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How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Flow efficiency coatings make the inside of a pipeline smoother and thereby reduce operational costs associated with pumping petroleum products.

The elimination of even minor variations on the interior surface can drastically reduce the costs of pumping products through the pipeline. These linings also prevent the buildup of corrosion and deposits, which is especially common when using water-intensive procurement methods like hydraulic fracturing.

Flow efficiency coatings can also make inspections and cleaning easier, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), one of the agencies which publishes standards for flow efficiency coatings.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has placed various requirements on corrosion protection based on the materials transported in the line. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has also issued guidelines for friction reduction coatings.

Flow efficiency coatings: A history

For years, the most common formulations of flow coatings were based on low solids epoxies. But regulations governing VOCs emissions at the regional, national and international levels have made these formulations difficult or impossible to use.

In response, some companies have experimented with newer formulas for internal pipe coatings.

Water-based epoxies emerged early as a potential solution, but water is difficult to remove once the coatings have been applied. In predominantly humid environments, water-based coatings have a tendency not to dry at all.

Plural-component, 100% solids coatings have superseded water-based epoxies to comply with EPA regulations. These have been shown to have quick cure times, regardless of weather conditions. One hundred percent solids can even dry in rain. And of course, because they contain no solvents, they comply with the strictest regulations.

Operations must invest in things like pumps and application equipment to properly implement plural component coatings.

Plural component coatings are generally about twice as expensive as other options, but they also tend to cover twice the surface area of lower solids coatings, potentially negating the expense increase. Waste also isn’t an issue since plural component coatings are not mixed until a moment before they are applied.

There is another benefit high solids coatings can bring to flow efficiency that may ultimately tip the scales.

Flow efficiency plus internal pipeline corrosion control

Internal pipeline coatings are traditionally divided into two groups: those aimed at improving hydraulic efficiency and those aimed at controlling corrosion. Flow coatings, typically applied at a thickness of around 2 mils, aren’t thick enough to be considered corrosion resistant linings, which are typically around 5 mils thick.

But 100% solids can help close the gap between traditional flow coatings and corrosion resistant ones. Unlike with water or solvent-based coatings, 100% solids can be installed at much thicker levels.

With no water or solvent, there’s no danger of corrosive elements getting trapped within the film. This allows 100% solids to provide added value as internal pipeline coatings, as they increase hydraulic efficiency and fight corrosion.

More attention is granted to flow rate and internal corrosion than in the past. But according to a study conducted by the API, corrosion was still the leading cause of leaks by 2012. There were 204 total incidents of internal corrosion between 1999 and 2012. Of these incidents, 31 occurred in portions of pipeline that had intermittent flow and seven in portions that had no flow. In these instances of low to no flow, water is more likely to collect against the side of the pipe, creating corrosive conditions.

The report concludes that while instances of external corrosion continue to be the leading cause of incidents along pipelines, much more has been done to address these external issues. As a result, their occurrence rate is dropping far faster than that of internal corrosion.

Internal anti-corrosion coatings justify their initial expense when the stakes include the cost of a damaged asset, time lost with the asset out of service, leaked material and environmental liabilities. Their value is even greater when combined with flow-efficiency properties.

Proven savings from flow efficiency coatings

Flow coatings have been shown to reduce capital and operating expenditures over the long term. A 2000 study demonstrated that flow coatings were capable of cutting friction coefficients by 50% in carbon steel pipes.

Another study by Rafael Zamorano shows that a 1,200 km pipeline owned by GasAtacama returned substantial savings by using internal flow coatings. The company reported saving $2.4 million in fuel for compressor stations alone. When this figure was added to reductions in capital and operating costs, savings exceeded $20 million.

Shell Global Solutions demonstrated cost savings of 5% on a 250 km stretch of pipeline. Flow efficiency coatings allowed them to move to a smaller diameter pipe. France’s Institut Francais du Petrole realized cost savings of 7-14% in lightly corroded pipe and 15-25% in the case of highly corroded pipe.

The sticker shock that accompanies these 100% solids can discourage owners from such an investment, despite the returns they offer. On average, 100% solids run around twice the cost of the same amount of 50% solids. Fortunately, these higher-solid coatings end up covering about twice the surface area of the lower-solid option. This turns the price difference into a relative wash.

Once the added benefits are factored in — zero VOCs, no loss factors and added corrosion protection — 100% solids bring far more to the table than their apparently lower-priced counterparts.

Flow efficiency coatings


How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Save your assets: Corrosion prevention based on environment

Corrosion is a scourge of industry and infrastructure.

It totals billions of dollars in damages every year throughout the U.S. economy and places at risk our most important public and private assets such as bridges, tunnels and pipelines, according to NACE International.

There are many causes and solutions, but it is important to know which line of defense is best for your assets and the environment in which they are located. If done right, NACE International estimated that the country could save 25-30% of our annual corrosion costs through improved management practices.

