applying industrial coatings with a spray gun

Achieve extreme durability with industrial coating

Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine the best coating system for an application due to the extremely wide range of options. This counts also for industrial coatings, which are applied on goods during manufacture, or applied in industrial environments.

What all industrial coatings have in common is that their main purpose is rather protective than aesthetic. Naturally, sometimes the looks are important and different textures and colours are available. Decoration remains, however, a secondary purpose.

Here we will introduce several types of industrial coatings and later on focus on industrial maintenance coatings for offshore, tanks and industrial pipelines.

The many faces of industrial coatings

The coverage of industrial coatings is wide; they are applicable in many industries, have different application methods and properties. Therefore, we collected the most common industrial coatings and explained the basics.

Aerospace and aviation coatingsThese include coatings for civil, commercial and military aircraft and helicopters. A niche of this market also includes coatings for space rockets and satellites.
Automotive coatings and vehicle refinishes Automotive coatings covers all coatings applied on vehicles during production. Vehicle refinishes for their part refer to those suitable for vehicle repairs.
Can coatingsThese are coatings of low thickness and high degree of protection. They belong to the group of packaging coatings due to the fact that they are applicable on the insides and outsides of food and beverage cans. These coatings, especially the once for can insides, must be approved for food safety.
Coil coatings Coatings for metal sheets eases production of many goods and maximises efficiency. Coil coatings are applied on large metal (often steel) sheets which are later on used for many purposes such as vehicle parts, architectural components and white goods.
General industrialThis term refers to mainly metal coatings which have a wide range of uses. However, it also includes industrial coatings for wood, glass and plastic. The term includes all industrial coatings which do not fall under any other classification. It thus, consists of coatings for agriculture, furniture, power generation, cargo and storage containers as well as construction equipment and many more.
High performance coatings These are also known as protective coatings and they include many different types such as corrosion and chemical resistant coatings which may also be abrasion resistant and waterproof.
Intumescent and fire resistant coatings These two coating types contribute to fire safety by being fire retardant, slowing down the burning process in case of fire. The intumescent paints expand when the temperature rises and form a foam-like flame damping surface which insulates the structure from the heat and flames, The fire resistant coatings, for their part release flame damping gas when subject to high heat.
Plastic coatings Coatings for plastic have special design which allows coating plastic substrates, such as car bumpers, dashboards and grills, plastic toys and electronics.
Marine coatingsMarine coatings include topside, deck and antifouling paints for commercial, private and military water vessels such as boats, yachts, cruising ships and tankers. Especially the foul release coatings have restrictions due to their high VOC (volatile organic compounds) content.
Wood finishes This term covers all industrial wood coatings these include for example kitchen and bathroom furniture, office fittings, general furniture and industrial joinery. Not that the industrial wood finishes are different from the do-it-yourself wood care coatings.

It also extends the product life spanNot only are the industrial coatings available for almost any surface and purpose, but they also come in two different forms; namely powder and liquid. Even though liquid paints have a foothold in the market, the technique of powder coating has a growing position in the industry. The powders namely, allow using solvent-free products in the workplace, and it speeds up the production process.

As the main purpose of industrial coatings is to increase durability, they are also referred to as protective coatings. They thus, protect objects and surfaces from external hazards such as UV radiation, humidity and saltwater.

The industrial protective coatings include for example the following:

  • Antifouling coating;
  • Chemical resistant coating;
  • Anti corrosion coating;
  • High temperature coating (such as industrial pipe coating)

Industrial coating standards in the UK

Obviously high performance is required from these coatings. Therefore, several standards count for industrial coatings in terms of the coating properties such as chemical and abrasion resistance. However, coatings are also chemical products and must meet some environmental standards. The environmental legislation continues to heavily impact the industrial coatings market. Some of these coatings are also strictly bond to rules and regulations.

The regulations are often concerned with environmental and user safety regarding product application and emissions. Some coatings involve requirements due to the safety they provide; fire prevention products for example. The industrial coatings also must meet the standards of corrosion protection due to the fact that preventing corrosion is the main task of many of these coatings.

These regulations and standards may function as cornerstones for deciding on the best coating for a specific application.

Make sure to pick the right industrial coating product!

It is not always easy to pick the best product from the many available. In some industries it however, is almost crucial to get it right from the start. Those industries include power, oil and gas.

How are they different from other industries?

The main reason for this is the often limited access and window of opportunity when it comes to maintenance. These locations are sometimes offshore, meaning that a special team must be sent for maintenance. The locations, additionally are constantly at work which indicates that the maintenance should not stop the process.

For instance, getting a crew on an oil platform to carry out maintenance is a major issue. The crew has to comply to health and safety training. At the same time a shutdown of operations is not possible or only for a limited amount of time. This results in far less than ideal conditions for surface preparation and coating application.

