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This handy SSPC Pocket Guide to Coating Information is packed with information and formulas commonly referenced during coatings work.
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For example, coating manufactures recommend nominal dry film thickness values for which the properties of their coating apply, such as adhesion. In some cases maximum thickness values should not be exceeded to prevent cracking and other failure phenomena. This means that a record of the specified coating and the coating system is essential when preparing and carrying out inspections. In order to demonstrate the quantity of information that has to be managed for a project the following calculation has been made and is based on the general requirement for painting the ballast tanks on a new build a ship.

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Similar calculations can be made for other types of steel structures. The total ballast tank coating area onboard a VLCC is approximately ,m 2 greater than 3,,ft 2 ii.

Using the SSPC PA2 standard for coating thickness measurement iii , each flat area requires five spot readings - each the average of three readings per 10m 2 or ft 2. Taking into account the typical dimensions of a VLCC, the outer surface area of the ship is approximately 52,m 2 , ft 2. This does not take into account any complex areas or the superstructure itself.

Additional inspection requirements are listed for longitudinal and transverse stiffener members, primary support members and complex areas specifically large brackets of primary support members. Using the lowest possible estimate, this indicates that a minimum of , coating thickness readings which must be taken and recorded to meet the obligation of the IMO PSPC for Salt Water Ballast Tanks regulation. So the imperative for coating thickness measurement is, in essence, is similar to the number of readings you are required to take when using SSPC PA2 for the outer hull surfaces alone.

This of course does not take into account any internal surfaces, cargo holds, fixtures and fitting or any complex areas under consideration.


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The IMO regulation does not stop at coating thickness, it also requires the inspection of surface profile and cleanliness, weld condition, coating damage together with the recording of temperature, relative humidity, dewpoint and weather conditions, where appropriate, during the application process and for the paint cure, at each stage of the build process. Cumulatively, this is a very significant quantity of data. Not all coating inspection processes for ballast tank coatings have measurements associated with them.

Some inspection types rely on the judgement of the inspector in respect of a standard, for example the rust cleanliness assessment after blasting is by reference to the Swedish Rust Standard, EN ISO Taken all together, the quantity and type of information that needs to be collected to satisfy the requirement to produce a coating technical file for the ballast tank coatings is extensive. The further requirement to be able to track the individual ballast tank areas of the ship and the reworks that may required to achieve satisfactory coatings means that a document archiving and retrieval method is applied.

In planning the coating process inspection tasks it is necessary to consider how the inspections will be carried out. For some inspection tasks readings are taken using gauges, some of which have memory and data output and some of which just display a value. For other inspection types a visual comparison with a standard or assessment to a written guideline is made.

Computer-based recording systems have to be able to accommodate all of these options. The following case study applies to the management of inspection tasks for painting ballast tanks but the principles can be applied to the coating of a range of structures. In order to collate all the information and records so that a coating technical file can be prepared easily and navigated for audit purposes, the use of a computer database is indicated. There are several additional advantages that arise from this approach, including direct communication with the database where measurement data is acquired using an electronic gauge with a data output feature, the ability to store technical datasheets for the coating materials for reference, the opportunity to identify the location of the ballast tanks on a drawing of the ship for convenience and the means of associating photographic images with the data.

A software system has been developed to provide a framework for the planning and recording of coating inspection tasks associated with a particular ship by name.


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  • The software has 7 sections to aid the planning and creation of inspection tasks, with a further 5 operational features for managing the inspection tasks and creating the coating technical files. The seven sections leading to the creation and recording of inspection tasks are as follows: Coating Library — creation and maintenance of the approved coatings by supplier Coating System — creation of the coating systems in use for different areas of the ship Register of Inspectors — details of all the inspectors allocated to the ship and their access permissions Inspection Regimes — individual inspection points that can be grouped together as required.

    Ship Structure — details of the ship with drawings and ship parts linked to the coatings Inspection Tasks — individual inspection tasks with record of completed tasks and links to rework Daily Log — additional inspection information recorded by the system administrator on a daily basis.

    To populate the relational database with the information required for the Coatings Technical File, key data is required for the different sections. The starting point is the coating library where all the coatings approved for use on the ship and particularly for the ballast tanks are entered. Each coating is entered and filed by Manufacturer, with the software creating unique identification for the individual record.

    Key information, such as manufacturer, product name and product ID together with mandatory detail such as nominal wet film and dry film thickness, nominal profile height, and nominal climatic conditions air temperature, surface temperature and humidity as detailed in the manufacturers technical datasheets, is entered here. The coating record has fields for notes and for the association of electronic files such as data sheets and reference documents and, where appropriate, a coating approval number.


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    • These individual coating record are issued and these issues can be updated as the ship build proceeds, if for example, the specification of a particular coating is changed, the change can be recorded and the record up issued. The software will then track tasks carried out using the first issue of the coating and the more recent tasks carried out using the up-issued coating material. The coatings are then arranged as systems using the Coating System function. Each coating system that is created has a unique identification and is stored by description and group.

      The group may be a ballast tank coating system, for example. The coating steps are then specified and this may be a stripe coat and two full coats using a particular coating with alternating colors to aid inspection. An individual inspector can be linked to a contractor and the record is password protected so that data submitted by the inspector has to be confirmed by use of the password. Inspectors can have their status changed and can become inactive if they are not able to work on an inspection plan for some reason, e.

      The Inspection Regimes function is used to group inspection requirements together for maximum efficiency. For example, if a surface were being inspected for profile then it would be sensible to consider inspecting for rust removal, dust, and oil and grease contamination at the same time.

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      By grouping the individual inspections as a regime the system will combine these tasks, while leaving the possibility of planning a single task if a rework is required, for example. Having set up the coatings library, the coating system and the register of inspectors the task of recording the ship structure and the ship parts needs to be carried out to provide a basis for planning the inspection tasks. They argue that financial decisions of the firm can affect real economic activity—and this is true for enough firms and View Product.

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