Optimising plating and paint adhesion on marine wind turbines

1st February 2013

Marine wind turbines are particularly susceptible to corrosion as a result of widely variable weather conditions and constant salt-spray. Their surface finish obviously has to be tough enough to cope with this environment and ensure a maximum working life.
Marlec Engineering Co Ltd's ‘Rutland 913 Windcharger’ is designed for use on both coastal and ocean going yachts – is a product well known to many sailors around the UK and overseas.
The 380mm high by 230mm wide tail fin of the 913 model is especially exposed to the elements. To maximise corrosion protection, the laser-cut 2.5mm thick mild-steel fin is zinc yellow plated and then powder coated. However, the company found that some fins operating in particularly harsh weather were suffering from paint breakdown around the sharp outside edges and were being returned for re-finishing. It was obvious that the powder coating and the underlying plating around the edge areas were deteriorating prematurely.
After investigating the problem, Production Manager, Wayne Huckle, decided to introduce vibratory finishing as part of the production process specifically to ‘edge-break’ the sharp corners to improve plating and coating adhesion. After production trials in conjunction with vibratory finishing specialists, PDJ Vibro, Marlec installed a PDJ ‘EVP 800’ vibratory finishing machine.
The company reports that employing the PDJ machine for edge-breaking has provided a much better surface key for both the plating and subsequent powder coating of the outside edges of the tail fin – optimising paint adhesion and corrosion protection.
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