As a wind- and sea-battered island on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, outdoor structures in Ireland require a bit of help if they are to function properly and withstand the potentially corrosive nature of the country's changeable weather. Carbon Group, through its Paint & Equipment Division, supplies coatings solutions in Ireland, working to understand customers’ coating requirements and provide the most suitable coatings solutions for their needs. Operating in a wide range of sectors with global and international partner suppliers, the company has a strong technology base. “Renewable energy is an important growth industry in the Irish economy and we’re engaged in supplying coating solutions to this industry,” said Lee Haughton, head of the Carbon Group Paint & Equipment Division. “For example, we undertook a recent project with C&F Green Energy Ltd. The company required coatings for wind turbines – they specialise in manufacturing small and medium-sized wind turbines and typically supply them to farms located in some of the most exposed areas of the countryside, ensuring optimum electricity generation.” C&F Green Energy required a high degree of corrosion protection from their coating system and also exterior durability performance. “This was essential to protect their product range,” Haughton added. [login type="readmore"] WIND TURBINES [caption id="attachment_3784" align="alignright" width="1024"] Carbon Group's turbine coatings were engineered for durability in exposed farm locations[/caption] Carbon Group worked with C&F Green Energy’s engineers to find the most appropriate coating systems to meet their coating specification. Their bar was set very high to achieve anti-corrosion ISO 12944 C5M protection performance. Carbon Group recommended the AkzoNobel Interpon PZ 790 2-Coat powder coating system for the turbine chassis and coatings from the International Protective Coatings range for the mast and the turbine. Extensive testing was undertaken before these coating systems were approved and they are now written into the C&F Green Energy wind-turbine coating specification. “When specifying a coating system, it’s important to understand and specify the most suitable preparation and pre-treatment,” Haughton explained. “Otherwise, early failure of the coating system is likely to happen. We try to lead with new technologies – we’re introducing the latest Henkel Bonderite nano-ceramic pre-treatment technology to our customers and we’ve a number of projects in the pipeline.” According to Haughton, this pre-treatment technology can be applied at room temperature, saving on energy used. Far less sludge is generated compared with conventional iron phosphating and there are no phosphates or toxic heavy metals to deal with, which might otherwise affect the environment. “This technology offers improved anti-corrosion protection at lower film weights and, in neutral salt-spray testing, one thousand hours is easily achieved. Nano-ceramic pre-treatment has been adopted by companies such as Keenan Farm Machinery as part of a project to improve corrosion protection for their agricultural machinery.” THREE MARKET SECTORS Carbon Group’s business operates across three focused market sectors. These are buildings and infrastructure, original equipment manufacturers, and transportation – presenting system solutions for all substrates, including steel, aluminium, concrete and wood. “We’ve developed longstanding partnerships, allowing us to provide the latest technologies and strengthen support for our customers. Customer service is also a priority.” [caption id="attachment_3777" align="alignright" width="1024"] Dublin's Aviva Stadium is coated with Interpon D 1036, an architectural polyester powder-coating technology[/caption] The architectural sector is a major component of Carbon Group’s business, from powder coating systems with high external durability requirements to liquid paint cladding coating systems. The Aviva Stadium and Dublin Airport are both coated with Interpon D 1036, an architectural polyester powder coating technology with over 30 years’ real-time exposure track record and guaranteed coating performance. “In our sales and support team, we have fully qualified NACE [National Association of Corrosion Engineers] and FROSIO [the Norwegian Professional Council for Education and Certification of Inspectors for Surface Treatment] coatings inspectors, who have a great deal of knowledge about corrosion protection solutions,” said Haughton. “When we provide a coatings solution, it’s always fully supported by our technical team to deal with any problem that might arise.” Protective coatings from the International product range are available for applications required to withstand the toughest environmental conditions. Recent projects include coatings and technical support for the Corrib Gas Pipeline, which is under construction on the west coast of Ireland, where the environmental exposure is classified as an ISO 12944 C5M environment. This is regarded as the most highly corrosive salt atmosphere. For the oil and gas industry, Carbon Group provides Norsok-approved protective coatings with all necessary technical support for coating very high specification products manufactured for topside and sub-sea applications worldwide. Recent highways infrastructure projects have included coating solutions for sound attenuation barriers and the support structures for neon-sign display. Carbon Group is an approved agency supplier to the National Roads Authority and also presents coatings with approvals for the UK’s Highways Agency. FIRE PROTECTION “Our focus on specialist applications includes coating systems that provide fire protection for steel structures,” continued Haughton. “Guinness, for example, has recently refurbished its distillery warehouse. Fire protection for their structural steel was required in the water-treatment plant area and we were selected to supply the latest one-hour-resistant, low-loading Interchar 2060 intumescent coating. International high-performance protective coatings were also supplied for external racking. “Coating systems for buildings maintenance and repair are an important element of the Paint & Equipment Division’s product range, which was recently strengthened when we took on board the Rust-Oleum agency for the regions of Leinster and Munster.” [caption id="attachment_3779" align="alignright" width="1024"] Dublin Airport is coated with Interpon D 1036[/caption] The pharmaceutical and food-ingredients sectors in Ireland require high performance coatings that support the necessary stringent standards of cleanliness in those industries. The Rust-Oleum specialist range of floor-coating products, such as the two-pack epoxy 5500, are proving to be a valuable asset in these sectors due to their tough, hard-wearing and easy-clean surfaces, according to Haughton. “Our coating solutions include systems for wood substrates, where we supply specialist finishes for varying climatic conditions now experienced more widely across Europe. With a 20-year track record on softwood and hardwood fabrications in Scandinavia, one of Europe’s harshest environments, we’re introducing Sikkens 2-Pack Polyurethane Micro-Porous Primer XP650, which enhances adhesion and longevity of the coating.” CPD SUPPORT Carbon Group’s Paint & Equipment Division runs a programme of CPD support presentations for coatings specifiers. Staff provide seminars for architects and protective coatings professionals. “We also take care of our customers’ training needs by having a dedicated training and demonstration facility at our Cork Paint Centre. Here, customers can gain experience in application techniques for many of the coating systems we supply. Our field engineers also go out to customers to solve any coating problems or to provide application support.” Carbon Group headquarters is based in Cork and has been a supplier of intelligent solutions since 1967. The Paint & Equipment Division has three Paint Centres based in Cork, Dublin and Belfast, which provide local and national support.