Titomic solutions revolutionising safety and performance

safety

Brauntell repairs fuel tanks off mining trucks.

Manufacturers’ Monthly speaks with Brauntell about how Titomic’s low-pressure cold spray technology can speed up equipment repair whilst providing improved safety.

Starting as a family business, Brauntell’s new beginnings under managing director Mark Farrell started with half a dozen staff. Dedicated to a vision of technology and innovation, the Hunter Valley based fabrication and maintenance business has grown to just under 100 people, specialising in supporting the mining industry.

The business co-manufactures dump truck bodies and mining buckets with a Chilean partner, who designs a four-piece body which arrives to Australia on standard freight. Innovation and strategy consultant Scott Farrell said Brauntell pieces the equipment together and can deliver them to a particular site.

“This is heavy engineering where you can manufacture and repair items up to 100 tonne in the workshop,” he said. “We also project manage rebuilds on big equipment sometimes using mechanical providers.”

Brauntell has worked with Titomic for over five years and has recently become Titomic’s NSW Authorised Service Provider for the mining, manufacturing, water processing, and oil and gas industries.

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The Titomic D523 System.

Titomic Authorised Service Providers are companies which have been thoroughly assessed by Titomic and demonstrate extensive market access, strong skillsets, and have been specially trained by Titomic to utilise the cold spray equipment to provide coatings and repair services to the highest levels. These measures ensure the highest quality service and that equipment is regularly serviced and maintained.

Cold spray is a process typically used in the remanufacturing of engine components and restoration of various equipment and surfaces. The system is comprised of a hand-held spray gun, two powder feeders and a touch screen controller in an IP50 case. Using metal powder, compressed air, and single-phase power, it can repair damaged components to original conditions in only a few minutes.

Titomic Kinetic Fusion utilises the supersonic particle deposition of metal powders to create industrial-scale parts. To build upon this, Titomic acquired a Netherlands-based cold spray technology company, Dycomet – now Titomic Europe – at the end of last year, which has a portfolio of portable cold spray solutions, materials and the provision of servicing, spare parts, and consumables for its systems.

Titomic Europe has offered low and medium-pressure cold spray technology solutions to various industries since 2006. Farrell said the technology is a game-changer for operations.

“It’s somewhat of an intruder into our space,” he said. “We asked Titomic to come up with something that’s handheld as well as robotic, and when they came back with this handheld device, it was the perfect marriage.”

The first advantage of cold spray which sprung to Farrell’s mind was safety improvements. As everyone in the manufacturing industry is aware, safety isn’t something to be taken lightly – and Brauntell has seen an immediate impact to be had from using cold spray in their newest projects.

The company repairs huge 6000 litre fuel tanks off mining trucks in which they have traditionally had to empty out, make explosion-proof, then transport in a special cradle back to a workshop where they can test and fix the cracks with conventional welding methods. The tank has to be remounted and transported back to the original site, where it can be filled up with diesel and be ready to use.

Titomic’s cold-spray technology will allow Brauntell to walk up to the tank in the workshop, while still mounted to the truck, assess the leaks, then cold spray, filling the holes and completing the job on the spot. The low-pressure component of the technology means the maximum temperature is 50 degrees, with no possibility of explosion and no manhandling required.

“The safety benefits and risk reduction are outrageous,” he said. “Previously we would have to go through all of these now unnecessary steps, but this gun allows us to do it on the spot. We will be using it in the mining industry, but also in a range of other applications. There’s a lot of end-user cases for the technology, especially in corrosion protection.”

“For example, we can galvanise in location post-installation. Instead of a manufacturer sending the steel to a galvaniser, all of the joints which might be affected by sea water, acidic areas, we can fix on the spot.”

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Brauntell is looking to bolster its own manufacturing capability.

The process works by firstly cleaning the damaged area from contaminants. Then, a specially selected powder is sprayed onto the surface of the damaged area. Where the material impacts the surface at supersonic speed, it is compressed into a solid layer by the impact energy.

Brauntell will be able to coat the existing surface – regardless of metal makeup including glass and plastic, ferrous, non-ferrous and nickel metals – with a variety of corrosion resistant materials.

For instance, if a weld repair on a boat or an oil rig is exposed, manufacturers can coat the repair at the end of the process with a non-corrosive coating, virtually galvanising it on the spot. On top of that, cold-spray can metalise plastics and glass manually and robotically – whichever is easiest for the user.

“There’s a lot of salvage ability, but for manufacturers, the biggest benefit is for those jobs where they don’t want to leave the shop or invite others in to perform the tasks. They can control their own functions.”

With cold spray, Brauntell is targeting process plants, oil and gas, defence, and mining sectors. Around the world, Titomic Europe’s clients include household brands such as Rolls-Royce, Mercedes, Airbus, Siemens, Volkswagen, and several leading universities.

Farrell explained that the various offshoring issues are bringing back the desire to manufacture in Australia, so Brauntell is exploring the advantages of cold spray.

“The low-pressure machine is somewhat limited in certain applications, but it’s extremely cost-effective and beneficial,” he said. “The manufacturing potential is immense. Even if you use a different process, you can use the low-pressure machine for last-minute applications in a non-heated environment. It’s so effective for coatings, deficits, or touch-up jobs. I think it will be taken up across a lot of different industries once people get their head around its potential.”