CoatingsPro Magazine

MAY 2017

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28 MAY 2017 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Inspector's Corner I ndustrial coating applications are often monitored using inspection instruments to collect data and report by hand on preformatted paper forms. Inspections are conducted to ensure work requirements are followed so that the end product performs as intended, which helps prevent the high cost of rework when coating systems fail, causing customer processes to be halted. But there are now electronic tools in the industry that offer alter- native inspections and reporting. It may be time to consider a few of these options. Pluses and Minuses Electronic inspection equipment is now provided with memory, allowing the user to transfer necessary information via paperless reports. Electronic files can be converted to PDF files, which can then be emailed to customers or posted to a file-sharing service for their review. Rather than carrying a tool pouch with an assortment of gages and a notebook to hand write notes, the inspector can carry and perform many inspections with a single handheld device. Further, enhancements of data, such as statistical analysis and photo- graphs of the work, can be included in the electronic report, greatly adding to the value and thoroughness of the inspection. ere are advantages when using electronic instruments, such as efficiency, accuracy of data reported, and completeness of reports. Another primary advantage is the increase in the speed of taking measurements. Large volumes of data points can be recorded in a fraction of the time compared to manually recording data onto a paper form. For example, ASTM D4417: Standard Test Methods for Field Measurement of Surface Profile of Blast Cleaned Steel, method B uses a depth micrometer fitted with a pointed probe. Considering the number of measure- ments that the customer may require of the blast-cleaned steel, being able to capture and report the measurements from a digital surface profile gage may be much more time and cost efficient than a method without electronic reports. is could also eliminate rewriting data points from field notes. Another advantage of electronic measurements is that the inspector can view real-time statistical data during measurements. e inspector has immediate access to the mean, standard deviation, and low and high range data points. Sub-batches can be created during the inspection to track different parts or areas of the work. Completeness and thoroughness may greatly be improved. e traditional one-page inspection report form is expanded due to the increase in the volume of data and details. A ll data points are time logged to the second they are recorded. is is particularly helpful when recording ambient conditions for consideration of time temperature curing relation- ships. For example, gages can be set to continuously record ambient conditions at intervals to provide the average temperature for calculation of the minimum recoat time. is batch information is then automatically transferred to the report. Time logged data with time stamped photographs provide a visual timeline of the work performed. If a smart device and the gage have their internal clock times synchronized, then time stamped photographs taken during measure- ments will correlate exactly with the gage readings in the report. ere are a few potential disad- vantages of using these instruments. For example, outliers are also recorded during inspections, which then have to be deleted later or statistical results will be skewed. Additionally, gage batch numbers need to be recorded to be inserted into the batch 's respec- tive report. A lso, the tools have to be handled carefully so that they aren't damaged during field use. ere are interesting outcomes of using electronic instrumentation to create paperless reports. More data is generated, and it is provided in a legible and detailed report. Because of that, application data can be more closely examined. For the inspector, this generates an even greater awareness and understanding of the work and how it complies with the customer's Photos courtesy of Vulcan Painters, Inc. By Cor y Allen, Director of Quality Systems for Vulcan Painters, Inc. New Tricks: Paperless Inspection Tools

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