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Are Your Surface Profiles Making You See Red?

The Problem:

Marcus Paint Company offers a wide selection of custom formulated, high-performance, environmentally compliant coatings for industrial applications. Many of our clients manufacture a variety of products that are produced from steel.  Some of these include trailers for commercial use, commercial steel doors and frames, industrial steel storage cabinets, industrial steel wire safety cages and furniture apparatuses just to name a few. The steel used to manufacture these products have initial “substrate” conditions ranging from, no rust, smooth and clean to excessive rust, loose mill scale, and metal working fluid contamination.

We stress to our clients the importance of proper surface prep before the coating process.  The highest quality paint will not provide the appearance, quality, and performance required if the substrate being coated is not properly cleaned and prepared before painting.

The Solution:

Our Technical Account Managers work with our clients to ensure that the proper surface prep is performed before the coating process. Surface prep is only one of the Quality Improvement Training Initiatives that we develop and implement for our clients.  The initial condition of the steel determines the degree of surface prep that is required.

Though we work with many multi-stage Phosphate systems preparing Cold Formed Steel (CFS) or Cold Rolled Steel (CRS) substrates, it’s the other spectrum of SSPC-NACE preparation standards for addressing rust and mill scale on ASTM-A36 Hot Rolled products; angle, channel, I & H beams that present more challenges.

For ASTM-A36 applications, surface-profiles and rust removal are the primary considerations that need to be addressed; whether through minimal SSPC-SP2 Hand Tool Cleaning & SSPC-SP3 Power Tool Cleaning methods, or ideally, SSPC-SP5 / NACE 1, SSPC-SP6 / NACE 3, SSPC-SP7 / NACE 4, SSPC-SP10 / NACE 2 “Blast Standards” to present a suitable surface to coat.

In addition to the removal of rust and mill scale (a type of iron oxide that is formed on the surface of ASTM-A36 during the hot-rolling process, which will release with age and storage conditions); surface profiles are essential to understand in maximizing coating performance. Low surface profiles can inhibit adhesion and bonding strength, while high surface profiles (excessive peaks) will likely result in premature corrosion due to insufficient coating weight to properly cover the surface profile.

For these applications, we utilize and train our clients in the use of substrate Surface Profile Gauges to read the profile before and after the surface prep is complete. There are many options in the marketplace for these gauges, but we’ve typically used Defelsko PosiTector https://www.defelsko.com/product-categories/surface-profile and Elcometer 223 & 224 units https://www.elcometer.com/en/coating-inspection/surface-cleanliness-surface-profile.html due to their reliability, ease of use and durability in the field.

This information is vital so our clients can determine the amount (mils-coating weight) of coating(s) that is needed to cover the highest peaks recorded.  This is referred to as “film over peak”.   Failure to achieve this will result in early “red-rash” rust, which will only develop further in the marketplace.  Therefore, we provide Quality Improvement Training Initiatives, reporting and auditing measures to ensure our clients are meeting agreed upon standards of performance.

The Results:  

The importance of proper surface prep cannot be overstated. The more diligent the surface prep operation and process, the better the coating appearance, quality, and performance will be. The old (but tried and true) coating adage is that 90% of any good paint job is tied to the quality of the surface preparation performed.

Our clients are very pleased with the coating quality and consistent results obtained with our Quality Improvement Training Initiatives with proper surface prep being at the top of the list. 

Marcus Paint Company has and maintains a very proactive approach to all our client’s issues, needs and requirements. We continually evaluate our client’s coating operations and processes through regularly scheduled Technical Account Manager visits and constantly strive to improve quality and enhance their paint operations, processes, and procedures. 

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