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4 Commonly Overlooked Internal Tank Coating Project Details


When you hear people say “don’t sweat the small stuff”, they’re certainly not talking about internal tank coating projects. The integrity of the internal tank coating can be the difference between a successfully operating storage tank and a very dangerous and expensive situation. The surface prep, the coatings selection and the inspection needs to be just “right” to maximize the life of a client’s asset.

The following are some of the details that I commonly see overlooked. Do any of these points look familiar to you?

1. Color Does Matter
It seems counterintuitive, but color does matter on the inside of a tank. If you use a darker color, the chances of being able to detect a missed spot or defect become difficult. Using a white or light color will make the inspection process go smoothly and will make it easier for everyone involved.

2. What You Can’t See
We all agree that surface prep is important, but it’s not just about visual appearance and surface profile. For steel, you need to check for surface contaminants like chlorides, sulfates and nitrates. For concrete surfaces, it can mean checking the PH. Special cleaners need to be used if there is any contamination on the surface.

3. Spare Parts and Equipment
Even with regular maintenance and care, certain parts will fail on the jobsite. Does your project take these into consideration? Keep spare parts and equipment handy can be an additional cost on the front end, but is a necessity to ensure that the project does not become delayed due to an equipment issue. You don’t want your customer to lose money because they can’t put the asset back in service. Take an inventory of all the parts necessary, get the necessary back up parts and work with your manufacturer to ensure you understand the lead time of each part. For large or remote projects consider a backup equipment package.

4. Documentation
High quality photos from before and after the tank coating jobs are commonly missing. Photos can be used for case studies or other future marketing material or can be part of a package given to the end-client (Quality).

We wrote a tip article about this that might be interesting to those looking to improve in this area. You don’t need a very good camera to take good photos. Just look at these pros that were given cheap cameras to take photos. And remember, be aware of the working environment (ie. flammable gases) if you choose to use flash.

The Bottom Line
Being a good tank coating applicator is serious business. It involves more than just spraying and waiting for the coating to dry. It requires many different skill sets and an attention to detail second to none. If you see something on this list that you aren’t currently doing or you feel needs improvement, I would suggest you make it a priority to address it. In the end, it’s our responsibility to raise our standards and help move the industry forward.

TNphoto Tatsuya Nakagawa
Tatsuya Nakagawa is the VP of Marketing and co-founder of Castagra Products, a storage tank and wastewater coatings manufacturing company that is highly acclaimed for its sustainable coatings, cold weather tank and secondary containment coating applications, and its durable frac tank coatings. Castagra is used by the world’s top oil and gas field services companies.