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STEEL 2019

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STEEL SURFACES 2019 COATINGSPROMAG.COM 20 The Inspector's Assistant: Using Color to Confirm Thickness By David A. Hunter, NACE Protective Coating Specialist at Pond & Company S ometimes the simplest solution is overlooked, decried as too easy, too hard, or too obvious. Sometimes the simple solutions will be blocked by a party that might have a vested interest in not having the simple solution. W hy? I got a piece of advice once from a supervisor of mine that I feel becomes more valuable every day I work: "A lways understand, in any negotiation, how the other person gets paid. If you understand that, then many of the items that motivate or block a deal, or your desired outcome, become way more obvious." How does this relate to coatings? Coatings inspec- tion can be a tedious job/process. ere are ways to make it simpler, but sometimes they are overlooked or blocked by people who have a vested interest in not making it simpler. With many competing items to be looked after in construc- tion inspection and maintenance, coatings inspection work is often overlooked altogether, is simply spot verified, or is verified after the fact by personnel who often have little or no coatings experience. On top of that, if the inspection person- nel do not have coatings experience, they are sometimes — more often than not — burdened with multiple respon- sibilities that allow them only cursory or spot inspection opportunities after the fact. For example, during a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Bridge Painting Materials & Inspection Course at a major U.S. state Department of Transportation (DOT), the inspection personnel brought up an insightful question: "Well, that is all fine and good to gather all of this informa- tion on the project, such as temperatures, relative humidity, the level of surface preparation, etc., but we have multiple bridge projects going on, and we are in charge of all construc- tion inspection responsibilities on multiple projects that are 25 miles [40.2 km] apart. How do you expect us to get this information when we are not visiting any particular jobsite potentially for several days?" I thought that was a really great question, and surely, it could be relegated to underfunded state construction projects where inspection monies were always tight. But I was wrong. A second example: A major oil company that has many offshore platforms in Southeast Asia requested a training of their inspection personnel on the use of coating instruments. To my surprise, the exact same question came up despite no lack of funds! With many platforms, multiple projects spread out among them, a great distance separating the platforms, and additional mechanical integrity responsibilities, the inspectors had the same problems. How were they going to be able to verify all of the necessary inspection items with limited access, time, and knowledge? Simple Solutions So how can we help this problem from the ground up? ere is one item that can be specified, which can help inspection personnel verify in the field compliance with the specifica- tion. at is dry film thickness (DFT). e Society for Protective Coatings (SSPC) Paint Application (PA) 2, Procedure for Determining Conformance to Dr y Coating ickness Requirements is often specified as a method using magnetic gages to verify compliance with the specification with regard to dry film thickness. As part of the standard, the requirement uses a base unit area of 100 square feet (9.3 m²), selected at random, and then uses multiples of the base unit area applied to the total square feet of the appli- cation to be inspected. W hat does "at random" mean? Is a random area more truly the areas that are accessible at the time of inspec- tion, given the aforementioned standard? A nd if the coating contractor knows ahead of time what is going to be inspected, can procedures be modified to help those random areas pass? (T his goes back to the earlier point of learning how people get paid.) e standard also mentions that dry film thickness readings are not supposed to be taken within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of edges due to geometric edges affecting gage readings. is highlights another problem. Most coatings, as they dry and cure, go from a liquid to a solid and shrink, pulling away from edges and discontinu- ities. If the dry film thickness standard specifically instructs Most coatings, as they dry and cure, go from a liquid to a solid and shrink, pulling away from edges and discontinuities. Steel Surfaces

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