Last week, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced that it had concluded a fatal explosion at an Illinois manufacturing facility in 2009 was ultimately caused by unnoticed cracking due to corrosion at the facility. A high temperature tank exploded, killing one nearby technician. An employee standing over 200 yards away was struck by a flying piece of steel and severely injured as well. An investigation after the accident found that the tank had been slowly cracking over time due to improper protection inside the vessel. The company that owned the plant thought the material inside the tank would create a protective layer and did not perform inspections to confirm that no corrosion was taking place.
When most people think of choosing a paint, the first thing that comes to mind is choosing the color. Should the bedroom be beige or ivory? Should the trim be green or burgundy? Once the color is selected, the next order of business is deciding how much is needed (a quart, a gallon, etc.) and what gloss is appropriate. Flat, eggshell, satin… Most anyone who has ever painted a room has had the exact same conversation with the attendant at the paint counter about the differences between glosses.
Most people know that there was once a time that lead (Pb) was a key ingredient of paint. Lead was also commonly used in the manufacturing of toys, pipes, and even gasoline in the 20th century. Years of absorbing exhaust from automobiles using leaded gasoline even contaminated soil, making it difficult for plants to grow. Most people also know that lead poisoning can be fatal in adults and creates environmental issues for plants, water sources, and pets and animals. Even a minor amount of exposure to lead paint can damage the central nervous system and cause everything from headaches to stomach and digestive problems. Tragically, a high percentage of the severe health problems associated with exposure to lead paint happen in small children.
My friend Oscar spent years building a reputation as an excellent commercial painter. Living in South Texas, he had developed a niche business painting equipment in the oilfield supply sector. However, as competition increased, Oscar felt the need to lower prices to remain competitive. Oscar’s reputation for doing a great job turned in to a reputation for being inexpensive, and being inexpensive meant he had to race from one job to the next to generate more revenue instead of taking his time.
Early in my career as a professional painter, I took for granted the importance of consistency in the paint I was using. I suppose I never thought about the quality control processes that must exist to ensure that every gallon or quart of a paint produced at the factory maintained the intended chemical and physical properties. If the label said the formula and color were correct and the mixer said it was correct, who was I to second guess things?
Many tools take on peculiar shapes and sizes. Tools found in the industrial paint sector are no exception. One of the unique tools utilized by paint professionals is the Interchemical Gage. The interchemical, or “IC” Gage looks like a bulky pizza cutter to those that are unfamiliar with its proper usage. Interchemical gages are also sometimes known as Inmont Wet Film Gages or “Wet Film Wheels.”
Chances are good that you already know what viscosity is, but you’ve probably never needed to put the definition into words. Quite simply, viscosity is the measure of the thickness of a liquid. More specifically, viscosity is the resistance offered by a fluid to outside stress placed upon it. More viscous fluids are thought of as “thicker,” while less viscous fluids are usually considered “thinner.” For example, syrup is more viscous than water, and oil is more viscous then vinegar. Absolute, or dynamic, viscosity is the resistance a fluid offers to flow when placed next to another fluid moving at a given speed. Kinematic viscosity is the measure of a fluid’s absolute viscosity when divided by its density.
To a person uneducated about the nuances of commercial painting, measuring coating thickness may seem like a simple and straightforward task. In reality, there are a variety of ways to measure the thickness of an applied paint or coating.
It’s a story familiar to everyone in the painting industry: a small company wins a chance to make a big impression with a new customer only to see their hard work be for naught when they unexpectedly run out of paint. Despite planning meticulously, the team wonders what went wrong and how this costly mistake could have happened. It isn’t hard to imagine this hypothetical. A commercial painting company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa wins a contract from the local school district. The work was straightforward: repainting the classrooms of two elementary schools and one middle-school over a holiday break. The painting company agreed to provide the materials and the work to complete the job before school resumed. The job began without delay with each painter working to do the best work possible, hoping their commitment to excellent service would lead to even more work from the school district.