You may think that pipeline safety depends on the type of metal, the thickness used, or the welds.
But no matter how consistent those factors are, metal can still corrode. Especially when piping is below ground, or in contact with water.
We spoke to the actual coatings-application team at Palisade Coatings, located outside Didsbury, Alberta, to get their perspectives on how coatings affect pipeline safety.
We found three key success factors that impact the quality of coatings:
- Testing requirements by the brand of coating used.
- Employee skill.
- Setup of the equipment/facility.
TESTING REQUIREMENTS: MIXTURE + ADHESION
The coating is what keeps a pipeline in good working condition.
“When we started out, we used to offer three kinds of coatings and let the customer choose,” explains Palisade’s team. However, they soon discovered that not all coatings performed equally.
It turns out that there are two distinct aspects of a coating’s quality. First, the mixture — the proportions of base and catalyst used in the coating. Second, the adhesion — whether it actually remains attached to the pipe itself.
Coating manufacturers will send a piece of test pipe to an applicator to get it coated, and then test to see whether it meets their coating standards. If it passes, they offer the coating applicator a certification that allows them to apply their coating brand professionally.
As Palisade’s team explains, “The problem with most manufacturers is that they only certify whether the mixture is right. They don’t bother checking the adhesion to the pipe itself. That leaves room for failure in the field.”
This was the key reason Palisade chose to use Denso Protal 7200 as their number-one choice for coating. “Comparing it to the other coating brands, we could tell the product was superior. Denso tests and certifies applicators on both the mixture quality and the adhesion quality. No other brand does that.”
SKILL: WHY THE TEAM MATTERS
Since coatings are applied manually, skill is another key factor.
“Our coating team has 20 years experience. We work well together to get the job done right.”
Why is this important? Denso 7200 Protal requires certification of both the company and individual employees, so keeping quality staff in place is critical.
Equipment & Facility
The final aspect of achieving certification is the process and equipment used.
Palisade has some unique equipment they have custom-built for the job, and its own sandblasting station. An extra-large yard also allows maneuverability of long or large equipment, and room for storage.
“All incoming pipe needs a good sandblast first to ensure adhesion,” says the team. “We also have two rural-based shop spaces, so we can coat twice as much pipe in a given timeframe.”