This article explores common types of corrosion and how it places assets at risk. We then dive into some of the most effective preventative measures based on the conditions to which assets are exposed.

Common Types of Corrosion

Corrosion is the natural degradation of a metal surface when exposed to the atmosphere. It occurs when iron contacts oxygen and moisture, causing rust to form, which slowly wears the metal away.

Generalized corrosion

There are two broad categories of corrosion: generalized and localized. Generalized corrosion attacks the entire surface area of an asset, while localized corrosion is limited to certain areas of a particular asset.

Generalized corrosion—also known as general attack or uniform corrosion—appears over the surface, causing relatively uniform thinning of the material. This often occurs when protective coating systems breakdown.

It is predictable, treatable and fairly easy to detect, so it usually only causes minor issues. However, it can lead to more serious types of corrosion if permitted to progress.

Localized corrosion

Localized corrosion can be more difficult to detect and is more likely to occur even with protective measures. According to NACE, the most common localized corrosion types are:

  • Pitting corrosion, which is caused by localized failures in a coating system. Small holes form at points of failure and expand if not addressed. Pitting can cause serious degradation. It is often difficult to spot and can occur on assets that owners consider adequately protected.
  • Crevice corrosion, which is sometimes called contact corrosion, occurs in micro-spaces between touching materials. This could be a metal-on-metal or metal against non-metal point of contact but usually occurs around bolts, gaskets, washers or other fasteners.
  • Filiform corrosion, which occurs when moisture penetrates the small gap between a coating and substrate, usually at a natural edge on the substrate or at a defect in the coating system. It’s often distinguishable by bubbles forming beneath the coating.
  • Pack rust, which is generally caused when steel components develop an exposed crevice. It is common in bridges where rust builds up between two meeting surfaces.
  • Galvanic corrosion, which is damage induced by different materials electrically contacted under water, resulting in rapid deterioration of the surface metal. This corrosion is generally prevented through prior design measures.
  • Lamellar corrosion, which creates a layered appearance in the metal by progressing along planes parallel to the surface and is also referred to as layered corrosion or exfoliation. It most commonly affects extruded aluminum alloys. It is often prevented through heat treatment control rather than protective coatings.

Corrosion prevention with resistant coatings

Selecting the appropriate corrosion prevention methods depends on the conditions your assets endure. Environmental factors such as acid rain, humidity, chemical salts, oxygen and high temperatures can affect the pace of corrosion.

Corrosion resistant coatings are among the most reliable and cost-effective prevention methods for most forms of corrosion.

Here’s a top-level breakdown of the strategies most of our industrial coating products use to battle corrosion:

Sacrificial coatings

Sacrificial coatings tend to make excellent primers. They’re typically an extremely thin layer of metal, such as zinc or nickel applied directly to the asset.

Zinc primers are excellent examples of sacrificial coatings. They corrode preferentially to the asset at a slower rate than many other sacrificial coatings, leading to longer intervals before a recoat is necessary.

Sacrificial primers can effectively fight corrosion, but you’ll need to pair it with a topcoat barrier system.

Barrier coatings

Barrier coatings probably come to mind when most people think of industrial coatings. They keep oxygen and moisture from a substrate and protect it from harmful chemicals like soluble salts.

According to NACE, the following are the most important properties for a barrier coating:

  • Protects against the surrounding chemical environment
  • Resists moisture
  • Resists vibration and minor impacts
  • Exhibits strong adhesion even in moist conditions
  • Exhibits strong wetting properties for a smooth, even film build

Different environments stress barrier coatings in different ways. In areas experiencing prolonged exposure to sunlight, a high UV-resistant coating will be a priority. In marine environments, a coating’s ability to protect against the corrosive effects of soluble salts will be especially important. Chemical resistance will be necessary in chemical factories and other processing facilities that house harsh and reactive materials.

That’s why we offer on-site surveys as part of our corrosion services so you know exactly which system is best for your asset’s environment.

A project’s specification sheet should address any special circumstances surrounding an asset, including any extreme pressures it will encounter. A NACE-certified coatings inspector can help determine how to address these issues, such as if a highly corrosive environment will require a urethane topcoat rather than an alkyd.

It’s also important to consider where a generic coating comes from. Many manufacturers cut corners to produce what many qualify as an “epoxy primer” or a “polyurethane finish”. Inferior resins along with cheap fillers and extenders can yield a less expensive product at the expense of performance.

Having your asset examined by a coatings specialist beforehand will also help with that all-important second step in keeping corrosion at bay: a well thought out maintenance plan.

Coatings maintenance

The worst time to discover your corrosion prevention system hasn’t been maintained is when an asset fails. Corrosion prevention must be a regular process. Elements degrade. Chemicals erode. Moisture seeps in. But, with a coatings maintenance plan in place, regular wear over time needn’t be a significant setback.

