The U.S. Navy is exploring a new method of welding that officials said could reduce costs and accelerate maintenance of naval assets. The Tactical Innovation Implementation Lab within the Navy is leading efforts to field the cold spray process across U.S. shipyards, the service branch said Wednesday.
TIIL hosted a Cold Spray Sprint on Jan. 15 and 16 hathering representatives from the Navy, Coast Guard and civilian scientists to advance fielding of the welding method. Cold spray uses 212-930 degrees Fahrenheit as the average temperature during a bonding process, far lower than traditional welding that fires around 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. The Navy said lower temperatures reduce the risk of metal distortion and allows the use of ceramics and composite materials to repair or build components.
“This process allows us to take something worn and reconfigure it to something new,” said TIIL Director Janice Bryant.
Alex Frank, a Navy mechanical engineer, said cold spray could also replace brush plating and epoxy repairs that involve hazardous chemicals and takes longer to complete. The Navy said it hopes to build a mobile cold spray unit using a robot installed directly into ships to support maintenance work.