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Learning Opportunities Abound at SSPC

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

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SSPC 2017, the annual conference of SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings, concluded Thursday, Feb. 2, as the final technical sessions took place and the exhibit hall opened to attendees one last time.

A great deal of learning took place over the four days of the conference, at the Tampa Convention Center, in Tampa, Florida. Some highlights of the technical program included:

Surface Profiles—How Deep Is Too Deep?

One Wednesday afternoon session featured presentations by a number of experts on the function of surface profile and how to obtain the proper surface profile prior to a coating project.

Young Professionals happy hour
Photos: Technology Publishing Co.

For the fourth year in a row, SSPC hosted a happy hour for its Young Professionals group during the conference.

This included the President’s Lecture Award winning presentation, “Too Deep or Too Shallow—Can Surface Profiles Be Changed by Additional Blast Cleaning?” In this session, KTA-Tator’s William Corbett discussed new research on the effects of more blast cleaning when it’s apparent a substrate’s surface profile is not ideal.

CSI: Coating System Investigation

In a Tuesday morning workshop guided by audience participation via real-time online polling, KTA-Tator’s Chrissy Stewart and Cynthia O’Malley led the group through a coating failure investigation using various methods and lab tests. Audience members were able to steer the investigation and choose what tests to prioritize.

The hypothetical situation presented involved a coating failure on the outside of a ship that was needed for service in three weeks. Investigators were able to gather information from the vessel owner and coating manufacturer, and gather samples for lab testing including microscopy and spectroscopy.

Agree to Disagree on Causes of Coating Failures

An interactive panel discussion saw Dwight Weldon, of Weldon Laboratories, moderating a discussion between Charles Harvilicz, of Newport News Shipbuilding; Dudley Primeaux, of Primeaux Associates; and Michael O’Brien, of Mark 10 Resource Group, played the roles of consultants representing the painting contractor, coating manufacturer and asset owner, respectively, in a fictionalized coating failure scenario.


Five students presented their research in a poster session. (See full story elsewhere in today's PaintSquare News special edition.)

The scenario presented involved a barge that experienced coating failures in specific areas of impact after a recoating job; the play-actors (and the audience) quickly zeroed in on the fact that the coating system was applied in hot sunlight, and the contractor did not keep track of the surface temperature of the substrate during application.

In the end, the attendees assigned blame to the contractor, for not keeping track of the surface temperature and applying in conditions not accounted for in the manufacturer’s data sheets, and the manufacturer, for not clearly indicating the negative effects of applying the system in hot conditions.

Green Evolution

The GreenCOAT aspect of SSPC 2017 came into play Wednesday morning, with a session on Green Evolution. The overarching theme of the session was the reduction of volatile organic compounds—those organic compounds that easily turn to vapor—in protective coatings. Many jurisdictions have begun to reduce the level of VOCs allowed in paints and coatings, driving manufacturers to find low- or zero-VOC solutions.

Presentations covered topics including surface-tolerant epoxy technology that’s free of VOCs (presented by Richard Keeler, of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company); and VOC reduction in epoxy protective coatings (presented by Eric Ripplinger, of Olin Corporation).

Young Professionals Happy Hour

For the fourth year in a row, SSPC hosted a happy hour for its Young Professionals group during the conference. Held Wednesday evening, this year’s event differed from past get-togethers, as SSPC-certified Protective Coatings Specialists (PCSs) were invited to join and mingle with the young professionals for the first time.

“We wanted to take the feedback we’ve received over the last several years to help the young professionals broaden their network,” said Kristin Leonard, coatings and non-metallics specialist with Bechtel Corporation and SSPC’s first ex-officio Young Professionals board member.

Leonard encouraged the young professionals and PCSs to mingle and exchange information and advice on career-building, certifications and other aspects of the industry.

Young Professionals

Young professionals and PCSs were encouraged to mingle and exchange information and advice on career-building, certifications and other aspects of the industry.

In addressing the group, Leonard also mentioned SSPC’s newly launched online platform and how recent and upcoming interactive developments will help the young professionals group gather information, seek opportunities and stay connected with SSPC and the protective coatings industry as a whole.

“In my new position on the board, I’m here to help and serve you to increase your involvement with SSPC or help your career,” Leonard said.

SSPC President Gunnar Ackx, Executive Director Bill Worms and members of the SSPC Board of Governors and staff were also present and pleased with the turnout.

Further Coverage

For more on activities earlier in the conference, see PaintSquare Newsprevious coverage, and complementary coverage from Durability + Design News. For information on the Women in Coatings program Wednesday afternoon and the SSPC Poster Sessions featuring student research, see stories elsewhere in this newsletter.

For more on the Young Professionals group and SSPC in general, see


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bill Worms; Coating failure; Coatings education; Conferences; Education; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Poster session; Program/Project Management; SSPC; SSPC 2017

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