A full-scale failure as a result of damage caused by corrosion could be catastrophic. Leaking chemical pipelines and unsound structural steel threaten lives as well as financial stability. We’ve seen how much corrosion costs the economy, and regular coating’s maintenance is one of the best fundamental strategies we have for reducing those expenditures.

A spot coating as a part of a regular coatings maintenance plan can prevent the spread of localized corrosion and delay a full-blown recoat for years.

Reach out to get specific recommendations

Contact US Coatings for help with your corrosion prevention needs. You can request an on-site survey for asset evaluations and specification consulting to be certain that you have the right coating for your assets based on the conditions and pressures of the environment.

As you’ve learned, there are many causes and forms of corrosion that influence the best prevention strategies. Our NACE-certified experts want to hear about your project and its exact requirements. We can also help with placing product orders or simply talk about your coatings and lining needs.

Corossion prevention white paper


How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

The basics of high temperature coatings

As their name suggests, high temperature coatings are those that are able to provide corrosion protection even under extreme heat. Industrial high temp coatings are widely used in process-based facilities such as refineries, petrochemical plants, pulp and paper mills and power plants. These facilities usually contain extensive networks of pipe that need to be diligently protected from corrosion under insulation and away from the naked eye. For this reason, it’s essential facility managers have confidence in the effectiveness of their high temperature coatings.

High temperature coatings

Predictably, high temp coatings are also often used on smokestacks, kiln exteriors, portable fireplace units and so on. Different uses require different properties from high temperature coatings. Often our customers will ask if a high temp coating will still provide the corrosion protection they’re looking for, or if it is safe to use on a barbeque pit. Here we’ll discuss a few features to consider when selecting a high temp coating.

High temperature coating application

Ease of application should be a major consideration when selecting a high temp coating. It can be the deciding factor when choosing between two products. The reason being, high temp coatings are often not applied as a part of some massive recoating initiative, but rather on an as-needed basis, with touch ups occurring at various points around a facility.

With a product that is easy to apply, such as a single-component, direct-to-metal coating, assets that have been taken out of service by corrosion can be returned to duty quickly. In the case of coatings under insulation (CUI), single-component systems are easier to apply in sections where the insulation has been removed. Single-component systems are also easier to keep in stock for spot touch-ups, ideally as a part of a regular coatings maintenance plan.

To avoid needing to shut down entire portions a facility, it also helps to have a high temperature coating that can be applied even to a hot surface. This feature will make spot coating portions of a facility a much more manageable undertaking and cause less of a disturbance to day-to-day operations.

Temperature range

What is the effective temperature range of this product? It’s one of the first questions a customer will ask when seeking a high temp coating. And it’s really important. One of the most common sources of failure occurs when these coatings are expected to perform outside of the range they were manufactured to tolerate.

Some coatings are rated between 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit, some are rated up to 1200 degrees and beyond. Different resins and chemical compositions of individual products will determine their effectiveness at high temperatures. Whatever their rating, protecting substrates from corrosion is always the main goal.

High temperature coating aesthetics and food safety

In areas where piping is color-coded, or painted certain colors for purely aesthetic reasons, it’s important to confirm that exposure to high temperatures won’t lead to discoloration. Coatings with poor color retention can lead to recoating more frequently than would otherwise be necessary.

In some situations it’s essential to verify that high temp coatings are food-grade safe. Consider the black coating on the inside of a traditional barbeque pit. Those coatings must consistently stand up to high heats while giving off no harmful chemicals that could compromise the food being prepared.

Stay tuned to our blog for more on high temperature coatings, or to browse our full line of these products, download our product catalog through the link below.


How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Safety coatings are a smart bet

Most safety directors are all ears when you tell them that for what amounts to a drop in the bucket of their safety budget they can be making their facilities safer places to work. In fact, when we talk about safety coatings as a smart investment, the response we get the most often is something along the lines of “Yea. That makes sense.” And we agree.

Consider that according to OSHA, slips, trips and falls make up the majority of general industry accidents. They’re responsible for 15 percent of all accidental deaths, with only motor vehicle accidents causing more work-related fatalities. Safety coatings such as glow-in-the-dark urethanes and non-slip coatings are an easy, cost-efficient way to guard against slips and trips.

Custom Safety Coatings

When do custom safety coatings make sense?

There are situations where non-slip coatings are mandated in general industry, shipyards, construction and marine settings, but the responsibility largely falls on safety-minded individuals to utilize safety coatings to their full potential. Forward-thinking safety professionals at power plants, refineries, manufacturing facilities and so on are recognizing the diversity of ways safety coatings can be put to use. Non-slip coatings on the tops of railcars and glow-in-the-dark coatings in the hulls of barges are examples of the expanding use of safety coatings.

