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Safety and marine coatings

Safety and marine coatings

Coatings are capable of more than just protecting against corrosion. Though that may be their most important job, and one that keeps crews working on barges and tugboats safe from the obvious problems associated with a corroding hull, coatings are also capable of playing a wider role in making marine vessels safer places to work.

We’ve written before about how, for a fraction of a facility’s maintenance budget, safety coatings can help to cut back on workplace accidents. The same holds true for the marine market, maybe even especially so, given the tendency of surfaces constantly exposed to moisture to become slippery, the eye strain of going from a bright, sunny deck to a dark cargo hold or the especially high stakes of a fire while on the water.

Safety and marine coatings

Making marine work safer

Non-skid coatings are becoming recognized as essential in the marine market. Given that, according to OSHA, slips, trips and falls rank behind only motor vehicle accidents as the cause of workplace fatalities, it’s not hard to see why non-skid coatings are so important. Beyond simply being effective at preventing wet surfaces from becoming slippery, non-skid marine coatings need to be durable, easy to apply (especially if they’re going to be applied while on the water) and they need to retain their function even if subjected to fuel or chemical spills.

Luminescent coatings also have a lot to offer the marine market. Making the transition from sunny conditions above deck to much darker conditions below deck can strain the eyes. Often the pace of work doesn’t allow time to let the eyes adjust. But glow-in-the-dark marine coatings can illuminate obstructions both overhead and underfoot. Bulkheads, low-hanging ventilation systems and narrow walkways can all be made more visible with a solution that’s inexpensive, easy to maintain and also serves as a reliable backup in the case of a power outage. But the most important area for luminescent coatings is the leading edge of the tugboat or barge. In low-light situations, or in the case of a total power outage, an illuminated bow will give the crew and others an idea of the outline of the vessel. This can prove instrumental in avoiding accidents.

Given the potential costs of a fire while on the water, fireproof marine coatings are certainly an option for making vessels safer that should be explored. Intumescent coatings protecting a the structural steel of a vessel can make the difference between the outbreak of a small fire and completely losing the craft. If a barge’s normal operations put it at an increased risk of encountering a fire, fireproof marine coatings make obvious sense.

Ensuring that potable water tanks are lined with an NSA-approved tank lining is another essential step in looking out for the well being of crews. This ensures that the fresh water supply is safely contained and free from contaminants that could cause sickness.

Protecting the environment

Recent booms in domestic oil production have seen an increase in oil moving by barge. This influx of oil traveling our nation’s waterways makes it worthwhile to remind owners that oil leaks are not solely caused by collisions. Especially given the new composition of crude, tank linings should be the subject of intense scrutiny. If transporting fuel that was extracted by hydraulic fracturing, a barge’s oil tanks should be equal to the task, lined with a product that can withstand higher concentrations of water.

Unfortunately, the American public is all too familiar with oil-related incidents on our waterways. Don’t let an improperly lined tank be the next headline-grabbing catastrophe, talk to a coatings professional about the state of your barge’s tank linings and ask about how a marine coatings maintenance plan can help to simplify the upkeep, while protecting against costly incidents. Download our product catalog to find a reliable marine coating.

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Safety and marine coatings

Simplifying marine coatings maintenance

Marine coatings maintenance

Keeping a barge in shape to run rivers is no easy task. During its life of ferrying goods up and down waterways, a barge is constantly encountering driftwood and other debris in the water. Its hull regularly scrapes the river bottom. Its also guaranteed to spend a large amount of time moored to other barges, where a rising and falling wake leads to a lot of bumping and raking for it and its neighbors.

On its interior, the barge is subjected to regular loading and unloading of cargo which can cause impact damage in the case of dry goods, or pitting and rusting in the case of corrosion caused by liquids. On top of all that, tugboats are expected to support the living needs of a crew that spends long stints aboard while working the river.

Given the constant motion of both cargo and crew, it’s no surprise that regularly scheduled maintenance is a critical part of extending the service life of a vessel. At regular intervals, key components such as engines, pumps and generators need to be checked to make sure they’re working properly. The marine coatings that protect barges and tugboats are no exception.

Marine coatings conundrum

When it comes to tracking the life cycle of each vessel’s coating system, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Which areas of the barge or tugboat were last painted? What type of coating was used on the area? Was the deck painted with a non-skid coating? What sort of chemical resistance was required of the coatings used to line the barge’s storage tanks? Have potable water tanks been lined properly? Is the coating deep enough into its service life that it needs to be replaced before the asset is put back into service?

