PTWA's Role in Efficiency and Friction Reduction

A CNET article examines the critical role PTWA technology plays in helping the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 avoid getting slapped with a gas guzzler tax:

In addition to being lighter, the new engine should also be more efficient thanks to Ford's Plasma Transfer Wire Arc (PTWA) cylinder coating system that reduces friction between the engine's pistons and cylinders. If this tech sounds familiar, it's because Ford licensed the PTWA tech to Nissan for the GT-R. The engine's slippery plasma-coated internals--along with a move from pneumatic to electric power steering--help the GT500 achieve a projected of 23 MPG highway and 15 MPG, which makes the GT500 one of only a handful of 500-plus horsepower cars that doesn't get slapped with the gas guzzler tax.

Road and Track Takes Note of PTWA

Like many of the leading publications following the automotive industry, Road & Track magazine took note of the use of Flame-Spray Industries PTWA process in the 2011 Shelby Mustang GT500:

An unusual technology is used on the cylinder bores of the aluminum block. Plasma Transferred Wire Arc, a process patented by Ford, is used to coat the bores with a 0.15 mm thick layer of composite iron and iron oxide. This spray-on liner replaces the conventional steel cylinder liners, cutting weight by 8.5 lb. and reducing friction. This is reminiscent of an older technology called Nikasil (used by Porsche, BMW and others), but PTWA is said to be just as durable as the old iron liners. Apparently this technology was licensed to Nissan for the GT-R, and the Shelby GT500 is the second car to use it. 


Nanoparticles on Engine Cylinder Bores

In a recent story on the 2011 Shelby GT500™, Ford highlights the important role that Flame-Spray Industries' Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) technology plays in enhancing power and performance:

The new engine uses state-of-the-art Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) liner coating, a process that applies a 150-micron composite coating that contains nanoparticles on the internal surfaces of engine cylinder bores, replacing cast-iron liners typically used in aluminum engine blocks. This is the first Ford application of the technology, and it offers improved overall performance and durability, along with functional benefits of reduced friction between piston rings and cylinder bores, improved heat transfer due to increased surface contact area and a weight savings of 8.5 pounds compared to a typical steel-sleeved aluminum block.

Engineers Receive 36th National Inventor of the Year Award

July 27, 2009                                                                                        Media Contact:

                         Carolyn Woodside


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Flame-Spray Industries, Inc. Recognized for Developing Energy-Efficient Engine Technology


PORT WASHINGTON, NY – Three accomplished engineers from the Long Island-based business, Flame-Spray Industries, Inc., and one Ford Motor Company retiree, proudly accepted the Intellectual Property Owners Education Foundation’s 36th National Inventor of the Year Award at the annual award ceremony, held at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Inventors Keith Kowalsky, Daniel Marantz and David Cook, Ph.D., from Flame-Spray and James Baughman, a Ford retiree, were recognized for their development of the Plasma Transferred Wire Arc (PTWA) Thermal Spray Apparatus and Method.  PTWA is a unique process that can deposit a molten metal coating on the internal surface of a cylinder, such as pipes, pumps and engine bores common in the automotive industry. 

By winning the 36th National Inventor of the Year Award, the team of innovative engineers is placed in an elite group of American inventors who have been recognized for breakthrough developments, such as the Jarvik Seven Artificial Heart, the stand-up MRI, and other inventions in fields including pharmaceutical, agricultural and medical.  The award is the best known honor for American inventors and is a great achievement, especially during challenging economic times. The development of PTWA benefits the nation’s economy, the environment and the quality of life.

 “Our invention protects, enhances and provides the ability to use and develop materials that allow more environmentally friendly products to be manufactured while overcoming many of the mechanical and material barriers,” explained Keith Kowalsky, President of Flame-Spray.

Flame-Spray, a company located in Port Washington, New York, developed the PTWA method as a result of the automotive industry’s need to replace expensive cast-iron liners in aluminum engines since they counteract the aluminum block’s attractive, lighter weight. PTWA accomplishes this by providing a system that is able to coat the inside of the cylinder bores of the engine with a low-friction, wear-resistant thermal spray coating that adds minimal weight. The invention of PTWA took over ten years to perfect by Flame-Spray and Ford Motor Company.  By using the PTWA apparatus and method rather than cast-iron liners, automotive manufacturers can safely and cost-effectively reduce the weight of a V-8 engine by approximately six pounds (2.7 kilograms).

PTWA was used in the 2008 Nissan GT-R, which was voted the 2009 Motor Trend and Automotive Magazine’s Car of the Year. The wire plasma-coated cylinder bores of the engine in the GT-R ensure optimal efficiency and high environmental standards, which were key components of the GT-R’s achievement. Since PTWA improves heat transfer, it allows for increased boosting and performance while reducing emission and fuel consumption, which is extremely environmentally-friendly.

The ability to remanufacture engines using the PTWA method is also a benefit to the environment. It requires less energy to remanufacture an engine block with PTWA compared to manufacturing a new engine block. Additional benefits gained using the PTWA method include corrosion resistance, increased conductivity, wear reduction, repair of damaged surfaces, thermal insulation, electrical insulation and biological functions such as bio-activity. 

“Companies like Caterpillar have successfully used our technology to recover worn parts and resell them as like new remanufactured components.  Talk about green, what better way to protect our environment than to reuse old worn parts by making them like new,” Kowalsky explained.

Since PTWA technology can deposit a coating on an internal surface as small as two inches or as large as 14 inches in diameter or on any external surface and any conductive wire can be used as the feedstock material including refractory metals as well as low melt materials, PTWA technology can be applied to many industries.  Thermal spray coatings are popular in the aerospace industry for increasing the durability and performance of aircraft turbine engines. Other industries that can benefit from PTWA include the petrochemical, infrastructure, alternative energy and military industries.

Currently, Flame-Spray technologies can be found in many industrial, heavy equipment manufacturers and remanufactured products.  It is Flame-Spray’s mission to advance the applications of PTWA technology for the benefit of other industries in the near future. To learn more about Flame-Spray Industries’ award-winning PTWA products visit

About Flame-Spray Industries, Inc.:
Flame-Spray Industries, Inc. provides engineering solutions for surface protection through the use of advanced thermal spray technologies. Flame-Spray is focused on using and developing thermal spray processes to develop and apply thermal spray coatings for applications in the automotive, petrochemical, infrastructure, aerospace, alternative energy and military industries as well as other industrial applications.  Flame-Spray was founded in 1965 in Port Washington, New York and its products are sold worldwide.



Photo from the award ceremony:



Pictured from Left to Right: Former Michigan Governor, John Engler, currently President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, James Baughman, Ford Retiree, David J. Cook, VP of Engineering Flame-Spray, Keith Kowalsky, President of Flame-Spray and Daniel R. Marantz, Founder of Flame-Spray

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