The quality of plasma sprayed coatings depends strongly on substrate surface preparation, especially roughness, grit residue, and oxidation stage; particle spray jet position and size relative to the plasma jet; impacting particle distribution; particle velocity, temperature, and size prior to impact; substrate temperature; and pass thickness. A simple and low-cost spray and deposit control system developed in our laboratory allows to monitor on-line the position, shape, and centroid of the hot particle spray jet. Such a tool has proved to be very sensitive to any drift in powder injection conditions and torch input parameters. Although it gives no direct information on particle velocity and temperature, this system can be easily implemented in an industrial environment and help to maintain constant the particle parameters during spraying. A CCD camera is used in conjunction with a pyrometer making it possible to measure simultaneously substrate temperature. The system can monitor coating parameters such as deposition efficiency and residual stresses. This paper describes how the system can be used to set the tolerance range of process input parameters to obtain coating parameters within given specifications.

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