Now imagine you’re in charge of this routine for a fleet of barges that numbers upwards of 100. A task that required diligent work for one barge is an enormous logistical burden for an entire fleet.

Luckily, there are ways individuals in charge of marine coatings can make things easier on themselves. It’s possible to get together with a coatings manufacturer to design a coating that perfectly coincides with the other facets of a barge’s maintenance schedule. Say a barge is dry docked periodically for scheduled maintenance, a coating can be designed with exactly that intended service life. This way, a given maintenance task can also serve as a reminder that a coating’s service life is up.

US Coatings can also provide total asset analysis tracking along with its coatings. This enables us to keep tabs on every aspect of your marine coatings maintenance schedule. We can remind you when coatings were applied, what area they were applied to, the product specifications and alert you when a coating is nearing the end of its service life, for every vessel in your fleet. With digital record keeping of the fleet’s coatings maintenance schedule, it’s possible to look up when work was last done on a vessel and when it’s next scheduled to receive service. It’s our way of simplifying the way you do marine coatings maintenance.

Let’s get started

For a consultation on simplifying you marine coatings maintenance operation, get in touch with us today. We can talk coatings specifications, tracking your coatings and formulating a budget so your marine coatings are never the cause of future surprises.

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Safety and marine coatings

Tank linings in the age of hydraulic fracturing

The advent of hydraulic fracturing has brought with it rapid economic growth and the previously undreamed of promise of energy independence for the United States. It has also completely changed the way the storage and transport of crude oil is approached.

Most owners of crude oil storage tanks, and the railroad tank cars that transport it, have recognized that fracking introduced many aggressive chemical components to the crude oil that previously got along pretty well with steel. Those that haven’t come to this realization find themselves at an increased risk for the sort of corrosion and pitting of storage tanks and tank cars that invite spills and significant environmental degradation.

Tank linings in the age of hydraulic fracturing

The issue

Corrosion is the result of oxidation, which can’t occur except in the presence of oxygen and water. With traditional methods of oil extraction, some water was present in the crude oil, but usually in trace amounts and suspended in the oil where no oxygen was able to reach it.

As a result, for the vast majority of the time humans have been extracting crude oil from the earth, the storage tanks and transport vessels used to move it did not need to be lined with protective coatings. Storage tank owners could save money by not lining their tanks, with minimal risk of corrosive damage ever being a problem. To this day, it’s not unheard of to encounter companies still requesting that railcar manufacturers not line the inside of their cars.

Fracking has forced a change. Because drastically more water is used in the process of hydraulic fracturing, greater care needs to be taken to protect against corrosion. While transporting oil obtained by fracking, water and oxygen are both abundant, meaning corrosion is once again on the list of concerns for owners of storage tanks and railroad tank cars.

Not just the hotspots

Storage and transport of crude oil obtained by fracking is not just a concern for owners operating near traditional hotspots of extraction like Texas, the Dakotas and the Gulf Coast. Storage tanks are commonplace across the United States, holding newly extracted crude as it makes its way to refineries, where still more storage tanks hold it while the crude waits to be refined.

Given the current scale of fracking operations across the United States, if only ten percent of owners have not upgraded their tank linings to address this reality, there are an enormous amount of storage tanks vulnerable to pitting, corrosion and leaks.

Crude’s journey, too, has prompted concerns over the safety of transporting by rail. Some estimate that over 1 million barrels of oil are being extracted per day, and that 9 million barrels are riding the rails at any given moment. A standard railroad tank car can hold about 740 barrels.

If railcar owners want to help protect against legal action, there’s no reason the latest railcar linings shouldn’t be a part of that strategy. As a part of stricter regulatory legislation that is in the works, there should be at least some attention paid to minimum standards for railcar linings.

And then there’s the water

Fracking is a water intensive enterprise. By some estimates, somewhere between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons per year are required. Some are searching for a process to recycle this “frack water,” while others believe it’s best disposed of by pumping it into deep underground wells.

Whatever solution emerges, storage and transport of this byproduct will become an increasing concern for as long as fracking keeps up its current pace. This presents a problem. The chemical blend used in frack water is regarded as proprietary by the companies who use it.

Without knowing exactly what they’re protecting against, coatings manufacturers can’t stand by the tank linings they supply to protect assets. Certain variables make it more difficult to predict which products will be effective. If the byproduct still contains rock debris or other abrasives, for instance, an additive such as flake glass may lead to better performance.

