynamics in the DC plasma generator corresponds to an arc-based process characterization in DC plasma spraying process with relevance to developers (e.g. new anode nozzle designs) and end users (process control).

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