Luminescent coatings

Facility managers are increasingly exploring the potential benefits of glow-in-the-dark (luminescent) coatings for industrial settings. Considering that some countries are testing them for their usefulness on highways, it makes sense that they be used to illuminate important pathways or obstructions in the workplace. These custom safety coatings can be used to illuminate pathways to exits if a power outage or other emergency forces an evacuation. By storing energy from lights during working hours, particles within the coating are able to glow for some time after the lights go out.

In order for these luminescent coatings to stand up to the harshness of an industrial setting, it’s important that they’re not any off-the-shelf paint. An interior paint with a glowing pigment inside will quickly wear out under stress. When formulated from more durable material such as a urethane, these coatings are able to withstand greater abuse.

While, gallon for gallon, non-slip and luminescents may cost more other coatings, it’s possible to do a lot with a little. Painting a curb, line, arrow or overhead obstruction ends up being a cost-effective safety measure. And when it comes to worker safety, it’s a small price to pay.



How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Devising an industrial painting budget

There’s a lot to consider when managing an industrial facility. Regularly scheduled maintenance, repairs, coordinating with vendors, managing employees, the list is seemingly endless. Most of these tasks are line items on a budget. But regularly scheduled industrial painting is something that’s sometimes left out. This can lead to surprise costs and lost opportunities for savings.

For reasons we’ve talked about before, a coatings maintenance plan is essential to the overall health of your facility. This post should provide some factors to consider when devising an industrial painting budget. It’s by no means an exhaustive checklist, and consulting with an industry professional will always be your best bet for a comprehensive budget plan.

Industrial painting budget

Factors that affect an industrial painting budget

A well-thought-out budget depends on a number of factors. The substrate being painted, and the stress that the coating is regularly exposed to will determine what sort of product is needed. If you’ve handled industrial painting decisions before, you may already have an understanding of what you need. But what if a less expensive product can meet your needs? What if a more expensive product will reduce costs in the long run?

Accessibility and containment are some site-specific factors that should be taken into account. Staging equipment, mechanical lifts or cranes will increase the amount that should be set aside for the project. Containment will be more important near schools and residential areas compared to industrial parks, which will be reflected in the overall cost of the project.

When it comes to choosing an applicator, options range from small startups to highly professional organizations that regularly undertake multi-million dollar projects. Which one you choose will depend on the size of your project, budget and whom you’ve worked with in the past. But project managers trying to save a few extra bucks on this phase of the project should be aware that improper surface preparation or a shoddy application can seriously shorten the lifespan of your coatings system.

Quality control and quality assurance are closely tied to contractor selection. A trusted applicator should be able to handle the QC, but the owner needs an effective QA specialist. If the organization doesn’t employ someone capable of performing these services, consider seeking outside help and carve out some space for it in the budget.

Finding efficiencies

Taking into account what you’re already doing is a smart way to go about planning an industrial painting budget. Could you create some efficiency in your existing coatings maintenance process to cut costs? Is your maintenance process strategically designed?

Take a project manager that applies a two-coat system every five years, for instance. Each time his asset, let’s call it a large storage tank, is repainted, he pays for labor, staging, containment, etc. The actual paint accounts for only a small portion of that budget, usually around ten percent of the total cost.

By spending five percent more and adding a third coat to the system, its service life can be extended for another five years. Even if labor for the additional coat adds a further five percent to the total cost of the project, the owner still realizes 90 percent savings by skipping the five-year recoat. Spending a little more on the product helps cut costs like labor and staging from your industrial painting budget.

Creating efficiency may also mean reexamining the product you’re using. Facility managers often purchase the same product over and over again, simply because that’s the way they’ve always done it. But investing in a more durable paint upfront may lead to painting less often, resulting in net savings on painting costs. Buying in bulk from a single supplier is also a great way of generating savings.

If you’re ready to speak with an expert about devising a painting budget, we’d be happy to discuss it with you. We’ll even pay your facility a visit, so we can provide the best possible advice for your coatings maintenance plan.



How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

VSC 1200: A direct-to-metal coating with advanced asset protection

VSC 1200 direct to metal application

VSC 1200, a new and advanced product from US Coatings, has proven its worth as the next generation of heavy-duty industrial maintenance coatings when combined with the VSC 1100 primer. In this post, we’ll discuss the use of the VSC 1200 topcoat as a direct-to-metal (DTM) coating and why this cutting-edge polyurethane will provide groundbreaking benefits for DTM applications, particularly in metal fabrication shops and for manufacturers of small vessels and tanks.

What is VSC 1200?

VSC 1200 is a 2K polyurethane finish. In addition to providing the desirable characteristics of an ultra high performance polyurethane topcoat — excellent gloss and color retention, outstanding weathering, UV resistance — VSC 1200 is hard, tough and extremely durable. When applied to substrates, it offers high barrier protection, anti-corrosion properties and unparalleled edge retention.

