Under founder and managing director of Gemini Corrosion Services Ian Guthrie was working offshore in 1982, he saw first-hand the impact of corrosion on scaffold fittings and learned the majority of these fittings were scrapped when returned from the offshore rigs.
Seeing a gap in the market, Ian launched Gemini Corrosion Services in a small unit at Spurryhillock Industrial Estate, Stonehaven, 15 miles south of Aberdeen, where he began refurbishing scaffold equipment. This offered offshore companies the benefits of extended asset life expectancy and a fast response turnaround from a local supplier.
Recognising that further opportunities existed within its offshore client base, Gemini increased its range of services in 1985, investing in surface preparation equipment and establishing its corrosion services business. The enhanced business volumes resulting from this increase led to the company relocating to larger premises on the Spurryhillock estate, which became Gemini’s headquarters whilst it continued to develop and expand facilities with the construction of new coating and blast halls and ongoing improvements to its infrastructure. Furthermore, the company implemented training and development schemes as well as internal promotion to ensure the retention of an experienced and qualified team.
Gemini is today a world leader in protecting pipework, steel structures and subsea pipelines against corrosion in the oil and gas industry; it has recently expanded its Montrose base from seven acres to ten acres and acquired new heavy lifting equipment as part of an investment of £1.5 million in the building of new facilities. With on-site facilities including a blast bay, thermal spray hall, main spray hall and fully automated metal spray facility at its Montrose base, which the company expanded into in 2009, Gemini can offer complete standard or bespoke solutions to its long-standing and extensive client base. Over 30 years it has developed its flexible coating services for new equipment, whether land based or offshore, topside or subsea, as well as offering refurbishment and upgrade of old coating systems. Topside coating projects range from the structural components on oil rigs, including accommodation modules and helidecks, through to process and control equipment, such as pipe work (spools) and valves.
Typically based on the NORSOK M501 standard for both paint and thermal spray, the applied coatings’ types, controls application methods and quality are stringently regulated. For subsea environments, one of the most severe tests for protective coatings, Gemini has established a long and successful history and is able to offer the highest standard quality in this demanding market where any mistakes result in huge expense. This has led to numerous approvals with major blue chip equipment manufacturers; equipment protected by Gemini applied coatings includes BOPs, valves, protection frames, pipelines and risers.
At its Montrose facility the company can take on the most challenging of tasks, with its purpose built main spray hall that covers more than 1000 square metres and comes equipped with two ten tonne overhead cranes for component handling assistance. The ISO 18000 accredited spray hall can produce various coatings from epoxy paint that conforms to NORSOK industry standards, to more specialised systems, such as anti-fouling paint. Meanwhile, its multi-function thermal spray hall is where both specific surface preparation and thermal spray is undertaken. Believing the basic process of surface preparation is the foundation of its success, the company’s main blast bay is accessible from the main yard and opens in to the main spray hall. Most components are maneuvered in to the bay with fork lifts, while larger items are loaded on to bogies by cranes before being pushed in on the track systems, thus minimising handling operations.
The company assesses the surface profile and cleanliness in terms of the industry recognised Swedish Standards SA2.5 or SA3 and uses various media dependent on component material, client specifications and required results. For example, chilled iron grit, due to its ability to quickly strip various surface contaminants, is used for aggressive cleaning applications, while aluminium oxide is used on surfaces that can’t be contaminated by ferrous materials; glass bead blasting, meanwhile, produces a clean, bright finish, without dimensional change of parts. In addition to blasting, Gemini has a shot peening facility, which employs spherical shot blasted on to a surface to produce compressive surface stresses, which improve fatigue life.
Used for many years to protect steel work from corrosion, thermal spray coatings have proven an excellent way to protect offshore structures and equipment. To satisfy the demand for TSA coated tubular equipment, such as risers, Gemini designed and constructed a fully automated cutting-edge thermal spray hall, the first of its kind in Europe, and began operations in January 2006. The automated coating is far superior to manual application techniques, as it allows numerous programme processes to be stored and ensures even coating thickness. Consisting of an automatic pipe manipulator with two high throughput electric arc wire spray units, the facility is designed to ensure the highest quality TSA coatings and is capable of coating pipes from four inches to 48 inches diameter and 6.6 feet to 75 feet in length.
With more than 30 years in the business, the company recognises the pressure surrounding time constraints and the stringent demands for maintaining a high quality service on schedule. Having retained an ethos for the best quality services and facilities, as well as active investigations into innovative coating processes and applications, there is no sign of Gemini getting rusty any time soon.
Gemini Corrosion Services Ltd
Services: Surface preparation and protective coating applications