PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


PAINTSQUARE BLOG

Comment |

How About a New 95:50 Rule?

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2016

By Robert Ikenberry

I think we should have a new way of looking at quality.

We don’t have to settle for “just OK,” and we don’t have to go all the way to budget-busting perfection. There is a sweet spot of quality and efficiency in most things. Rather than looking for black or white, we should be looking harder for that “best gray.”

The 80:20 Rule

Most of you have probably heard the old, conventional wisdom of the 80:20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle. It essentially says that if one is talking about the best possible results, you can get about 80 percent of the way there with 20 percent of the effort that “perfection” would take.

Pareto Principle
© iStock.com / Marek Uliasz

The 80:20 rule suggests that 20 percent of the invested effort is responsible for 80 percent of the results obtained.

Another way to look at it is that the last 20 percent keeps getting incrementally harder to improve. Ultimately, it takes 80 percent of the total effort to get thru the last 20 percent.

I don’t know about your practical experience with this in real life, but I’ve been an armchair astronomer since the time when many amateurs ground their own telescope mirrors. Now, if I understood the process properly, figuring a telescope mirror (that is, the process of polishing the surface to remove imperfections and/or modify the curvature to achieve the required shape) definitely took 80 percent of the effort to do the final 20 percent, certainly from the standpoint of how much glass you were taking off the mirror blank.

Craftsmen who put the finish on Steinway pianos probably know a bit about sanding, painting and polishing repeatedly to get to a goal of near perfection. I think they would tell you that the difference between a “commercial” gloss black finish and the endlessly deep, show-every-fingerprint, jet-black, high-gloss finish on a concert piano is the result of lots more effort.

Aspiring for Better

So if the 80:20 rule is true, and if we agree we don’t want to settle for just 80 percent of the best there is, and we’re willing to do at least something more than 20 percent of what it takes to get there, we should aspire for better as a society.

telescope mirror and lenses
© iStock.com / WestWindGraphics

My experience figuring and polishing a telescope mirror demonstrates the concept that it took 80 percent of the effort to do the final 20 percent, certainly from the standpoint of how much glass you were taking off the mirror blank.

But how much more?

The laws of diminishing returns say that at some point extra effort just isn’t worth it. Where is that? Lots of times specifications seem to say, perfection is the only acceptable result.

White Metal blast requires that all visible rust, debris and paints are removed from a steel surface. And government seems to say public resources like water and air have to be clean to the limits of our detection (which with modern analytical methods is now in the parts per billion or trillion, not merely parts per million).

We often seem to be setting ourselves up to require perfection, even with the gross inefficiencies that last few percent requires.

On the other hand, there are some who say we should just go back to not really caring about it (cleanliness, quality, efficiency, environment, whatever “it” is that we’re talking about), do the 20 percent effort, take the 80 percent result and call it good.

Finding ‘Near Perfection’

I think there’s a practical middle ground. Let’s call it the 95:50 rule.

blast cleaning
© iStock.com / kimtaro
 

For just half the effort of perfection, we may very well be able to get 95 percent of it. That sounds like a pretty good bargain.

I think the painting industry was always aware of this and, actually, was ahead of the curve:

Commercial blast cleaning is the equivalent of 80:20 (not quibbling about a few percentage points here), and White Metal blast is practical “perfection” in cleaning steel surfaces.

The need for a more realistic “Near-Perfection” was why Near-White blast cleaning was invented.

Most of the time, even with quality-critical coatings, Near-White is good enough (even though Commercial blast definitely isn’t), and it’s a lot less effort than true White Metal.

So let’s take a lesson from our industry and advocate for a Near-White Metal quality goal in our collective efforts.

Can you think of areas where this approach can improve overall quality or make realistic improvements more attainable?

ABOUT THE BLOGGER

Robert Ikenberry

Robert Ikenberry, PCS, has been in industrial painting and construction since 1975. Now semi-retired as the Safety Director and Project Manager for California Engineering Contractors, Robert stays busy rehabbing, retrofitting and painting bridges. His documentary on the 1927 Carquinez Bridge was the pilot for National Geographic’s Break it Down and an episode of MegaStructures.

SEE ALL CONTENT FROM THIS CONTRIUBTOR

   

Tagged categories: Abrasive blasting; Surface preparation

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (9/22/2016, 8:19 AM)

Robert, I appreciate your points - but I have a problem with the blast cleaning example. This is a problem I recently encountered in the field. White Metal, Near-White and Commercial (SP 5, 10 and 6 respectively) all require the cleanliness you described for White Metal: All visible rust, debris and paints must be removed. The only difference between the three is the amount of staining allowed. If there are visible chunks of rust, debris or paint - you don't even have a Commercial blast.


Comment from Robert Ikenberry, (9/22/2016, 12:26 PM)

Tom, you are, of course, exactly right. Sometimes in a blog, brevity is selected over accuracy. Sorry if that was unclear in this case. For any of the blast cleaning levels mentioned, the only contaminants that can remain are staining. Per the standard: "Staining shall be limited to no more than XX% of each square inch of surface area and may consist of light shadows, slight streaks or minor discoloration caused by stains of rust, stains of mill scale or stains of previously applied paint." The XX% of staining allowed: SP-6 = 33%, SP-10 = 5%, SP-5 = 0%


Comment from Bob Dahlstrom, (10/4/2016, 10:04 AM)

Robert, I agree... as technology improves there is no reason why we shouldn't take advantage of it and improve quality. Let's continue to replace human judgement with science.


Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
SABRE Autonomous Solutions
 
Introducing the ALPHA1 Blasting Robot
 
Once installed and commissioned – simply
SCAN PLAN BLAST.
 

 
SEMicro Division, M.E. Taylor Engineering, Inc.
 
Coatings Adhesion Testers
 
The PATTI® accurately measures the bond strength between coating & substrate. Outfitted properly, the surface can be rough, porous, or curved & >10K psi strong!
 

 
Waterjet Technology Association (WJTA)
 
Click to register today!
 
See the latest automated and handheld UHP waterblasting tools/systems/products. Exhibits, live demos, educational sessions, waterjet short course, networking.
 

 
Detail Masters
 
Overspray Removal
 
We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.
 

 
Safway Services
 
Your Access Advantage. QUIKDECK®
 
Provides safe, factory-floor-like working conditions. Can be engineered to fit almost any shape, structure or size. Modular platform easily assembled from just a few basic components. Excellent containment. Applications include vessels, offshore rigs and bridges.
 

 
W Abrasives
 
Unrivaled Expertise for your Surface Preparation
 
As the global leader in steel abrasives, W Abrasives material is the efficient and eco-friendly solution blasting with you to reach the perfect profile.
 

 
RBW Enterprises, Inc.
 
Robotic Blasting and Painting
 
When using the FasterBlaster and FasterPainter, blasting and painting can be conducted simultaneously. View the video for a full explanation of the operation.
 

 
Termarust Technologies
 
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion
 
Arch truss treated with Termarust's (HR CSA) in 2003. This steel arch bridge is rust free on all surfaces including the crevice corroded joints and connections.
 

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
 
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
 
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.
 

 
Absolute Equipment/Grand Rental Station
 
TIER 4 EQUIPMENT
 
We have Tier 4 Equipment including Air Compressors & Generators for Sale & Rent! Your job may now require Tier-4. www.absoluteequip.com or Call 412-931-6655.
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us