This polyurethane coating is comprised of Tetrashield™ technology, the newest evolution of protective coating resins. This gives VSC 1200 consistent film build and an environmentally friendly, high-solids formula that requires no thinning solvents. Easy application is another key advantage: The longer pot life and shorter dry time allow for streamlined application, and the coating has a wide latitude of application conditions. Additionally, this advanced coating has no added costs compared to other polyurethanes on the market. It also offers excellent edge retention, greatly reducing the risk of undercutting off of sharp edges on the substrate.

Click here for the full introduction to VSC 1200 as a topcoat with the VSC 1100 primer coating system, which are used together in heavy industrial applications in rigorous environments.

VSC 1200 and direct-to-metal coatings

Direct-to-metal (DTM) applications involve an industrial coating applied directly onto a metal substrate without the use of a primer beforehand. DTM coatings offer a host of cost-saving efficiencies and environmental benefits without sacrificing any protection of the substrate. With only one coat of paint (instead of the typical two-coat system), labor and material costs are lowered and applications are streamlined. The chance for overspray is also decreased, which reduces wasted materials and environmental impacts.

VSC 1200 is a best-fit coating for DTM applications, as it provides both the reliable protection and long-term weathering resistance necessary for industrial coatings — an all-in-one performance that asset owners require from a DTM application. The coating has many high-end performance characteristics as enumerated above, and there are no application, equipment or cost constraints for applicators.

Another advantage of VSC 1200 in DTM coating applications is undercutting prevention. Polyurethane coatings typically don’t have high enough adhesion to withstand the rigors of the substrate’s environment, causing the paint to slowly separate from the surface. This allows corrosion to potentially take hold and lead to costly damage to the asset. VSC 1200’s Tetrashield™ technology prevents undercutting and ensures the coating provides unparalleled protection for the substrate.

DTM applications for VSC 1200

VSC 1200 performs well in a variety of DTM coating applications — essentially any light- to medium-duty industrial application where protection from corrosion and UV degradation are vital. Facilities and shops that manufacture metal components requiring a high-end industrial finish (products such as structural steel, trailers, farm equipment and construction equipment) can greatly benefit from VSC 1200’s DTM application. Small manufacturers of vessels and tanks will also find VSC 1200 a viable DTM coating option. These shops and manufacturers can utilize VSC 1200 to provide the protection, reliability and aesthetics they require with a streamlined application and cost-competitive pricing.

Selecting a coating that provides adequate protection and long-term weathering resistance while streamlining processes is no easy feat. For more information on choosing the best coating for your asset, read our Industrial Coating Selection Guide. To continue discussing VSC 1200 for your DTM application, reach out to an industrial coatings expert.


How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Flow efficiency coatings: A history

For years, the most common formulations of flow coatings were based on low solids epoxies. But recent regulations governing VOCs emissions at the regional, national and international levels have made these formulations difficult or impossible to use. In response, some companies have begun to experiment with new formulas for internal pipe coatings.

Flow efficiency coatings: A history

Water-based epoxies emerged early as a potential solution, but problems have surfaced. Water has proven difficult to remove once the coatings have been applied. This makes climate a major factor in the application process. In predominantly humid environments, water-based coatings have a tendency not to dry at all.

Plural-component, 100 percent solids coatings have superseded water-based epoxies as a solution to the problem of flow efficiency coatings and emissions regulations. These have been shown to have quick cure times, regardless of weather conditions. Even in rain, 100 percent solids tend to dry. And of course, because they contain no solvents, they comply with even the strictest regulations.

It is true that some investments must be made in order for an operation to make use of plural component coatings. Pumps and other application equipment are on consideration. The products themselves are generally about twice as expensive, as well. This turns into a relative wash, though, because they also tend to cover twice the surface area of lower solids coatings, so about half as much product is required. Waste is also a non-issue, since plural component coatings are not mixed until the moment before they are applied.

These benefits make 100 percent solids a viable option for use as flow efficiency coatings. But there is another benefit high solids coatings can bring to flow efficiency that may ultimately tip the balance in favor of the cost-effectiveness of these types of coatings.

Flow efficiency coatings


How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

The benefits of on-site coatings 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 coatings inspection

Coatings inspection: 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 coatings inspection companies 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 on-site coatings inspection services

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 industrial paint 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 coatings 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 for a professional from a NACE-certified inspection company 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.



How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Case Study: Eastman Chemical Company Fights CUI with VSC 1200

One of the costliest corrosion problems faced by the chemical processing and petroleum refining industries is corrosion under insulation (CUI). CUI affects both carbon steel and stainless steel equipment and has been recognized as a problem for many years. The American Petroleum Institute publishes recommended practice API 583, “Corrosion Under Insulation and Fireproofing” which provides information on the causes and mitigation of CUI. The National Association of Corrosion Engineers publishes SP0198, “Control of Corrosion Under Insulation and Fireproofing” which provides information on the use of coatings to prevent CUI. In both documents coatings play a major role in preventing CUI.

