While the world’s largest energy and pipeline companies produce and transport petroleum products around the globe, one specialized manufacturer is playing a vital role to ensure pipelines and underground structures are the safest they can possibly be: Denso North America.
We at Palisade Coatings are very proud to be one of Denso’s certified applicators for over a decade.
Denso produces protective coatings that prevent corrosion in underground pipelines.
While protective coatings may seem like a small, niche business, Denso is a world leader, global supplier, and environmental success story.
Roll back to the United Kingdom in 1883, when the company was founded by Paul Winn, an entrepreneur who imported and exported products from soda crystals to bathroom fittings. When he and his partner Frank Coales discovered a great product from Germany that could prevent pipe corrosion, they achieved record sales, and a few years later, acquired the rights to begin manufacturing it in London.
Now, over 140 years later, the company’s innovative coatings protect the most important underground pipeline systems and structures around the world, with manufacturing operations in the UK, USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
As a privately held family company, five generations of the Winn family have chaired the business over its lifetime, with the company’s previous chair, David Winn, having been granted an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II before he passed away in 2020.
About Denso Protal 7200
We recently spoke with Trevor Kleijnen, Denso’s Technical Field Representative, about Denso Protal 7200, Denso’s flagship product for underground structures. Denso 7200 is the coating used almost exclusively here at Palisade.
As Kleijnen explains, “Steel pipe, especially underground, naturally corrodes when exposed to the elements. To prevent this, we coat it with an inert epoxy to stop water and air getting to the surface of the carbon steel. That way it does not deteriorate and eventually destroy the steel.”
Application Matters: 3 Critical Factors
As Palisade’s team can attest, there are three critical factors for consistent application of Denso Protal 7200: Preparation, Environment and Precision.
Application of Denso Protal 7200 starts with careful preparation of the metal surface. Interestingly, this is not to smooth the pipe, but rather to clean it, and then make it rougher, or as Kleijnen puts it, “to create an anchor profile for adhesion.”
It turns out that a precisely textured roughness actually facilitates maximum adhesion of the coating. The process of sandblasting is a science in itself, and Palisade handles this in-house with its own customized setup.
It turns out that there is a great difference in consistency when coatings are applied in a field environment versus being applied in a controlled, purpose-built facility.
When coatings are applied in the field, humidity, temperature, and wind control are unpredictable, especially in winter months. Field application requires portable hoarding, heating, wind protection, and travel, all of which add cost, time and risk.
A controlled shop environment provides ideal conditions by speeding up the process, reducing risk, and avoiding excess costs. This is why Palisade’s team always applies Denso coatings right in its purpose-built shop, located in Didsbury.
While one might think that a coating could be twice as strong by making it twice as thick, this is not the case.
“Application thickness and evenness is critical,” Trevor explains, “If it’s too thick, the coating does not retain its flexibility, so it must be exact.”
Precision is a combination of both a technician’s skill and reliable equipment, both of which take years to develop.
The required degree of coating precision means that Denso will not simply sell its coatings to any business interested in applying it.
“We certify our applicators with a strict testing procedure, and it actually costs us a lot of time and money to go through that process,” Kleijnen explains. “Then we re-test every three years, or when required. For example, when Palisade got new spray application equipment recently, we went through and tested it. There’s no room for error.”
Other Denso Products
While Denso Protal 7200 is sold as a liquid coating that is sprayed on in a shop setting (before the pipeline is laid in the ground) and is intended for below-ground use, Denso also sells other pipe-protecting products.
One is a Petrolatum tape-style product called Denso Tape, which can be rolled on for easy in-field repairs, or shop-applied directly onto pipe and piping components. Denso also offers Glass Outerwrap and Bore-Wrap products that protect a coated pipe from abrasive damage.
“With our Bore-Wrap, you could literally drag the pipe across gravel, and it wouldn’t be damaged,” Kleijnen says.
Cost vs. Choice
Unfortunately, in recent years, raw material costs for Denso’s products have increased. “Throughout the pandemic, our raw material prices increased, just like everyone else’s. But we won’t compromise on quality. Our Denso 7200 formulas are exactly the same,” says Kleijnen.
While it’s true that there are less expensive coatings on the market, Kleijnen explains, “Denso maintains its quality standards and a commitment to compliance on AMPP, NACE, SSPC, AWWA, and CSA specification requirements, just as Canadian operators do within the global pipeline industry.”
This means that in Palisade’s case, it is not always possible to bid the lowest price.
But at the end of the day, environmental protection is a choice, and this is why our team at Palisade firmly chooses to be a proud, certified applicator and supporter of Denso coatings.