Materials Performance

NOV 2014

Materials Performance is the world's most widely circulated magazine dedicated to corrosion prevention and control. MP provides information about the latest corrosion control technologies and practical applications for every industry and environment.

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42 NOVEMBER 2014 MATERIALS PERFORMANCE NACE INTERNATIONAL: VOL. 53, NO. 11 COATINGS & LININGS any other raw material used in the formula; rather, they were chunks of what appeared to be a heavy paper such as what is used for packaging one of the raw materials. When we interviewed the plant man- ager and a couple of the workers, the truth came out. During manufacturing of the product, one of the new employees on the production f loor was asked to add a raw material to the batch by "throwing" a bag in . The production super visor did not explain to this new worker that the bag should be opened and the contents emp- tied into the batch tank—not just thrown in, bag and everything. While this rookie mistake was unfortu- nate, it should not have created much of a problem in the finished product as all paint was required to be filtered at filling. As is the case with many problems, this one was the result of multiple missteps. In this instance, in an effort to speed up the filling process of this one batch, another worker had decided to remove the filter bag near the end of the canning process so the crew could finish their day's work on time. This was obviously a bad decision, given the chunks of paper bag in the batch of epoxy. The result was a delayed project and a neg- ative experience for an otherwise satisfied customer. Purple Haze on Hot Steel—or 'Yes We Can' There are times when a salesperson best serves the coatings industry by just saying "no." There are simply some projects where either the standard products in a manufacturer's line do not meet the perfor- mance requirements of the job, or there are other manufacturers' products that are, in fact, better for the intended service. Sales is a game of numbers, however, and the pres- sure to generate revenue and provide excel- lent service to good customers sometimes clouds decision making. The following example is from a direct personal experi- ence when I made the mistake of saying "yes we can." In the early 1980s, my company was the selected supplier of protective coatings for a major new construction project for a large wastewater treatment plant on the West Coast. This was a multi-year project and we were challenged at times to meet the product requirements and schedule for this project. For the most part, the project progressed well—especially with regard to the main coating systems submitted; such as tank linings, exterior finish coats, and architectural paints. Th ere was on e small section in th e sp e cif ication , howe ver, that was over - looked at the submittal phase. There were six exhaust stacks to be built, ~1.2 m (4 ft) in diameter by 12.2-m (40-ft) tall and all located close together in a line. The speci- fication for these stacks listed a high-heat silicone finish paint. This high-heat sys- tem is normally seen in specifications, and one of our high-heat silicone aluminum finishes was submitted for this portion of the work. All of this should have worked just fine, except that we received a phone call during the project and were told the city 's architect was looking at the plant during construction and decided he now wanted these six stacks to make some sort of " visual statement." Even though this was a wastewater treatment plant, and not really something that would have a lot of public exposure, the architect's desire was to make thi s a design er showcase of sorts. The architect and contractor asked if our standard high-heat finish could be made in a range of six color shades, from light blue to purple. The visual impact of the stacks, for the architect's eye, would be stunning! This would have been a good time for us to admit that we had never att empt ed to make c o lored hi g h-h eat paint, and just say no. Instead, we took the challenge (and the order) and produced a small quantity of finish paint in each of the si x c o l o r s s e l e c t e d . T h e st a c k s w e re painted, the colors matched the architect's vision, and ever yone involved was quite h a ppy w ith th e l o o k of th e s e f re sh ly painted stacks. That is, until they were fired up. While our plant was able to produce the small batches of tinted high-heat paint, no one ever thought to see what the paint would look like once it was heated. The colorants used were not suitable for expo- sure to hi g h t emp erature s, and w h en heated in excess of 205 °C (400 °F), they all turned a burnt umber (brown) color. Of course, the surfaces of the stacks were not uniformly heated; therefore the painted stacks soon turned multiple shades of brown and were very unsightly. Needless to say, the city's architect was not happy. Our company suffered embarrassment, as well as a significant financial loss on the rework. The engineer found suitable high-heat paint from a different manufacturer, and the stacks were repainted in the desired six colors at our expense. Conclusions There is an old adage that states, "if something can go wrong, it probably will." This is certainly the case in the industrial coatings business, especially when eco- nomic considerations or project demands require a quick judgment call from the paint supplier. Manufacturers go to great lengths to get things right and to formulate and test products that are suitable for the intended service. The cases discussed in this article are just a few examples where things went wrong despite good intentions. Project failures or poor performance are never acceptable. It is incumbent upon all parties—the owner, engineer, manufac- turer, contractor, and inspector—to be dili- gent in asking the right questions and expecting nothing short of the best-quality products and workmanship for any given project. Tis article is based on CORROSION 2013 paper no. 2863, presented in Orlando, Florida. RUSSELL SPOTTEN is a senior consultant at Corrosion Probe, Inc., PO Box 1151, Templeton, CA 93465, e-mail: spottenr@ He has more than 35 years of experience in the industrial coatings market. He has been an active member in NACE International since 1981 and previously served on the board of the NACE Channel Islands Section. He is a N A C E - c e r t i f i e d S e n i o r C o r r o s i o n Technologist and Protective Coatings Specialist (#6107).

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