Like all its peer companies Eastman Chemical Company has experienced CUI of both stainless steel and carbon steel equipment. Recently Eastman began a program of CUI-related inspections and repairs to extend the life of several critical assets that operate under conditions that are conducive to CUI. Previous experience suggested that CUI was likely with an elevated temperature distillation column made of carbon steel. The column has been in service since the early 1980’s with an operating temperature that varies from about 100°C at the base to 80°C at the top.  Operating requirements prevented shutdown of the column so all coating and insulation work was completed while the column was in operation and the external surface was hot. When new, the equipment was painted with a red iron oxide primer and insulated with two inches of fiberglass blanket insulation. After more than 30 years of operation in an exposed outdoor location the insulation was removed to permit a thorough external inspection, found damage was repaired and a protective coating system and new thermal insulation was installed.

As expected, when the old insulation was removed, corrosion of the steel substrate was found.  It is very difficult to prevent the ingress of water through an aluminum jacket, particularly one that has many jacket penetrations – which is why corrosion to the shell occurred. Figure 1 shows typical corrosion damage found at an insulation support ring. Support rings are horizontal surfaces designed to provide vertical support for the thermal insulation.  In this case, the ring was welded directly to the shell, which allowed water to accumulate in the insulation on the topside of the ring, resulting in corrosion of the steel shell.

Historically, Eastman has used either epoxy phenolic or multi-polymeric coatings for CUI protection. In both cases the required surface preparation is abrasive blasting. Because this distillation column is in service, it was not possible to do abrasive blasting; instead an SP3 power tool-cleaned preparation was specified. VSC1100, a high-quality, high build surface tolerant aluminum epoxy mastic coating, was chosen for the first coat because of its outstanding corrosion resistance and excellent tolerance of marginally prepared surfaces. VSC1200, a top coat with Eastman Tetrashield™ protective resin systems, was chosen for the second coat because of its outstanding resistance to water permeation and excellent chemical resistance. Laboratory testing showed application of VSC1100 to a hot surface had no impact on the curing or properties of the coating.  The hot surface temperature did require the addition of a cure blocker to ensure proper film characteristics for the VSC1200 topcoat. Figure 2 shows the VSC1100 as applied, and Figure 3 shows the VSC1200 topcoat.

Figure 1. CUI damage at insulation support ring.

Figure 1

Figure 2. VSC1100 applied to marginally prepared steel substrate at about 80°C.

Figure 3. VSC1200 topcoat applied to the VSC1100 aluminum epoxy mastic at 80°C substrate temperature.

Figure 3

Extensive laboratory testing carried out during the development of both coatings showed they have individual characteristics that provide each with excellent properties that, when combined, produce a coating system with excellent corrosion resistance. The Tetrashield resin provides excellent resistance to water permeation and resistance to many aggressive chemicals. These characteristics make it very useful in moderate temperature CUI applications where an abrasive blast surface preparation is not possible and in situations where the equipment cannot be taken out of service.

Immersion grade coating systems are chosen for CUI applications because they may be exposed to hot, wet conditions for extended periods. The high build epoxy systems are only recommended for temperatures up to 60°C in NACE SP0198.  Between 60° and 150°C NACE recommends epoxy phenolic coatings which are considered immersion grade coatings.  However, in cases where the recommended abrasive blast cannot be done, the epoxy phenolic cannot be used. The system can bridge the temperature gap between 60° and 150°C given its good moisture permeation and corrosion resistance; however, it is not an immersion grade system and should not be chosen in situations where continuous hot immersion is possible. The design of the insulation system should be done with CUI resistance in mind to help the coating system function as intended. For the Eastman project, a moisture resistant insulation was chosen, along with an elastomeric jacket material that is adhesively sealed to itself and to the vessel being insulated as seen in Figure 4. This combination made it much less likely that water could get to and be held against the surface, thus reducing the need for moisture resistance in the coating system. The VSC1100/1200 system with its good moisture permeation and corrosion resistance is a good choice for moderate temperature applications when the substrate is corroded and abrasive blasting is not practical.

Figure 4


How internal pipe coatings affect pipeline-pumping efficiency

Discussion of coatings selected for deck remediation where the decking has been exposed to Phenolic Foam Insulation (PFI).


In 1991, the major industrial coatings manufacturers of the United States were contacted by Beazer East, Inc. through a consulting firm.  These coating manufacturers were presented with the problem of specifying a surface preparation and coating system to be applied over corrugated steel decking that had been in direct contact with, and/or corroded by, Phenolic insulation.  The coating had to be able to be applied to both painted steel and galvanized steel decking.


