Fusion Bonded Epoxy For Water Pipeline Infrastructure


Fusion bonded epoxy (FBE for short) and abrasion resistant overcoat (ARO for short) are well known in Houston for their uses in the oil and gas industry. Where they are not well known, however, is in the municipal water industry, such as pipes used to bring drinking water into our homes and sewage pipes and at water treatment plants. The municipal water industry is due for a big upgrade in the next few years. Using fusion bonded epoxy and abrasion resistant overcoats to protect pipes from corrosion will ensure the longevity of the pipes and the health and safety of the region’s residents. Water pipelines can be lined with cement after FBE/ARO applications.

FBE became commercially available in the 1960s, and in the decades since has become a true competitor in the industry for coatings to protect steel pipes and more for the oil and gas industry. It offers great corrosion protection and is environmentally friendly as it involves no solvents. This lack of solvents makes FBE in Houston the perfect option for the municipal water industry. When it comes to drinking water, you have to be careful that the pipes will not leech anything into the water that is hazardous to the health of residents. Typically, pipes are lined with cement mortar and spun at a high rate of speed to compact the mortar to the interior of the pipes. FBE, in combination with ARO coatings, exceeds many standards and requirements for potable water, and the corrosion protection is second to none.

What Is Powder Coating?


Powder coating has many uses in industrial, commercial, and residential settings, but what exactly is the process of powder coating? When looking to hire someone to perform powder coating in Houston services, it can be helpful to understand what exactly the process entails, which empowers customers to make the right decision on who they work with.

Although there are many variables that factor into the procedure, powder coating is simply an electrostatic process of applying fine particles of pigment and resin to a metal surface, most commonly through the use of specialized spray gun. Once the pieces are coated, they are placed into oversized ovens to “cure” with high temperatures, which allows the coating to “flow” and produce an even, smooth, and resilient coating. This coating is designed to resist damage from weather, physical impact, and other environmental factors that could damage important metal surfaces. Qualified and experienced shops that perform powder coating in Houston services will understand the process from start to finish, and are willing and able to explain to customers how powder coating can protect against damage unique to the Houston area.

Customers may be wondering why they should take advantage of powder coating in Houston services rather than a traditional wet coating. Since powder coating doesn’t require the use of a solvent, there is no drying time needed and achieving the right coating thickness is much easier with powder coating; additionally, the solvents used in wet coating can be harmful to the environment, which is not a concern in powder coating. Plus, since the coating actually integrates into the metal surface after abrasive blasting, a powder coated surface resists physical impacts and abrasions better than a wet coating.

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The Benefits Of Fusion Bonded Epoxy Coating


In any heavy industry, and especially in the oil and gas industry so familiar to residents of Houston, there is a strong demand for coating technology that protects pipelines from both internal and external degrading factors such as corrosion, chemical breakdown, and physical abrasion. Fusion bonded epoxy coatings, also known as FBE coating, have been a popular choice for this application since their introduction in the 1960s.

What is fusion bonded epoxy coating?

FBE coating is a type of powder coating consisting of a resin and a hardener which, when heated at high temperatures, causes the material to melt into liquid form and flow to cover a substrate to be protected. Once the surface is covered, the piece is allowed to cool, which sets the coating into a solid form. The process of curing and then cooling the powder coating is called fusion bonding. Fusion bonded epoxy coating is different from conventional paint coatings in that it takes advantage of a process called cross-linking in which polymer chains are linked together; this results in a stronger and more resistant coating.

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The Importance Of Corrosion Resistant Industrial Coatings


The industrial coating used to protect the pipes we use every day is not something that most people think about with any frequency. After all, most of us are too busy working and taking care of our loved ones to sit around and have deep thoughts about the pipes that deliver the fuel which powers our vehicles, bring clean water into our homes, and remove dangerous waste and sanitation. However, it’s clear that these are all aspects of modern living that society heavily depends on. Without pipelines moving fluids, many modern conveniences would be impossible, and therefore the protection of these conduits is not to be overlooked. Although many people are aware, few are familiar with the processes and materials used to protect the pipes that make their modern lives possible, such as corrosion resistant industrial coatings.