Without knowing the exact composition of the substance these tanks are holding, coatings manufacturers cannot guarantee a given product will provide adequate protection. Companies in charge of storing and transporting this wastewater should therefore be closely investigating the tank linings they use, making sure they’re up to the task.

Tank linings systems guide

We want to simplify the process of selecting linings for both storage tanks and railroad tank cars. To do so, we’ve put together a guide complete with system selection guides, chemical resistance charts, data sheets, case studies and more. You can download it by clicking the link below.

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Safety and marine coatings

Guarding against corrosion under insulation

Corrosion under insulation can be the cause of more than just unscheduled downtime and ruined process materials. It can also result in hazardous leaks. Depending on the materials being transported in a facility, a leak could be one ignition source away from a fire that causes hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and jeopardizes hundreds or even thousands of lives.

Guarding against corrosion under insulation (CUI)

Given these high costs of CUI, it’s no surprise the corrosion industry spends millions every year trying to mitigate the problem. As we mentioned in an earlier post, a reliable, quality high temp coating is one of the most important steps in combatting the problem of CUI. That said, not all conditions are created equal when it comes to fostering the presence of CUI, and some areas and aspects of your facility should attract extra attention when it comes to inspecting for CUI. Here are a few factors that put an asset at increased risk of CUI.

Layout

The physical layout and orientation of an asset has a definite bearing on how likely it is to succumb to CUI. Because the corrosion is most often the result of an unwanted moisture buildup, places where gravity leads to moisture being channeled are naturally at a higher risk. This may occur in the elbows of piping or near attachments that provide flat surfaces or indentations for moisture to settle. For vertically oriented piping, the bottom of the system is an obvious point of concern, whereas on horizontally oriented pipe it is the underside, or the so-called “six o’clock position,” that presents the biggest threat.

This also applies to areas that, because of the layout of equipment in the facility, may experience increased levels of moisture relative to other areas. These include, process material spillover areas, areas adjacent to steam vents, spray from cooling towers, deluge systems and so on. These areas should be inspected frequently for CUI.

Environment

High operating temperatures are the conditions that lead to CUI being a consideration in the first place. While it can occur between a wide range of temperatures, it’s often said that the most susceptible range is between 120 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit, though this of course depends on the substrate and amount of moisture present.

The local climate also has a bearing on the susceptibility of equipment to CUI. Assets located outdoors in tropical or semi-tropical environments will require more frequent inspection than those in arid environments. Equipment in coastal environments should be thoroughly inspected often, and should also utilize coatings that account for the constant presence of moisture.

Maintenance

How often maintenance is performed on a facility will have a major effect on how successfully it stands up to corrosion. As mentioned earlier, a regularly scheduled coatings maintenance plan is not simply a strategy for preventing monetary setbacks from time lost to equipment out of commission or ruined materials. Facility upkeep is mandatory for ensuring the safety of staff operating near equipment that could be rendered faulty by CUI.

It is extremely important to frequently monitor the state of the insulating layer, as this is the first line of defense against the presence of moisture. Are there any obvious cracks or seams that would easily allow moisture to seep between the insulation and the substrate? Are protrusions such as valves and nozzles adequately sealed? Are there any obvious signs of damage to the insulation?

On the substrate itself, it’s important that it be protected with a high temp coating that is operating within its designated temperature range. How old is the coating? Has either it or the pipe itself exceeded its service life? If the age of the coating is uncertain, it may be a smart bet to plan on replacing it, especially if there are obvious signs of degradation.

A second opinion

For a variety of reasons, some equipment or areas of a facility will be more susceptible to CUI than others. These areas should be closely monitored and marked as eligible for risk-based inspections. If you are an engineer or facility manager interested in a second opinion from a NACE-certified coatings professional, we would be happy to conduct a free, on-site survey of your facility. Simply get in touch with us through our Request a Consultation page.

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Safety and marine coatings

The problem of corrosion under insulation

Recently we discussed the basics of high temp coatings. These coatings are often used in process facilities such as refineries, oil and gas, and petrochemical plants. One of the main uses of high temp coatings in these facilities is for the protection of pipe systems that regularly transport various materials at high heat.

In order to increase efficiency, reduce heat loss and capitalize on energy savings, these hot pipes are usually covered with a layer of insulation. This insulation is also sometimes put in place to protect personnel from being burned by these pipes. Unfortunately, it is this layer of insulation that helps to create the conditions for one of the most vexing corrosion problems in the industry, known as corrosion under insulation, or CUI.

