Surface Technologies (Surftec) industrial R&D group

A renewed NRC initiative to advance thermal spray technology for industry needs 2018 - 2022

Following a strategic review of its value proposition, Surftec has enhanced its offerings to:

  • increased current and pressing industry driven R&D themes (such as Industry 4.0) leading to impactful project research
  • active consultation and R&D activities priority setting by members
  • NRC one-stop-shop: the largest thermal spray R&D team in Canada supported by the full range of NRC research expertise for enhanced multidisciplinary effort
  • improved confidentiality, intellectual property (IP) protection and management
  • faster R&D delivery due to experienced professionals driven to address issues and find tailored thermal spray technology solutions
  • adaptable fee structure based on member needs

In operation since 1995, the NRC Advanced Surface Technologies Industrial R&D Group, continues to lead R&D projects focusing on targeted areas to advance thermal spray technologies and aid in cost reduction, process optimization and commercialization for the industry needs.


Thermal spray coatings are used primarily to protect underlying materials from temperature, wear or corrosion.

These coatings are used in several industrial sectors such as aerospace, automotive and energy (gas turbine, landing gears, diesel engines, heavy machinery, etc.) providing cost effective solutions and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes.

Surftec provides a cost-sharing platform for game-changing surface technology development. Just as the NRC was considered one of the pioneers in suspension plasma spray (SPS) technology in the early 2000s, the NRC aims to play a leading role in new developments in thermal spray technologies to continue to provide low-cost, green alternative solutions.

What is Surftec

Surftec leads thermal spray R&D projects. Members span across the entire value chain, encompassing equipment and feedstock suppliers, OEMs, maintenance organizations, applicators and end users. Surftec brings together leading partners from aerospace, industrial gas turbines, automotive and energy, while welcoming members from all sectors.

Why join Surftec

Quadrupled in scope over the previous years, the new Surftec focuses on market-driven R&D for high-impact industrial applications and processes.

Tapping into over 15 R&D teams within the NRC, members gain access to experienced professionals to quickly respond to their needs, offering a diversity of technology solutions. Members and partners will:

  • de-risk R&D investments through cost sharing among the members with significant additional leverage from NRC investment and sponsorship
  • network with peers from across the entire value chain, in a non-competitive environment (as opposed to, for example, trade shows)
  • gain access to current thermal spray market analyses
  • secure access to selected NRC background IP and all NRC arising IP through Surftec R&D projects
  • prove their solutions against similar or benchmark products in an unbiased environment using the latest technologies
  • obtain insight into the NRC's capabilities with the ability to launch one-on-one "spin-off" projects to explore particular needs for developing an idea into a marketable product

Additional benefits include:

  • active consultation and R&D activities priority setting by members
  • a non-biased test platform and resources for validating processes, equipment and feedstock
  • complete access to literature, patent, conference and market reviews
  • security
  • confidentiality
  • exclusivity
Current Surftec projects

The focus of the R&D themes is based on market-driven research and development for cost reduction, process optimization and commercialization of new thermal spray materials, equipment and processes related to surface coatings. The current R&D themes are:

  • Theme 1: Advanced Gas Turbine Coatings
    • Bond coat engineering
    • Suspension plasma spray (SPS) of thermal barrier coatings (TBC)
    • Environment barrier coatings (EBC) for ceramic matrix composite (CMCs)
    • Abradables for CMCs
  • Theme 2: High-Performance Protective Coatings
    • Internal diameter HVOF and HVAF development
    • Energy and mining applications validation
    • Lean processing
  • Theme 3: Thermal Spray 4.0
    • Monitoring and process control
    • Thermal spray digitalization
Our members

Academic Collaborators

  • Centre technologique en aérospatiale (CTA)
  • Concordia University
  • École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)

Major partners


  • Aikawa Fiber Technologies Trust
  • Baker-Hughes – Nuovo Pignone Tec
  • Corrosion and Abrasion Solutions Ltd.
  • Cincinnati Thermal Spray, Inc.
  • Flame Spray SpA
  • Honeywell International Inc.
  • Liburdi Turbine Services, Inc.
  • Northwest Mettech Corp.
  • Polycontrols Technologies Inc.
  • Pratt & Whitney Corp.
  • Praxair Surface Technologies Inc.
  • SprayWerx Technologies Inc.
  • Saint-Gobain Ceramics & Plastics, Inc.
  • Siemens Canada Limited
  • Tecnar Automation Ltée
  • Treibacher Industrie AG
  • Vac Aero International Inc.
How Surftec works
  • Surftec offers a membership fee at a fraction of the R&D value through co-funding by the NRC and other partners.
  • R&D objectives are proposed and discussed with the members.
  • The R&D activities are decided by all industrial members contributing to an R&D roadmap to continuous alignment with the needs of the industry.
  • The R&D projectsare executed by the NRC.
  • R&D results are presented in biannual meetings.
  • Intellectual property developed within the R&D group is protected and managed by the NRC, allowing both flexibility for sharing third-party, unbiased results and process protection to maintain the competitive advantage of members.

Contact us

For more information about Surftec and its current projects,

Polly-Lee Moore, Surftec Manager
Telephone: 450-641-5219

Deepak Sabharwal, Business Development Officer

Targeted industries

Aerospace, industrial gas turbines, automotive, and oil and gas sectors.