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Mastering surface preparation to protect Australia's bulk storage assets

Mastering surface preparation to protect Australia's bulk storage assets

For industrial applicators, coating oil, diesel and gas storage tanks is a common challenge that looks simple but is easy to get wrong. As well as the right protection, surface preparation is crucial. That's why Dulux Protective Coatings works with applicators and asset owners to specify a whole system and get the process right.

In Queensland's Central Highlands region, Jeff Burke from CQ Blast & Paint specialises in abrasive blasting and painting for the mining, transport and private sectors. He contacted our team for technical support to repaint four steel tanks storing diesel and lubricant on a farm near Emerald.

Dulux PC Territory Manager for Central Queensland Rodney Mann says all four tanks were in poor condition. Queensland State Manager Brendan Lichtendonk and Regional Manager for Mackay and Regional Queensland Allen Brookes worked with Rod to devise a two-coat system of Duremax GPE ZP and Weathermax HBR.

"We discovered that no surface preparation had been done before the existing coating. It was badly delaminating and corrosion had taken hold in several spots," Rodney explains.

The tanks were also covered in a wax residue, after being transported to Australia from offshore. "The wax wasn’t easy to remove. It took several attempts with high pressure hot water. The tanks were then blast cleaned to remove all existing coatings and rust outbreaks," Rodney says.

Thankfully, both products could be applied with an airless spray gun. Jeff used a 315 tip. The two-coat system enabled him to deliver the solution on time and on budget, despite the preparation involved.

"The Weathermax HBR provided a good industrial finish. Both products were easy to apply, which made the job much more enjoyable," Jeff says.

Known for its tenacious adhesion to blast-cleaned steel, Duremax GPE ZP was sprayed at a thickness of 125 microns. This general-purpose epoxy primer is enhanced with zinc phosphate pigment. It is applied to protect structures exposed to severe environments such as chemical plants, offshore platforms, refineries, ship loaders and coal wash plants. A QT Hardener can also be added for faster touch and handle times.

"The high levels of zinc phosphate provide inhibitive corrosion protection. In short, as the zinc phosphate chemically dissociates, the freed phosphate ions attach themselves to the iron surface. This forms an iron phosphate layer which inhibits the process of a conventional iron corrosion reaction, significantly delaying the rusting process," explains Rodney.

A single coat of Weathermax HBR was sprayed on at 75 microns. Often applied to ensure excellent gloss and colour retention over extended service periods, this high build polyurethane coating is suitable for appropriately primed substrates, such as mild steel, galvanised steel, concrete and aluminium.

Whether you're storing oil, diesel or gas, all bulk storage facilities will require regular maintenance to prevent corrosion. Get in touch with our team if your tanks need to be blasted and painted. We can help you get every step just right.

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