Overcoming the winter challenge

Paul Boughton

Joao Azevedo reveals how new preparation technology is paving the way for enhanced coating operations - even in challenging environments.

The time and quality challenges facing those managing offshore projects in harsh environments have never been higher - with the painting and coatings window particularly narrow in northern Europe. Here, the downtime associated with maintenance can be costly, with the process of coating during typical offshore projects being a relatively small component but often a disproportionate cost of the overall project.

The combination of weather delays, the disturbing effects of abrasive blasting during surface preparation stages and the need for re-blasting or re-painting when the agreed coating standard has not been achieved all add up over the course of the project. Therefore, enabling year-round coating work where required has become increasingly important, particularly in Europe where plunging temperatures in harsh environments often prohibit or delay vital work on these projects.

Working with its key customers, the technical team at Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings EMEA, based at Bolton, Greater Manchester, has researched and developed a cold curing expansion of its surface and humidity tolerant epoxy technology.

The new technology has the same broad field of application as previous generations, covering its use in immersion as well as atmospheric service conditions in offshore, marine, industrial and construction sectors.

The technology offered by Dura-Plate 301W brings cold curing down to 0°C and provides an extended recoatability of up to six months - two important extensions.

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One of the most impressive impacts of the technology is the way it has transformed the perception about the use of ultra-high pressure (UHP) water jetting as the preferred surface preparation method. This method has a number of advantages, namely reduced environmental impact and better surface cleanliness. However, it also poses three challenges: the steel surface gets damp; flash rust quickly develops before coating application; and no surface profile is generated. Conventional coatings struggle to cope with such challenges.

Dura-Plate 301 addresses each of the three challenges of UHP. It has become a symbol of the safe adoption of UHP for high-durability projects since starting its expanded global use more than a decade ago.

UHP water jetting, offering reduced health and safety dangers compared to abrasive blasting - and potentially, reduced labour costs - is particularly relevant for the maintenance of offshore structures, refineries, storage tanks, marine vessels, ballast tanks and steel bridges.

The cost of downtime on maintenance has long been an issue in many offshore European locations, with shortened seasons for coating depending on how low temperatures have fallen in winter. The Dura-Plate 301W offers a longer painting calendar, and with it, increased efficiencies and reduced overall project costs.

The advantages for new-build projects speak volumes, with comparative savings against abrasive blasting including: reduced chamber operating costs; fewer weather constraints; a reduced environmental impact; and reduced labour costs.

Approvals from all recognised international bodies have been granted for the suite of Dura-Plate 301 products, including Norsok, Navsea/US Navy and the IMO. The range also has the world's first IMO PSPC approval for UHP water jetting and a zinc-free shop primer. Full approvals are expected soon.

For more information at www.engineerlive.com/iog

Joao Azevedo is an oil & gas market director for Sherwin-Williams Protective & Marine Coatings. www.sherwin-williams.com/protectiveEMEA

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