| Connect Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook
About | Subscribe | Advertise


Download our free Marine Industry Coating Systems eResource Book

Problem Solving Forum

| More

May 2 - May 8, 2011

A specification requires Manufacturer X’s system “or equivalent.” What does “or equivalent” mean, and who decides what’s “equivalent?”

More items for Quality Control

Selected Answers

From Frank Rea of GPI-Southeast on May 3, 2011:
     Coatings or coatings systems can be evaluated for equivalence to a specified product by any or a combination of the following criteria: generic type of resin, chemical and phyical properties, service environment, required surface preparation, compatibility with existing coatings (if applicable), formula, or performance. The specifier should be the individual to determine whether a proposed alternative is "equivalent".

From Joseph Schinner of Akzo Nobel Coatings Inc. on May 2, 2011:

     I've dealt with federal, state, architectural, engineering, and general manufacturer's specifications for different types of coatings. It can be a mushball or it can be relatively simple. The detail of the spec itself determines how to approach the equivalent.

     The most common "equivalent" is a performance equivalent that may or may not spell out a generic binder type. If a binder is not identified, then you are free to use what you want to match the preformance, but it is always advisable to know what the competitor is using and why it seems to fulfill the requirements before deviating from his lead.

     If a spec asks for a 2K epoxy or a single package acrylic, then it doesn't want a performance equivalent in another generic binder system unless you can specifically sell them on value-added qualities that they will accept for their end use. It is best to find someone at the customer's facility who can answer questions about what application/field problems have been encountered and solved that are not directly addressed in the spec tests themselves. Often, this is where  "equivalents" can be a struggle until the "hidden specs" are solved. As examples, the specs may not address certain part-handling mar problems, or the finished structure may have temporary ponded water areas with no mention of immersion testing needed. Spec "equivalent" ranges all the way from a DOD spec that may specify coating formulas with specific binder/pigment/solvent types/ratios including exact hydrogen-amine ratios all the way to simple gross (e.g., anything that won't fall off the wall for 5 yrs. and still look white).

     Note: the more specific the formulation spec is, the more likely it was written around the competitor's or his predecessor's actual formula or submission, making it seem easier to match, but these are sometimes the hardest to overcome the "tricks" built in to prevent an easy match.

From Brian Chapman of Cadillac Fabrication on May 2, 2011:
     We generally take this to mean a coating that CLOSELY matches the spec in performance. The equivalent should be decided by the manufacturer's rep for the coating you want to use, based soley on performance characteristics.

Please sign in to submit your answer this question    

Tagged categories: Specification writing

Current PSF Question | Submit a PSF Question | Full PSF Archive

DeFelsko Corporation
A Smart New Way to Measure

PosiTector SmartLink and free mobile app turns your cell phone or tablet into a virtual PosiTector gage.

Elcometer, Inc.
Elcometer 106 Pull-Off Adhesion Tester

Portable, easy to operate; Provides numerical value for adhesion; Comes in carrying case - Ideal for site tests; No power supply necessary.

Graco Inc.
Graco Mortar Pump

The M680 sprays epoxy-based mortars, anti-skid coatings, cementitious and filled materials. Compact.
Easy to use.
Call 877-844-7226 or

Nationwide Overspray
Profession Overspray Removal Services

The Finest Name in Safe Overspray Removal. We specialize in removing all contaminants from any surface. Family Owned and Operated for 33 years! Fully insured. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office

• Coating failure analysis
• Independent
  comparative testing
• Accelerated
  weathering testing
• Toxic metals testing
• A2LA Accredited
Contact: Kevin Brown,
at 336-386-4000

Fischer Technology Inc.
DUALSCOPE®FMP100 with DataCenter IP

Transfer customized inspection plans from PC to FMP100 using step-by-step guidance with prompts and pictures throughout the measurement procedure

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
Safety, Productivity, Quality. Robotic Blasting

Learn how this simple to use, field deployed, automatic robot is eliminating hazards in major confined, cluttered and complex surface preparation projects.

NLB Corporation
Water jet surface prep, high or low

See how quickly HydroPrep® tools do surface prep, with no containment needed. Choose automated Crawler for overhead, Vortex™ for floors, or handheld VertaJet™.

Waterjet Technology Association (WJTA)
Discover Waterjet from the Experts

Waterjet is an environmentally friendly and growing method of surface prep. Get the latest info and education at WJTA-IMCA
2015 – November 2-4,
New Orleans.

AW Chesterton
ARC Protective Coatings

perform reliably under the most demanding exposures in the toughest process conditions. Use our Coating Selector Tool for your application needs at

Technology Publishing

The Technology Publishing Network

The Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings (JPCL) PaintSquare
Durability + Design 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   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us

© Copyright 2000-2015, Technology Publishing / PaintSquare, All rights reserved
2100 Wharton Street, Suite 310, Pittsburgh PA 15203-1951; Tel 1-412-431-8300; Fax 1-412-431-5428; E-mail