Industrial Coatings Inspection is the inspection of surface preparation, paint application, dry film thickness surveys and monitoring of environmental conditions prior to, during application and through the curing stages of the coating system(paint). Industrial paints have come a long way since their inception after the first world war. Now industrial coatings can protect surfaces against damage caused from exposure to chemicals, sea water, extreme heat, abrasion and the effects of the suns UV. The problem is that now these paints have very stringent requirements for application. Anchor profile, surface cleanliness, air temperature, substrate temperature and dew point are all critical to achieving an effective coating system. If industrial paint is applied without regard for just one of the above criteria, failures can be catastrophic. I’ve seen pin-point corrosion breach a vessel in half the time it would have taken if they hadn’t painted it at all. Simply because it was painted without consideration for the above noted criteria.
The tools involved in this type of inspection are either a wheeling sycrometer (manual) or digital. This tells you air temperature, dew point and wet and dry bulb temperatures. Surface temperature gages or infrared surface gage. Profile gage which tells you the depth of the surface profile created by abrasive blasting (sand blasting). Film thickness gages to measure dry film thickness of the paint after it’s dried. And finally, a Holiday Tester which is an instrument to identify and located any pinholes in the applied coating. The reason I’m mentioning these instruments is because when you are trying to sell this service, I can almost guarantee that one of the above instruments will come up in the discussion and you will be expected to know what it is and what it’s used for. Sometimes you will be selling this service to a painting contractor and the service should be sold on the common sense that would be applied to the specification requirements by the inspector. When selling this service to a steel contractor who is hiring a painting company, the focus of the sale should be on the coordination skills of the inspector to ensure the coating application is done right, and within the schedule dictated by the steel fabricator. When selling this service to the end user or the owner you must sell the service on the extensive experience and the ability of the inspector to maintain the highest level of quality and yet keep the job on track and schedule.
Magnified view of a grit blasted surface