Corrosion under insulation of steel pipes

Why it happens

CUI occurs when moisture becomes trapped in the area between the hot pipe and the thick layer of insulation surrounding it. Since this moisture is unable to escape, prolonged contact between it and the steel substrate accelerates corrosion. Whether it enters through cracks or holes in the insulation, this trapped moisture has the potential to cause rapid rusting and corrosion on the pipe’s surface.

Since the layer of insulation completely surrounds the pipe, corrosion under insulation often goes unnoticed. When the insulation is finally stripped from the pipe, either to investigate a problem or as part of a scheduled replacement, facility managers sometimes find the pipe to be completely ruined.

What to do

Because of this risk of accelerated CUI, great care is taken to make sure that the insulation surrounding a pipe is completely enclosed. Joints, terminations and other irregularities along the length of the pipe are carefully sealed. Nevertheless, moisture does penetrate insulating layers with some frequency. As a result, CUI has become something of a hot topic in process facilities. Facility managers are constantly on the lookout for the magic bullet that will eliminate the problem of CUI.

As of now, no magic solution exists for the problem of CUI. The best plan for battling the problem entails checking piping under insulation often as a part of a scheduled coatings maintenance plan, sealing insulation with care, and most importantly, choosing a high quality high temp coating.

It’s important to verify that the high temp coating you choose has been specifically designed to stand up to high temperatures and to defend against CUI. Also, that it is designed to withstand the range of temperatures the substrate will subject it to. When chosen to match these criteria, high temp coatings are the most effective method for fighting CUI currently available in process facilities.

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Safety and marine coatings

The basics of high temp 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 temp coatings.

High temp 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 temp 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.

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, but more on the issues presented by CUI in a later post. 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 temp 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.

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 temp coatings, or to browse our full line of these products, download our product catalog through the link below.

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Safety and marine coatings

Maintenance should be holding railcar coatings responsible

A railcar faithfully serves for the length of its lease and then returns to the shop for inspection. The extent of necessary repairs is assessed. It’s repaired and then blasted with an abrasive. Next, the railcar is painted, followed by a curing period. Then quality control tests are run on the car to make sure the application measures up to standards. Finally, dry film readings are taken and some environmental measurements are recorded.

This process is repeated as a part of the railcar maintenance process thousands of times for thousands of railcars in shops all over the country. This leads to a lot of quality control-related paperwork building up. It gets damaged. It gets moved. Even if the measurements are diligently recorded in the first place, the paperwork may no longer be available when the railcar returns for maintenance after five or so years.

railcar inspections

This makes it difficult to determine the cause of damage to the owner’s railcars. Was the railcar coating or lining applied improperly? Or was the product deficient? Being able to determine the cause of the problem is essential to fixing it, and avoiding costly repairs in the future. Digitized, more objective, better-organized quality control is the key to making more informed decisions about the cause of breakdowns.

It’s also key to documenting damage. If you’re an owner that leases your railcars out, you expect normal wear and tear when your cars are returned. But in the case of extensive damage, the car needs to be repaired before it can be leased to another customer. Imagine contaminants or corrosive cargo have pitted the steel in a tank car. It must be cleaned, photographed, and then readings and measurements taken for documentation. The railcar maintenance process in many shops is time-consuming, and frankly, behind the times.

Take your QC digital

Railcar coatings documentation is in need of serious overhaul. Luckily, cloud-based storage already provides a smart alternative to stacks and stacks of paper records. Digitally stored accounts of quality control readings, inspection details and photographs and descriptions of damage can then be retrieved with a few swipes of the finger.

As tablets have become smaller, more durable and less expensive, their usefulness in industrial settings has increased dramatically. Software that’s compatible with paint thickness gauges has made quality control truly objective for the first time, while reducing errors from missed reading and sloppy transcription. And because quality control apps have the capability to sync in real-time, everyone involved in a project can stay on the same page.

For coatings manufacturers, this means it’s easier for customers to hold our products accountable. Better records make it easier to pinpoint the source of a problem. When you stand behind your products, this is a very good thing.

Let’s talk

In addition to supplying railcar coatings, we’re committed to modernizing the railcar inspection process. Get in touch and let’s discuss how the digital documentation software we provide is improving owners’ inspection experience and holding manufacturers accountable for their products’ performance.

