By: Brad Tarr, Chesterton Sales Manager
Equipment reliability plays a vital role in plant performance and profitability. Industrial coatings provide a long term, cost-effective solution to protect your investment, increase the service life of your equipment & infrastructure, and help prevent irreparable damage & costly shutdowns. With the assessment and understanding of coating applications, the products available, and the correct implementation process, the opportunities to utilize industrial coating systems are limitless.
What are Industrial Coatings?
Industrial coatings are designed and specially formulated for their protective properties. They are composite materials that consist of a resin, a hardener, and a reinforcement. Epoxy and Urethane are the most common polymers used in coatings and linings as they are both durable and provide excellent chemical resistance. Specific applications can use both Epoxy and Urethane together to create a unique hybrid coating system. A very hard material—ceramic, glass, quartz, aggregate, among others—or a combination of materials that vary in size—powder, flakes, various sized beads, etc.—reinforce the polymers.
The different materials, sizes, and ratios used will change the functional and protective properties of the coating. Identifying the correct coating to use is critical to ensure strong performance, as the application parameters will impact the product selection. Not all industrial coatings are created equal, so it is crucial to use a reputable manufacturer who offers high-quality products that provide a reliable, long-term solution.
Look for coating systems that offer 100% solids and have very little or no VOCs—Volatile Organic Compounds—and odors. These products are safer to use and resist permeation. Furthermore, choose a manufacturer that offers specialty coatings with surface tolerant properties, and that has a variety of product offerings for several different, demanding applications.
How Do Industrial Coatings Protect Industrial Assets?
The engineering and composition of industrial coatings allows them to withstand severe process conditions, whereas bare metal or concrete surfaces cannot. A coated surface will always outperform one that is left untreated. Industrial coatings form an impermeable barrier that can withstand harsh service requirements between the application surface and its surrounding environment. Abrasive wear, chemical exposure, corrosion, erosion, high pressure & velocity, and heavy impact abrasion from large solids are all contributing factors to significant damage during the lifespan of equipment & infrastructure.
The added strength of industrial coatings will extend the life of your critical equipment. Plus, industrial coatings minimize normal wear and tear. The coatings prevent excessive damage seen with long term exposure in severe-duty services and help to avoid expensive repair & parts replacement. Industrial coatings are also a more cost-effective alternative to exotic alloys. They offer the same (or even larger) level of protection and longevity at a fraction of the cost.
Countless Industries Use Industrial Coatings
A wide variety of industries can implement industrial coatings, such as:
Potable Water and Wastewater Treatment
Food and Beverage
Many industries use coatings for a range of implementations, as well, including industrial pumps, valves, piping, mixers & agitators, tank linings, and floor coatings. For example, an entity may use pumps, valves, and piping in aggressive or harsh slurry applications that can wreak havoc on uncoated equipment. Companies can coat new equipment to prevent damage, and coatings can also be applied to restore worn-out equipment to extend lifespans. Studies show that high performance, thin-film coatings can even restore the efficiency in refurbished pumps, and can produce slightly improved flow efficiency in new pumps.
Source: A.W. Chesterton Company®
Some specialty coatings are even FDA approved for use in a variety of food and beverage applications. Additionally, industrial coatings are frequently used as secondary containment to prevent safety-related issues, such as spills and leaks. In simpler applications, we see industrial coatings on floors and walkways in locker rooms and bathrooms for aesthetic appeal. You can also use industrial coatings in everyday MRO activities, such as:
Fixing Cracks and Holes in Floors
Eliminating Slip, Trip, and Fall Hazards
Patching Active Leaks
If emergency leak repair on valve bodies and piping is necessary, workers typically use industrial coatings. There are countless simple and complex applications for industrial coatings due to its strength and versatility.
The Importance of Coatings With Concrete and Metal Surfaces
Industrial coatings adhere to a variety of materials. However, we typically see them used on concrete and metal surfaces. Concrete and metal surfaces degrade over time (speed depends on the environment and service application), especially when left untreated. Concrete coatings protect the concrete from physical and chemical attacks. They provide a barrier to isolate the concrete from its environment, protecting it from continuous chemical exposure, erosive wear, abrasion, and impact damage.
You can repair damaged or attacked concrete using a composite coating. It is possible to build back up low spots, curbs, pads, and pitches to drains. Furthermore, you can repair machinery footwork and bases. These repairs may require a top-coat, using another coating product, to guard the repair against environmental factors or to create the desired finish—non-slip, high visibility, etc.
On metal surfaces, coatings restore older equipment by resurfacing worn areas when replacement is too costly or not an option. Industrial coating systems include metal repair and rebuilding technology products when critical tolerances need to be maintained. Certain metal repair products are, however, machinable. This unique feature allows for machining at a future date after application to higher tolerances. Industrial coatings will extend the life of critical equipment by adding additional layers of protection. Abrasion and impact-resistant coatings essentially act as a “sacrificial barrier” designed with improved materials, that provide advanced protection over the base metal material. Ceramic beads and flakes reinforce these products. They can handle extremely high wet and dry slurries with high solids concentration.
Chemically resistant coatings function great in extremely corrosive conditions at high temperatures and pressures. Corrosion and erosion resistant coatings provide moderate chemical resistance, preserve critical tolerances, and prevent attacks from occurring. Some coating products offer Fast-Cure and surface tolerant properties for a quick turnaround on both concrete and metal surfaces. Emergency patching in wet or fully submerged applications can be performed in a matter of minutes or hours to avoid equipment shutdowns.
The Proper Application of Industrial Coatings
When applying industrial coatings, surface preparation is the most critical step. Improper surface preparation attributes to an estimated 60%-80% of coating failures.
Be sure the surface is clean and decontaminated before applying an industrial coating. Then, begin by removing any damaged or loose concrete or metal. Follow this up with high-quality cleaners and degreasers to remove grease and oil residue. Lastly, create a surface profile. All of these steps lead to proper adhesion for your industrial coating. Moreover, this preparation is critical to extending the coating's performance over the life of the equipment. Although this preparation often comprises the highest cost in a given project, it will have the single greatest impact on overall performance and longevity. Cutting corners in this step will lead to a significantly reduced service life and problems down the road.
Source: A.W. Chesterton Company®
You can apply industrial coatings with a variety of methods depending on the surface or piece of equipment. When applying, you can use a trowel, roller, or brush. For more precise applications, such as pump casings and impellers, spraying allows for thin, uniform coverage.
Estabrook’s Industrial Coating Expertise
Estabrook is proud to offer our customers unique coating solutions for all industrial coating applications, including those that may be difficult or demanding. Chesterton ARC Industrial Coatings are durable, reliable, and safe. Chesterton offers the highest quality premium products in the industry and has a proven track record of improving critical equipment and infrastructure. Estabrook can assist you with coating applications at your facility and can spray thin film coatings on new or repaired equipment in our shop.
Our team can help assess your equipment and infrastructure to determine the correct coating system that meets the needs of your application. Estabrook’s Repair Staff will inspect, clean, and treat your worn and expended equipment before applying the coating system to ensure effective adhesion and a long-lasting solution. Reach out today to find out how Estabrook can assist you with your Industrial coating needs, no matter the application, scope, or challenge.
Interested in working with Estabrook on a project? Please contact us today.