Phenolic insulation exposed to humidity or direct moisture (such as roof leaking) creates sulphonic acid.  In a short amount of time, this sulphonic acid corrodes both standard painted deck as well as galvanized deck. It is important to note that the coatings used to paint corrugated decking are applied at a thickness of between one half and three quarters of one Mil DFT. That is less than one thousandth of an inch. A sheet of newspaper is three thousandths of an inch thick. The phenolic insulation also has a history of crumbling, and easily crushes when walked on, leaving a residue on the decking.  This residue is present regardless of whether the insulation has been crushed or not.


In order to have corrosion, three things are required, oxygen, moisture, and a catalyst.  In our case, the catalyst is the Phenolic insulation residue and the sulphonic acid.  In order to prevent corrosion in this application, we would need to remove all the residue, which is not practical.  The easiest way to prevent corrosion is to prevent moisture from coming in contact with the phonlic residue and the existing corrosion or steel by means of a high build barrier type coating.


When developing a specification for surface preparation and coating selection, there are limitations to what surface preparations are available, possible, and practical.  When making a coatings selection there are also limitations as to the occupancy of the building and limitations of surface preparation, and the skill level of the applicators.  Any change made to the surface preparation will change the selection of the coatings system used.  When reviewing the possible surface preparations, we are limited in the sense that many of the industrial surface preparations, such as abrasive blasting or water washing, are not practical.  Regardless of what practical surface preparation is chosen, we know that corrosion and the sulphonic/ phenolic residue will remain on the remaining surfaces.  It is not practical to completely remove the residue or the corrosion as it would be less expensive to just remove and replace the deck.  For our surface preparation specification, we use the Steel Structures Painting Council SP-2 hand tool clean or SP-3 Power-tool clean.  The level of cleanliness for these specifications are the same, the difference is the methods used to reach the required level of cleanliness.


After examining the profile of decking that had been corroded by sulphonic acid/phenolic residue; we found after cleaning, that the profile or depth of the corrosion ranged between two and eight thousandths of an inch (mils).  This meant that our minimum dry film thickness required to cover the deepest profile was at least nine (9) mils.  The profile of the corrosion directs us to a high build coating which is also surface tolerant given that corrosion will remain on the steel decking. This coating must be able to be applied to and adhere to existing coatings, without lifting, and adhere to galvanized decking.

Degrees of Damage:

It is not that the sulphonic acid is so damaging, it is that the insulation boards will hold around 10 times their weight in water allowing it to stay continuously wet and dissolve the deck.

This is typical of the damage, full, active corrosion from top(flange), down the slope(web) into the bottom(flute). The dust is mostly crushed insulation. The phenolic foam dust cannot be fully removed without washing it from the deck. The previous roof system was mechanically attached using screws that penetrate through the decking. In areas where the roof has had leaks, these fasteners/screws can be completely corroded through leaving the screw head and washer on top of the foam and the end of the screw falling into the building.

The beginning of stratified corrosion. Beyond this degree of corrosion a consultant would recommend either removal of the section of deck or preparing, coating and overlaying of the area

This section of decking has been completely corroded through. The section was prepared, coated and overlaid with new decking.


Products such as acrylic primers or oil based (alkyds) primers cannot be used and have failed when used for several reasons:

-Acrylics (typically 35 to 50% volume solids*) meet neither the surface tolerant requirement nor have the ability to be applied in thicknesses greater than five (5) mils dry (DFT dry film thickness).

-Alkyds (typically 45 to 60% volume solids*) have limited surface tolerance but do not meet the high build thickness requirement. Also oil based coatings contain oxidizers which are the drying mechanism (along with solvent evaporation), these oxidizers continue to “dry” the coating until no oil remains, thus leaving a dry powder residue which has no barrier properties and will allow the deck to corrode again.  Oil based primers are typically applied between 2.5 and 4 mils DFT.

-Standard Epoxies (typically 60-75% volume solids*) can meet the surface tolerant requirement but not the film thickness requirement. Typically applied from 3 to5 mils DFT.

*Volume solids are the amount of liquid in the can that actually forms a solid film.  Any part of the coating that is not volume solids is solvent and needs to evaporate out of the coating to ensure proper curing. Only volume solids have film forming characteristics.

In all three of these cases, applying the coating at a greater film thickness than designed in the formulation process will cause solvent entrapment due to the low volume solids.  This will lead to continued corrosion because the film becomes very porous due to the solvent bubbles/blisters working their way to the top of the film.  A cross section of these films looks very much like Swiss cheese.  Epoxies can cause osmotic blistering as the uncured coating pulls moisture through the film and back down to the substrate (decking).


