How can paint and coatings affect the operations of a facility?

In terms of production, there are a few direct effects. When we consider the impact it has on health and safety, and budgets, the necessity for any potential maintenance works to be undertaken during shut down, the time factor starts to influence the operational efficiency and profitability of the facility.

1. Debottlenecking, increasing production and future proofing

When considering the operational costs of a facility, the initial investment in building it represents merely a starting point. Modifications and ‘add-ons’ are required to optimise the production and things that were not taken into account at the design phase gain critical importance.

Changes in feed stocks, raw materials and specification of output need to be considered. This requires pipes and valves to be adjusted for the new environment: from steel thickness and diameter to changes in temperature. If the coating cannot tolerate the increases or fluctuations in temperature, it will fail and lead to dangerous corrosion forms such as Corrosion Under Insulation (CUI).

By directly building in the design for the high temperature needed for debottlenecking, then this process can be carried out more frequently, thus optimizing the design capacity. By upgrading the coating system – an upgrade accounting for just 1% of the build cost - we can future proof against these incidents.

2. Extending maintenance intervals and avoiding shutdown time

Most of the maintenance is carried out during the routine shut down period (turnaround) of the facility because of the replacement of equipment, extreme high temperatures and hazardous exposure for the workers.

However, there can be an increase in the amount of maintenance work done during operational periods. For example, modern coatings can be applied at very high temperatures – surface preparation is not affected by the substrate temperature and insulation can be removed and replaced during operations – all assuming appropriate safety precautions are taken.

But it does not stop there. By using smarter systems the fire protection on vessels and support structures can be replaced more easily and with less of a hassle. This can be done at the same time as other painting works and all whilst the facility is still operating at normal standards.

Contrary to popular belief, a great deal of quality upgrades can be done during operational periods. Solutions that allow longer life time and improved performance can also be applied at either turnaround or during service. This helps reduce not only the need for repeat work but also provides the opportunity to carry out more maintenance works at that time and thus use time more wisely in the future. There are additional costs because of this, but these are minimal when compared to the total cost, not to mention the cost of repeat work.

3. Increasing safety

A tidy site is a safe site. This means not allowing corrosion to ‘take over’. Corrosion is not merely unsightly but it has also led to life threatening incidents over recent years. The negative effects of corrosion extends from receiving a fine, to public image issues and to a decrease in shareholder value.

Combining all these aspects in a simple but efficient paint or coatings system provides a cost effective, safe and profitable facility leading to increased production and improved overall profitability of the site. 

For more information, please contact our customer service specialist Kevin: kevin@jotun.com.