Industrial maintenance coatings for repairs

Industrial maintenance coatings refer to those applied after the initial industrial coatings. In other words, the coatings are applied as part of the maintenance of the surface. Most of these coatings are designed to repair damage caused by corrosion or to protect from corrosion.

The coatings, that frequently require industrial maintenance, are:

  • Offshore oil & gas anti corrosion coating
  • Internal tank  & containment coatings
  • Industrial pipeline coatings

These coatings however, often are located in places that suffer from the issues mentioned above.

So, a few things to consider: The most important factors in choosing an industrial maintenance coating are “on-time” product availability and required product performance. Thus, the questions to ask yourself are:

  • How long should the coating last?
  • When can the next maintenance take place?
  • What is the available budget for the maintenance?

Offshore coatings

Splash zone areas of offshore platforms face severe conditions as they are continuously exposed to UV radiation, constant wetting- and drying cycles and impact and abrasion caused by floating debris, hurricanes and even ice floats. Note that, if left uncoated, the corrosion rate of steel in splash zone areas will easily amount to over 250 microns/year.

Steel structures of power plants and offshore platforms therefore need protection against corrosion. The most offshore coatings are anti corrosive as a standard due to the high need for protection. An offshore coating system typically consist of several layers which form a barrier against the penetration of water and contaminants through the coatings to the underlying steel structures. However, the paint systems function ideally only when they are applied well and when proper surface preparation is carried out.

You can find more information on corrosion types and anti corrosion coatings in our article dedicated to the topics.

Industrial pipe coating

Also pipelines frequently require maintenance especially when it comes to coatings. The pipes most often are of steel or another ferrous metal, which makes them vulnerable for corrosion.

The main problem for the pipelines is Corrosion Under Insulation. What makes it problematic, is that it happens under the insulation- and coating layer right on the metal surface and cannot always be detected on time. Therefore, it is crucial to choose for the best possible industrial pipeline coating.

The big 3 industrial coatings manufacturers

In the UK, the industrial paint manufacturers include the world  leaders Sherwin Williams, AkzoNobel and PPG. Additionally, other well known companies such as RPM, Jotun, DuPont, Valspar, Hempel and Benjamin Moore are operating within the market.

AkzoNobel | International industrial coatings

logo of aczonobel industrial coatings

AkzoNobel is one of the worldäs leading industrial coating manufacturers

AkzoNobel produces industrial coatings which are mainly suitable for steel, aluminium and plastic.

  • Packaging coatings for food and drinks
  • Coil and extrusion coatings for metal building products, home appliances and automotive components.
  • Specialty plastic finishes for consumer electronics, cosmetic packaging and lifestyle products

And offshore coatings

AkzoNobel produces also protective coatings for offshore platforms and marine applications. These coatings fall under the brand International.

PPG industrial coatings

PPG focuses on developing innovative industrial coating which increase durability even faster. The company offers these high-performance coatings for example for the following industries.

logo of ppg industrial coatings

  • Wood finishes
  • Coating for agriculture and construction equipment
  • Automotive coatings for parts and accessories
  • General industrial coatings
  • Paint for transportation vehicles

Sherwin-Williams industrial coatings

Sherwin-Williams is the world leader in protective coatings and infrastructure protection technology. The infrastructure coatings cover the most of the assortment, however, it is not the only segment, Sherwin-Williams is active in.

logo of sherwin williams industrial coatings

For example the following coatings are part of the company’s product portfolio.

  • Fire protection coatings
  • Marine coatings
  • Water and other tank coatings
  • Coatings for steel fabrication

Maintenance coating services in the UK

Industrial coatings, especially the maintenance coatings are usually applied by a professional party with appropriately trained employees. These companies usually sepsialise either in general industrial coatings or offshore coatings.

You have several options if you are in need of  industrial coating services in the UK.

We’ll introduce a couple of them.

Offshore painting services, Liverpool

The company operates country wide and specialises in maintenance coating services for:

  • Offshore wind farm substations,
  • Wind turbine transition pieces,
  • Onshore and offshore wind turbines,
  • Oil and gas installations,
  • Biomass plants,
  • Nuclear plants.

Countrywide Commercial and Industrial Coatings, Kent

These professionals are available for projects of all sizes around London and in the Southern counties. They carry out bigger projects country wide.

Their industrial coating services include:

  • Specialist coatings
  • Industrial floor coating
  • Epoxy Systems
  • Industrial pipeline painting
  • Roof and floor coating
  • Tank coatings

It’s more than coating…

  • Gutter sealant and cleaning
  • High pressure cleaning
  • Blast cleaning
  • Exterior refurbishment