High Build Epoxy Mastics (75-100% volume solids). Epoxy Mastics, when formulated properly allow for surface tolerance, moisture impermeability, high volume solids, and high film build. Not all high build epoxy mastics are surface tolerant; many are formulated to be a build or mid-coat in a three coat system or as part of a lining system where chemical immersion will be the end application, requiring abrasive blasting and the removal of all contaminants to clean steel.  The coatings we have selected are formulated meeting our requirements and have been tested on steel decking that has been removed from buildings that have had Phenolic insulation on them.  The coatings that we have selected meet both the surface tolerant requirement and the high build requirement.

When deciding on a coating, we looked for surface tolerance moisture impermeability, adhesion, film thickness, and, specific to our application, ease of use.  For this application we had to keep in mind that the coatings would be applied by roofers and not professional painters.  In most cases, these roofers need to be taught not only how to prepare the decking, but the proper application of the coating, and the use of the spray equipment to apply the coating.  In consideration of the project limitations we look at how easily the coatings can be mixed together (how they “handle”), how easily and with what type of equipment they can be sprayed (standard airless or plural component), and the pot life or working time before the coating sets and cannot be used, and if there are any limitations due to weather/temperature.

The difference between the two coatings is more than simply a matter of odor.  The first epoxy recommended/used is Sigmacover 7428 ST ( Sigmacover 7428 ST  is discontinued now look at US Coatings DeckGrip 6120)  which is an 85% volume solids surface tolerant high build epoxy which is applied at 12-14 wet mils, and curing to between 10.2 and 11.9 mils.  As it is a high solids epoxy, there is odor from the 15% solvent and the inherent odor of the ingredients that make up this product.

The second coating that we recommended/use is Sigmacover CSF 5484 (CSF = Cold Solvent Free,( Sigmacover 5484 ST  is discontinued now look at US Coatings DeckGrip 6250) meaning it will cure at ambient temperatures and is solvent free). The DeckGrip is a 100% volume solids, low-odor high build surface tolerant epoxy which is applied at 14 to 16 wet mils curing to 14-16 dry mils. That the coating is solvent free is not the only reason that it is low odor, the ingredients of the product are very low odor in and of themselves aiding in the “low odor” facet of this product. It is erroneous to assume that all 100% solids epoxies are low odor. The GripLine family of products are used extensively as tank linings ranging from potable water to refined crude oil products.  It is because there is very little odor that we tested and recommended this product as it met all of the requirements.  The DeckGrip has been used for the past several years on all facilities handling Pharmaceutical, Produce, Brewery, and Grocery, Hospitals, and office building/complexes (including the Youngstown, OH Postal Clearing Center) where both odor and airborne solvents are an issue.  It would be easier for us to use the CSF 5484 or CSF family of products on all Phenolic projects but the cost is almost twice that of the standard epoxy, and in a number of cases, this low odor product is not necessary.

Coatings testing: Both of these coatings were applied to samples of decking removed from buildings that were being remidiated.  The panels were separated by degree of corrosion ranging from very little corrosion to being corroded to the point at which the decking would be replaced rather than coated. One half of each panel was hand prepared as per SSPC- SP-2 and the two coatings were applied at the recommended film thickness.  The panels were then laboratory tested in 100% condensing humidity.  After 2000 hours, the panels showed no blistering or delamination (loss of adhesion) or other failure.

It is important to note that in 14 years and over 3500 Phenolic deck remediation projects no system that we have recommended has failed.  In those 14 years, we have supplied over 700,000 gallons of epoxies to projects involving deck remediation where the deck was exposed to and was in direct or indirect contact with phenolic insulation.

The John’s Manville projects that we have completed, the Sigma Coatings/US Coatings have been specified by architects, engineers and roof consultants.  These specifiers consider the products, application, performance and the field personnel put in place to aid the contractor in project start up.  US Coatings as a company gives a warrantee against active corrosion on every project that is completed using their coatings.

Application and repair of Roof Decking

A power broom fitted with a 100% wire brush head is used to prepare the deck to what approximates an SSPC-SP-2/3 level of cleanliness.

The deck is blown clean after power brooming. This cleans the dust and debris out of the bottom of the flutes. The phenolic foam dust is too fine to be efficiently vacuumed as it quickly clogs vacuum filters.

The airless sprayer is fitted with a dual spray nozzle which allows the web-flute-flange to all be coated at the same time including the web that is facing away from the applicator. Using the DSN greatly increases the production rate of application and reduces the amount of wasted paint caused by making too many overlaps or going back to cover missed areas.

An applicator should be able to properly coat around one full square of roof area per minute which represents 100 sq/ft of floor area and is actually 135 sq/ft of coated surface area.

The new roof insulation is immediately laid into the wet DeckGrip as the roof area is coated.

The finished application at 14-16 wet MILS. No, Yogi Bear was not taking the pictures….

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