Raising the Bar on Performance and Productivity with Low-Temperature Coatings


By Vijay Datta and Michael O’Donoghue, AkzoNobel

istock.com / Meinzahn

It’s no secret that cold climates and short construction schedules can make or break a coatings installation in new construction, expansion, or maintenance and repair projects. If it’s not a coatings performance issue, then it’s often the loss of productivity — or both — that sabotage success.

The fact is many coatings designed for low-temperature application may not be able to support the specified regulatory compliance, application speed and fast cure properties needed to keep project schedules on track. Despite the protective coating industry’s technology advances in fireproofing, for example, many reinforced epoxy-based systems lose rapid cure gains — whether in the shop or in the field — when temperatures plummet below 50 F (10 C). In other instances, prolonged re-coat times, or having to wait for spray equipment to warm up, can cause throughput and shipping delays. For facility owners, an asset’s slow return to service can mean costly production downtime.

While proper coatings selection, testing, surface preparation and application guidelines all play a critical role in project outcomes in colder climates, so does a coating system’s productivity characteristics. Achieving both maximum productivity and high-level performance isn’t somewhere in the future; it’s technology that has come of age.

AkzoNobel views high performance and productivity as synonymous in the coatings development process and central to the company's core commitment to sustainability. As a result, the company has been at the top of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) for the fifth time in six years.

By leveraging AkzoNobel’s advanced low-temperature coatings technology in cold climates — or accelerating their benefits with year-round use — facility owners and applicators can achieve significant performance and cost-saving productivity advantages.

Laying a Foundation for Performance and Productivity

Much like building a house that’s strong enough to withstand the cyclical weather patterns of sub-freezing winter cold and the hot, humid temperatures of summer, creating long-term protection in moderate to highly corrosive service environments begins with a strong foundation that’s carried through each phase of the installation process.

Primers and Coating Systems for Steel Structures

That foundational step starts with advanced primer technology. But while primers may be the backbone for every protective coatings system, not all primers are created equal. According to AkzoNobel:

Bar Rust 235 utilizes epoxy-Mannich technology to provide unsurpassed rapid cure in temperatures as low as 0 F (-18 C). Reliable and easy to use, Bar Rust 235 offers excellent adhesion, surface tolerance, water resistance and abrasion resistance even against harsh oilfield and mining environments (ISO 12994 / C5) to help protect assets and ensure long service life.

Intergard 2575 is a low-VOC (below 250 g/L) alkylated amine-cured epoxy primer with the added protection of micaceous iron oxide and zinc phosphate pigments for medium- to high-corrosive environments (ISO 12944 / C5). With a durable low-to-high film build, the coating enables high performance in temperatures as low as 23 F (-5 C). Intergard 2575 can be used as a primer with excellent extended recoat with other top coats. 

Tank Linings

Steel and concrete storage tank internals, including tank floors, bottoms, piping and secondary containment, are especially vulnerable to long-term exposure to chemical corrosion and cyclical heat exposure. New epoxy coating advances are helping owners better protect their equipment assets and extend maintenance lifecycles, using products like these:

Enviroline 376LT epoxy-Novolac technology enables rapid cure in cold climates as low as 20 F (-7 C). The high-build, 100-percent-solids, plural-component formulation can be spray-applied and provides excellent corrosion protection from a range of products, including crude oil, refined oil products and biofuels. Enviroline 376LT is also suitable as an external coating for buried pipes.

Enviroline 125 LV-LT is an ultra-high-solids lining designed to cure at temperatures down to 20 F ( -7 C) and provides resistance to a wide variety of chemicals and solvents. It also meets AWWA Standard C-210 performance requirements.

Devmat 101LTC is a thick-film, 100-percent-solids, reinforced epoxy-based internal lining designed for corrosion control and restoration of petroleum storage tanks, tank bottoms, floors and pipe internals. The lining’s flexibility helps reduce coating stress resulting from mechanical and physical forces exerted on the tank bottom. Devmat 101LTC is resistant to all types of crude oil and refined petroleum products and can be put into ethanol service after just three days cure in temperatures as low as 35 F (2 C).

Fire Protection

Building on the 40-year Chartek legacy of superior passive fire protection (PFP) for both onshore and offshore environments, AkzoNobel has introduced its newest, patented low-temperature-cure epoxy fire protection system to deliver a new level of protection to chemical processing plants and refineries:

Chartek 2218 meets the ANSI/UL 1709 standard and is UL certified to provide the industry’s lowest certified thickness for protection against longer duration fires, including jet fires. With the simplified single-coat installation, Chartek 2218 offers rapid cure at low temperatures and improved production rates — with a 20-percent reduction in overall costs as compared with other PFP epoxies.

Corrosion Under Insulation

The global oil & gas industry has traditionally used epoxy phenolic coatings to protect process pipes from the ravages of high heat and CUI. While these coatings have an established track record, the minimum curing temperatures of ca 50 F (10 C) and long cure times, coupled with a tendency to overbuild the coating, can result in delays in both moving and shipping coated steel pipe from the shop, to the field crew erecting the pipe at the job site.

Interbond 2340 UPC simplifies the process with an alkylated amine epoxy solution that offers exceptional high-heat resistance for insulated and non-insulated steel pipes and equipment. Featuring rapid cure in low temperatures 23 F (-5 C) without compromising performance, Interbond 2340 UPC is tolerant to over-build dry-film thickness, easy to use for applicators, and promotes greater productivity in the fabrication shop.

Finish Coats

In moderately corrosive environments (ISO 12944 C3), the protective coatings industry has historically relied on conventional three-coat systems to achieve adequate corrosion protection in lower temperatures. Despite their proven performance, applicators and facility owners typically have had to sacrifice aesthetics and ease-of-application benefits. In moderately corrosive environments (ISO 12944 C3), the protective coatings industry has historically relied on conventional three-coat systems to achieve adequate corrosion protection in lower temperatures. Despite proven performance of these coatings, applicators and facility owners typically have had to sacrifice aesthetics and ease-of-application benefits. Now, they don't have to choose between performance and productivity:

Intercure 4500 harness the benefits of epoxies and polyurethanes in a new polyaspartic resin technology that simplifies and replaces traditional multi-coat finish systems. The low-VOC semi-gloss system is designed with excellent anticorrosion and aesthetic properties to provide excellent long-term color and gloss retention and UV durability. With reliable rapid cure in low temperatures, Intercure 4500 enables single-coat application direct-to-metal, or over suitable primers for more corrosive environments, to help optimize application time and reduce labor costs. With a suitable primer, it can also provide performance for an ISO 12995/ C5 environment.

Removing the Barriers

While weather and tight construction schedules may have hindered quality coatings installations in past, today, fabrication shops and facility owners can find a variety of high-performance, low-temperature coating solutions that keep them compliant, productive and competitive.

*Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors.

Vijay Datta and Michael O’Donoghue, AkzoNobel

Vijay Datta (left) received the Mortimer T. Harvey award for being the first to commercialize Phenalkamine curing technology. He also developed Devoe Bar Rust 235, a surface-tolerant, low-temperature-cure epoxy coating, widely used in shop application. Dr. Mike O’Donoghue was recognized by SSPC as one of the industry’s top 25 leaders and thinkers of the past 25 years for the advancement of coatings industry knowledge. He was also instrumental in co-developing an anti-slip coating for structural steel and a unique epoxy tank lining.