A&E Systems

All systems go

An Australian Prime Minister once said that life wasn’t meant to be easy. When it comes to providing protection for complex equipment in offshore and other challenging environments, it’s hard not to agree.

Manufacturers may protect their equipment and fastenings with the best available coatings but, once you get them offshore, galvanic corrosion and damage during transit or assembly makes bolts and components vulnerable to corrosion that is evident wherever you look. Flanges on valves and pipework are particularly vulnerable, with bolts becoming sacrificial anodes in a cycle of cathodic destruction.

Once corrosion has taken hold, what’s an operator to do? Sometimes the problem is ignored and exfoliating balloons of corrosion become a poisonous legacy for the next generation of maintenance engineers. More responsible operators use a variety of means, including painting, flange protectors, bolt caps, wax injection and tape wraps, with only tape-wrapping providing the potential for any kind of comprehensive solution. However, tape wrap is laborious to apply, and can have problems with removal and disposal of hazardous components as well difficulties in assessing the substrate condition under ageing applications.

With other solutions failing more often than they succeed, an engineer’s only realistic option has often been bolt replacement and, while this can usually be accomplished on an active system, it takes a long time, is extremely expensive and may not be possible without a shut-down.

New solutions
In recent years, an innovative new solution has been developed. Rather than dealing with a series of individual problems, it approaches each joint or system as a whole, with protection that can be successfully applied – even where corrosion is already present. The Enviropeel system, as it is known, uses a sprayable thermoplastic to apply a resilient encapsulating barrier, but the secret of its success lies in the built-in corrosion inhibitors that are released everywhere within the encapsulation and which continue to be released for the lifetime of the coating. In this way the coating not only provides a reactive solution that immediately protects the substrate from corrosion but is also a long-term, proactive and cost-effective solution, making it impossible for any further corrosion to take place.

The Enviropeel material is a solid at normal ambient temperatures, only becoming a liquid when heated in the specially designed application unit to be sprayed on to the substrate. On the substrate the material flows into every contour, filling every cavity and cooling immediately to form a perfectly-fitting second skin. The material is simple to remove – even after several years it can be cut and peeled away – but a real bonus for Enviropeel users is that all waste and removed material can be used again, with no contamination or residue to clean from the substrate.

Range of applications
Such a comprehensive system of protection has advantages in a wide variety of applications. Offshore, in the North Sea, its ability to protect against the effects of severe exposure to salt and water on complex steel substrates has proved its worth over a number of years, but Enviropeel’s flexibility of approach also makes it invaluable in other areas.

Standby equipment and mothballing
Machinery can be idle from intermittent use, standby, storage for spare parts or temporary decommissioning. Enviropeel’s ability to provide cost effective long-term protection for standby assets is an important part of Enviropeel’s role in the provision of high quality active asset protection.

The failure rate for stored mining conveyor equipment, for example, was over 40 per cent prior to the use of Enviropeel. Following the introduction of Enviropeel protection, the failure rate dropped to zero! On the same equipment, once installed, replacement rates were as high as every nine months. Following the introduction of Enviropeel, more than four years have passed without a single failure.

Enviropeel works in two ways. Firstly, because it is a sprayable thermoplastic coating, it provides a perfectly fitting, one-piece, encapsulating barrier coating on any shape or size of substrate, preventing ingress of moisture or contaminating agents. Second, built-in inhibiting oils that are constantly released on to ukthe inner surfaces of the encapsulation provide constant corrosion protection.

Easy to strip off, non-toxic, reusable and recyclable, Enviropeel is the ultimate environmentally friendly way to ensure the protection of all your vulnerable assets.

A&E Systems

Products: Anti-corrosion coating products