Among the various types of industrial coatings Houston, corrosion resistant coatings are some of the most common yet crucial. For the ever-important oil and gas industry here in Texas and the rest of the country, treating pipeline to be resistant to corrosion is a fact of life. According to the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, the cost of corrosion in petroleum refining is $3.7 billion in the U.S. annually—that’s a lot of money lost down the pipes due to mostly preventable chemical processes. The chemicals flowing through pipeline, as well as the high flow rate and volume of fluid, contributes to heavy corrosion across the industry. Recent increases in shale gas production have also offered new challenges in protecting pipeline.

There are multiple methods of corrosion prevention used in industrial applications, though its usage varies by the setting, environment, and type of material to be protected. Cathodic protection, commonly used in both onshore and offshore drilling operations, is one method of corrosion prevention which utilizes electromagnetism and chemistry to protect pipe. Corrosion inhibitors are also frequently used in the industry; these chemicals coat the surface of the pipe to form a protective film which then reacts with the corrosion-causing chemicals and interrupt the process. Among industrial coatings Houston, fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) has made significant gains in popularity. FBE is a powder-based coating which uses high temperatures to form interlocking chemical protection that is highly effective in protecting pipe and has seen increasingly widespread adoption as a protection method.

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Powder Coating Over Hot-Dipped Galvanized Steel


Used across a variety of industrial and commercial applications, steel is one of the most common construction materials used in the world today. As one might expect, its integrity is of the utmost importance when the metal is part of an erected assembly that cannot be “undone.”  Whether the steel is for bridges, light towers, or even the fire suppression systems integrated in every building, corrosion protection is paramount to ensure the longevity, dependability, and integrity of the metal substrate. Although there are multiple types of corrosion protection in the industry, one that sets itself apart is a duplex system of Powder Coating over Hot-Dipped Galvanized Steel. This double system of coatings ensures an impact-resistant, chemical-resistant, and corrosion-resistant formula that looks good as well.

Developed as a method for preventing corrosive agents from reaching the base metal, galvanizing is the process of dipping steel in a bath of molten zinc. Originated in 1742, galvanization has evolved over hundreds of years resulting in better application, adherence, and longevity standards.

Powder Coating over Hot-Dipped Galvanized Steel is the second phase of this resilient duplex system. Unlike its traditional wet-paint counterpart, powder coating takes advantage of its electrochemical bonds to sink deeper into the anchor profiles thereby creating a hardened shell. Hot-dip galvanizing provides the basic cathodic and barrier protection underneath while the powder coating handles the chemical, impact, and corrosive resistance on top.

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Axalta Nap-Gard® 7-2500 Fusion Bonded Epoxy – NSF Certified & HAP-Free


In the pursuit of bringing hydrocarbons to market, there are many obstacles, both natural and man-made. Some of these difficulties can be circumvented, but others, like corrosion, are unavoidable. As much as oil and gas production companies would love to dodge this process altogether, it’s a natural part of chemistry and physics, and it’s not going anywhere any time soon. Over the decades, many technologies have been created to resist or prevent corrosion-damage to pipelines. These pipelines are essential to the delivery of hydrocarbons, but are susceptible to corrosion damage from the heat, moisture, and abrasives that are often present in these working conditions. One such technology used in the battle against corrosion is fusion bonded epoxy coatings (FBE).

FBE coatings are supplied by multiple manufacturers. Axalta is a leading provider of protective coatings throughout North America, offering an array of high-tech FBE options. Axalta Nap-Gard® 7-2500 Fusion Bonded Epoxy is one such coating, designed to provide corrosion protection in the demanding oil and gas production environment. In addition, Nap-Gard® 7-2500 is used in transporting wastewater and saltwater, each of which present their own challenges that must be addressed.

