In our second podcast episode, Performance in Coating technology, we discussed the importance of formulation, testing, and performance in the coatings industry through a conversation with Jennifer Gleisberg, Senior Manager of Performance Coatings at tnemec.
In the world of industrial coatings, the pursuit of high-performance solutions is a critical endeavor. The durability and longevity of coatings can have a profound impact on the preservation of assets, reducing maintenance costs, and ensuring safety.
Coating formulations are complex combinations of various ingredients, including resins, curing agents, extenders, additives, color pigments, and solvents. These ingredients come from different suppliers, offering numerous options for formulators. Each formulation has a unique set of properties, application characteristics, and performance attributes. High-quality ingredients are essential for coatings manufacturers to ensure their products can withstand accelerated testing and real-world applications. Quality ingredients are the foundation upon which performance coatings are built.
Testing for Performance:
The key to assessing the quality of coatings lies in comprehensive testing. Jennifer emphasized the importance of both accelerated and real-world testing. Accelerated testing, such as UV exposure testing, is designed to put extra stress on coatings to cause premature degradation. These tests are standardized and controlled, allowing for comparisons between products. Accelerated testing can also be correlated with real-world performance data, providing insights into how coatings will perform over time.
Jennifer mentioned ASTM D 4141 for EMMAQUA (equatorial mount for mirrors for acceleration with water) as a widely used outdoor accelerated weathering test. This test emulates extended sunlight exposure and correlates with years of average South Florida radiation. Understanding the correlation between accelerated testing and real-world conditions is crucial for making informed decisions about coating selection.
Real-World Case Histories:
In addition to testing, real-world case histories play a significant role in assessing coating performance. These case studies provide invaluable data on how coatings fare in actual project environments. Third-party inspections and written reports are essential to validate the longevity and performance of coatings.
Jennifer mentioned that TNEMEC prioritizes obtaining third-party inspections and reports for coatings that have been in service for 15 to 20 years or more. This approach ensures transparency and trust in the coatings' performance claims.
Photo courtesy of Florida Department of Transportation
Lifecycle Cost Analysis:
Jennifer emphasized that the true value of coatings goes beyond their upfront cost. A comprehensive lifecycle cost analysis considers factors such as material costs, labor, equipment, supplies, environmental impacts, asset downtime, and maintenance. By evaluating the cost over the expected lifespan of the coating, stakeholders can make informed decisions that may result in significant savings in the long run.
A key takeaway is that coating selection should align with the asset's environment and the desired lifespan. High-quality coatings may have a higher initial cost but can prove cost-effective over time by minimizing maintenance requirements.
While TNEMEC is renowned for its water tank coatings, they also play a significant role in architectural applications. These include stadiums, metal buildings, canopies, airport structures, and architecturally exposed structural steel. Whether for new projects or repaints, TNEMEC's focus on performance remains consistent.
The world of coatings is one where performance, durability, and cost-effectiveness intersect. Formulation, testing, and performance are essential aspects that drive the development and selection of high-performance coatings. Jennifer Gleisberg's insights from TNEMEC shed light on the rigorous processes involved in ensuring coatings can withstand the test of time, ultimately protecting valuable assets and reducing long-term maintenance costs. The coatings industry continues to evolve, providing innovative solutions that offer both performance and sustainability, making it a vital field for a wide range of applications.
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