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Archive for May, 2014:

Five keys to crafting successful painting programs

­Five keys to crafting successful painting programs

Designing and implementing a painting program can be a daunting task. Many owners and facility managers are unsure of even the first steps to take. In this post, we focus on some essential aspects of a successful painting program and offer advice for how to proceed with each.

5-keys to crafting an industrial painting program

Specification

Identifying and prioritizing the work to be done is the first step. Next, clearly describe the scope of work in a specification document. This description should address the following: staging, surface preparation, application, clean-up and quality control documents.

The document should also list any special circumstances, such as testing old paint for heavy-metal content and testing the interior surfaces for chlorides prior to the application of a new lining system. Because this first step determines so much of the project’s success, contacting a NACE-certified professional for coating inspection services is a good idea.

Contractor Selection

Basing the selection of a contractor entirely on “lowest price” bid is risky business. Many times, what starts out to be a low price quickly balloons with extra charges and delays in completion. Consider the following factors when choosing a contractor:

• Expertise- Does the contractor have experience with this type of work? One contractor might be fine for painting piping, but does not have the necessary experience for interior tank linings.
• Management- The estimator in the office may be very knowledgeable, but how does that translate to field-level management?
• Equipment- Is the technology up to date and are workers comfortable using it? Equipment that is in disrepair has the potential to cause delays in the field.
• Manpower- Is it sufficient to complete the project, or will the contractor be scrambling to make new hires?
• Product knowledge- Are the contractor and his workers familiar with the coatings that are specified for the job? Do they have an understanding of the latest coatings technologies?
• Relationship- How well do the owner and contractor work together?

Coating Selection

Many of the coatings available today can appear quite similar. It’s often difficult to distinguish a quality coating from an average one simply by reading the data sheets.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers are more interested in quantity than quality. Even leading manufacturers are leaving the research and development up to someone else, choosing to duplicate or “knock-off” the formula of an existing coating. Often these reformulations are made with inferior resins and cheaper fillers and extenders. The result is a coating that looks similar to another, but with different performance standards.

In most cases, it’s best for the owner or manager to rely on an expert that they trust. This coating expert should be knowledgeable in all aspects of the industry and be able to provide options and expected results for each of these options. It’s usually best if the owner relies on this expert to write, or at least assist in writing, the project specification.

Inspection

Inspection is a very important component of the success of any coating project.
Quality, thorough inspection of a contractor’s work can be the difference between a service life of few years or many.

Whether the inspection is done in-house or by a third-party, ensuring the job adheres to the standards of the specification is the ultimate goal. In some instances, the contractor provides his own inspector to maintain a daily log, but the owner should always have a quality control backup to verify the readings. Much like the selection of the contractor, the selection of an inspector should be based on knowledge, experience, availability and cost.

Cost

Cost is something that should be discussed at the beginning of a project. If there are multiple ways to approach the job, then budget numbers should factor into decision-making.

The owner may want the longest lasting paint job available but lack the room in the budget for that option. In order to get the highest quality job, the work may need to be spread out over a longer period of time.

In the end, an owner should have three questions for every option offered by a contractor: How much corrosion protection, for how long and at what cost?

We’re here to help

Crafting a painting program can be an expensive step in its own right. Or you can reach out to us. We’ll talk you through the process and even pay your site a visit, all as a part of our free consulting services.

When you’re ready to get started formulating a plan for your facility or assets, get in touch. We have the experience to take the guesswork out of your project.

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Archive for May, 2014:

Five keys to crafting successful painting programs

The benefits of on-site coating inspection services from a NACE-certified professional

Some industrial painting suppliers offer “failure analysis services.” If one of their products has failed at a customer’s site these companies will visit your facility, take a few photos and analyze the conditions that may have caused their product to fail.

This approach seems a bit backwards. These sorts of (costly) blunders can often be avoided by evaluating site-specific coating stressors before a system is in place. Paying attention to a particular site’s susceptibility to corrosion and other environmental factors can help to avoid these breakdowns. Some of the big-box retailers don’t place any emphasis on this type of service. We think it’s smart, and can hopefully make “failure analysis” unnecessary.

NACE-certified on-site inspections

A preemptive approach

Building relationships is good business, and on-site surveys are a good practice for making these connections. By offering no cost, no commitment asset evaluation services, suppliers are able to shake hands with potential customers before they decide to buy.

After a purchasing decision is made, a supplier familiar with the particulars of a customer’s site can then design a product with those needs in mind. A petrochemical facility in St. Louis and a fleet of tugboats in New Orleans will have drastically different coatings needs. Understanding those needs is key to offering expert advice and crafting a product that performs.

Recommendations for choosing a coating system, plans for proper quality control and quality assurance during and after the application process, and advice on devising maintenance programs to lengthen the life of your coating system all require a thorough understanding of site-specific needs.

There are some firms that exist solely to provide these on-site surveys and asset analyses but, as a result of this being their core service, they charge heavily for it. These firms also may have arranged to receive a commission from an applicator in exchange for recommending their services, which could lead to an ill-suited partnership.

What to expect from an on-site analysis

Whether it is the core service of a company or not, there are a few things you should expect from a thorough asset analysis. Inspectors should have certifications from professional organizations. NACE and SSPC are well respected within the industry. Coating inspection services offered by NACE-certified professionals are a good bet.

A report, complete with write-ups of the findings, photographs to accompany those findings, and detailed recommendations on how to proceed at different price points should be included. It is a good sign if these findings are being compiled using some industry respected documentation software.

Facility managers should be able to use this report for budgeting or to better understand what type of work can be accomplished at a given price point. An asset analysis also provides the basis for devising a long-term maintenance plan for the site. This takes budgetary guesswork out of the equation when considering the future costs of facility upkeep. For this reason, these reports are also often useful in justifying to superiors spending on coatings improvements.

If you feel like you’re ready to have a NACE-certified coatings professional visit your facility, US Coatings is ready for you. We’d love to get in touch. Click the link above, fill out the form and we’ll set up an on-site consultation. If you’re not looking for an on-site survey, we also offer a variety of industrial coating services, including specification consulting and OEM customized solutions.

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