Nap-Gard® 7-2500 is designed to provide protection for both internal and external surfaces of pipeline. The protection of both surfaces is important: internal surfaces are exposed to chemically-active hydrocarbons, while outside surfaces can be exposed to high heat, high pressures, and abrasives such as salt. The 7-2500 specification is formulated to withstand high temperatures of 107°C (225°F)—vital heat protection in the unforgiving oil and gas production environment. In addition to providing this protection for oil and gas applications, the product complies with NSF-61 specification, meaning that it’s approved for transporting potable water.

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Internal Pipe Coating – FBE Applications


FBE internal pipe coating is the preferred coating for many oil & gas companies as well as utility firms for sewage and water transport.  Its superior resistance to corrosion prevents the assault of chemicals onto the conduit thereby reducing the impact of rust from the inside out.  Because FBE coated pipes are abrasion, chemical, and thermal resistant, its suitability for a myriad of applications translates to a popularity that far exceeds other coatings.

The application of fusion bonded epoxy for internal pipe coatings provides long lasting resistance to corrosive materials and distillates.  Furthermore, internally coated pipes provide better flow efficiency due to the reduction in friction between the pipe’s surface and the gas, oil, or water that makes its way through the pipeline.  Moreover, several fusion bonded epoxies offer paraffin wax mitigation to slow down the build-up of the precipitate deposits that hamper these flow rates.

To prep pipes for the internal coating of fusion bonded epoxy, an aggressive media blasting is required so that proper anchor profiles are met to achieve maximum adherence.  A thin layer of phenolic primer is applied and dried before the conduit is placed in the oven to preheat.  Afterwards, the pipe is internally sprayed with the designated FBE to the required millage thickness before going back into the oven to fully cure.

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3M™ Scotchkote™ 134 – NSF/ANSI 61 & AWWA C213 Certified


The oil and gas industry of Houston quite literally powers the world. Houston’s geographical location on the Gulf of Mexico makes the city an ideal operational base for oil and gas exploration and production.  From the regional mineral-rich shale in the Permian Basin to the deep-sea reserves off Africa’s coasts, Houston’s domestic and international reach is expansive. A vast array of technologies and equipment contribute to the successful extraction, processing, and transportation of those hydrocarbons that power our lives. In particular, the metal piping and equipment that carry and process these fuels must be protected to ensure operational efficiency and environmental safety, and fusion bonded epoxy coatings are a key contributor to this process.

“3M™ Scotchkote™ Fusion Bonded Epoxy Coating 134” might not mean much to the average individual, but to those who work with protective coatings for the oil and gas industry of Houston, it means much more. Manufactured by 3M, Scotchkote 134 is a thermosetting epoxy coating applied to pipe and equipment through an electrostatic powder coating process. The coating is hardened or “cured” using large ovens to fusion bond the protective coating to the metal substrate.

Such protection is of utmost importance in the oil and gas industry, with the inside of a pipe being regularly exposed to corrosive hydrocarbons or heavily brine conditions. In fact, applied after Scotchkote 345 Liquid Phenolic Primer, Scotchkote 134 FBE offers excellent resistance to C02, H2S, CH4, and other petroleum distillates at elevated temperatures and pressures. Without proper protection, pipes require more frequent maintenance or replacement, and could even leak or burst—which is clearly a serious environmental and safety hazard.

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Fusion Bonded Epoxy Coatings And Applications


Fusion bonded epoxy coatings have been in use since the 1960s. Continuous improvements on the technology have made fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) a popular choice in coating technology across a wide variety of applications. Most commonly, FBE coatings are used to protect pipelines that carry petroleum and natural gas. Fusion bonded epoxy coatings, like all pipeline coatings, have a common purpose: protecting the pipeline material from corrosion, which is accelerated in these types of warm, wet, and abrasive environments.

The process behind the actual application of a fusion bonded epoxy coating may not be universally understood, but it does provide an interesting insight into the coating technology that benefits us every day – protecting the pipelines that deliver our energy resources and clean water.

The application process of a fusion bonded epoxy coating is multi-faceted. Before any coating is applied, the pipeline surface must be “prepared” by abrasive blasting techniques to remove all rust, grease, and other surface contaminants.  Not only will this create a clean surface for which the powder is applied, but also it will also create varying anchor patterns which will interlock the cured powder to the metal.

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