ASM International Working to Develop Industry Certified Thermal Spray Certification Program

ASM International, the technical and educational society for materials science and engineering, is working closely with the ASM Thermal Spray Society (TSS) to develop the thermal spray industry's first certification program: Certified Thermal Spray Operator (CTSO).

For complete details on CTSO, visit http://tss.asminternational.org/portal/site/tss/Certification/.

"With the help and guidance of the thermal spray industry, ASM and TSS are developing a program that will encourage lifelong learning and education, set a benchmark for the industry and provide a career path for thermal sprayers," said Louise Wehrle, Ph.D., CAE, manager of ASM Certification Programs. "At the same time, we expect the program to help to increase consistency and reliability of the thermal spraying process and spur growth of the overall thermal spray industry."

Early in 2009, a Thermal Spray Certification Committee, chaired by Luc Pouliot, Vice President of Operations at Tecnar, was established to lead the development efforts and champion the certification program for thermal spray operators. Among the first actions of the committee was to determine the candidate profile for the CTSO program:

  • The candidate is one with 500 hours of thermal spray activity and a high school diploma or GED.
  • If a candidate lacks a high school diploma, he or she will need to have 1000 hours of thermal spray activity.
  • For specific process, additional hours of activity will be needed. For example, if a candidate wishes to become certified in twin wire arc an additional 250 hours will be needed; for those seeking certification in plasma spray, HVOF, D-Gun or Cold Spray an additional 500 hours of practice will be needed.

The program under development will have a general knowledge exam of about 100 questions. This exam is expected to be available for pilot testing in late 2010. Passing the exam will allow a candidate to become a CTSO. In order to be certified in a specific process, the candidate will need to take and pass an additional shorter written test related to that process and a performance exam on the process. The performance exams are expected to begin in 2011.

Because the CTSO program will become the benchmark for thermal spray activities, a limited time program will be offered for those who have extensive experience in the field. These individuals can apply for the CTSO certification without taking the general written exam. This "grandfathering" program is designed to recognize those who have been leaders in the field and who are expected to help champion the program and promote its acceptance. However, to be certified in a specific thermal spray process, successful completion of the performance exam for that process will still be required.

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