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Safety and marine coatings

The benefits of high solids coatings for railroad tank cars

According to the American Association of Railroads, there are currently over 380,000 railroad tank cars in service. The vast majority of these cars are not owned by railroads, but leased by private customers who use them to transport their products. Many of these lessees encounter a similar problem with their tank cars. It has to do with the percent solids of the coatings used to protect them. For a refresher on the percent solids of a coating, check out this post we wrote on 100% solids coatings.

railroad tank car coatings

Due to the cylindrical shape of tank cars, and gravity, it’s more difficult to achieve the desired film build on the top of the tank, often leading to an unevenly applied coating. During its service life, this top portion of the car will be prominently exposed to repeated rain and harsh sunlight. Eventually, the stress leads to a problem known as “blooming,” or rusting on the top of the tank car. “Redheads,” as cars with this problem are known in the industry, are a good indication that something went wrong during the coating application process.

This problem can be avoided by using coatings with a higher percent solids. With fewer solvents flashing off, the coating dries more quickly and it’s easier to achieve high film builds on the top of the tank. The end result is a coating that’s more evenly distributed over the entire tank car. But that’s not the only benefit of using a higher solid coating.

Coatings that contain higher solids by volume also allow a shop to purchase less material to cover a given square footage. If a typical 60 percent epoxy has a theoretical coverage rate (where no loss occurs during the application) of 190 square feet applied at 5 mils DFT, an 80 percent solids version would have a theoretical coverage rate of 260 square feet applied at 5 mils DFT. The result is 27 percent less product that’s capable of covering the same area.

Limiting VOCs

Higher solids coatings also significantly cut down on the amount of volatile organic compound (VOC) and hazardous air pollutant (HAP) byproducts. Lower levels of evaporating solvents mean fewer VOCs are released into the atmosphere, and into the shop. For large-scale operations VOCs can add up quickly, making cutting back on these substances necessary to avoid fines. Tighter regulation of VOC outputs may increase the importance of alternative choices in the near future.

Some attempt to completely take VOCs out of the equation with water-based coatings. But this approach also has its drawbacks. They take longer to cure, potentially causing backups in the shop. Properly accounted for, this strategy can be a viable solution. But like we’ve talked about before, the best solutions draw on a number of key features.

A balancing act

Ideally, the right product will offer a balance of these key features. It should have relatively high solids by volume for film build, and low VOC output to ensure that the shops where it is applied adhere to environmental standards. It should be able to be applied efficiently and in a timely manner. And of course, it must be a cost-effective solution. Click the link read more about our railcar coatings, or visit our tank linings page for more on linings.

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Safety and marine coatings

Choosing the right railcar coatings

Choosing a railcar coating

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to choosing the best coatings to protect the railcars you own or lease. So how should you know which one to choose?

When it comes to selecting the right product to protect your cars, it’s best to consider your goals for the coating. How long do you expect it to last? How much time do you expect to spend applying it? What sort of abuse do you expect it to withstand? The answers to these questions will provide a good basis for your strategy moving forward.

If you’re expecting a long life cycle for your coating, it goes without saying that a more durable product is in order. But if you know the railcar is brought in every five years for scheduled maintenance, it may not make sense to go with the most durable multi-coat finish when a sufficient, single-coat system could do the job at a lower cost.

Many shop owners worry about long curing times causing a bottleneck in their facilities. Situations like these make single-coat systems attractive. After a sandblast, the railcar can be painted and then moved on down the line, therefore avoiding longer cure times. Epoxy coatings may cure more quickly, but may not be suitable if long-term UV protection is needed.

It is especially important to consider a tank car’s intended use where linings are concerned. The longer handling times associated with baked-on phenolics may be unavoidable if product purity is a concern. Since discoloration, odor or other interactions with the coatings system are unacceptable in the transport of food-grade items or sulfuric acid, a baked-on phenolic will likely be the best bet.

The importance of choosing the correct tank car lining has increased with the prevalence of hydraulic fracturing as an energy extraction method. Since water often accompanies this method as a byproduct, care must be taken to ensure that water, settling at the bottom of the tank, does not corrode and pit the steel. When leasing a tank car, this sort of damage could substantially increase maintenance costs upon returning the car. This is a concern tank car owners have only recently had to consider. There are also significant benefits of high solids coatings for these railroad tank cars.

Choosing the right railcar coating is all about how you expect it to perform. It’s important to consider your expectations for service-life, coating application time and the intended use of the railcar. Once an owner has decided what aspects of performance are most important, then choosing the coating that will provide those benefits becomes that much easier. Visit our railcar coatings page for more information.

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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.

Safety Coatings

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.

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 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.

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