Thermal spray is a technique to form molten droplets using either plasma- or combustion-heating, which impinge upon substrates to form coating layers for various purposes, such as anti-corrosion and anti-wear layers. Although it is an established technique having a history of more than a century, operations of spray guns together with preparing suitable substrate surfaces for obtaining good coating layers still rely on experienced technicians. Because of the necessity of meeting more and more stringent requirements for coating quality and cost from customers, there has been a strong need to try to monitor spray processes, so as to obtain the best possible spray coating layers. The basic requirements for such monitoring systems are ∗reasonably cheap, ∗easy operation for laypersons, ∗easy access to targets to be investigated, and ∗an in-situ capability. The purpose of the present work is to provide suitable optical monitoring systems for (1) droplets behavior and (2) substrate pre-treatments. For the former (1), the first result was already presented at the 17th laser-aided plasma diagnostics meeting (LAPD17) in 2015 in Sapporo, and the results of its subsequent applications into real spray environments are shown in this article in order to validate the previous proposal. Topic (2) is new in the research program, and the proof-of-principle experiment for the proposed method yielded a favorable result. Based on this positive result, an overall strategy is being planned to fulfill the final objective of the optical monitoring of substrate pre-treatments. Details of these two programs (1) and (2) together with the present status are described.
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