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Protecting Pipelines Part 2 | Industrial Coatings

a conformal coating engineer making sure there aren't any defects in the coating

Mallory McGuinness | July 24, 2020

In industrial environments, devices are used to manage assets, optimize processes, collect critical environmental data, and improve safety. If a single component in an integrated network of industrial devices were to go down, it could cause superfluous downtime, present liability, and yield significant loss of revenue. Unfortunately, industrial environments introduce many challenges to the reliable operation of these devices, and pipeline environments are no exception. 

Pipeline devices are subject to several threats, including temperature extremes, humidity, pressure, vibration, and chemicalsIn Part 1 of the Protecting Pipelines Blog Series, desirable attributes for pipeline IIoT device coatings were discussed, namely water resistance and associated properties. In Blog 2 of this series, we will elaborate on coating qualities that can bolster pipeline protection so connected industrial devices can operate more reliably.

Chemical Resistance  

A coating’s chemical resistance is its ability to resist breakdown upon exposure to chemicals, which may corrode or otherwise inhibit protective coatings. Some conformal coatings exhibit more chemical resistance than others. For example, acrylics and silicones may be more likely to become corroded or even dissolve upon exposure to chemicals and solvents, while epoxies and Parylenes may continue to perform well after contact.  

 Abrasion Resistance  

For environments like pipelines where coatings will be subjected to damage by tools and equipment, and the movement of heavy loads, protective coatings should be resistant to shock, strong, and resilient. Abrasion resistance is the ability to withstand mechanical action including scraping or rubbing which progressively removes conformal coatings from surfaces. Abrasion-resistant coatings can maintain their original structure and appearance under these circumstances, leading to a longer life and more reliable protection.  

a printed circuit board experiencing dewetting

Weather Resistance  

 When coated devices will be under direct exposure to atmospheric elements and sunlight, the protective coating should be weather resistant. Pipeline devices will withstand elements including rain, sun, hail, chemical fumes, dust, and temperature fluctuations. To be reliable, the conformal coating protecting these devices must resist these conditions without losing protective qualities.  

Resistance to Microorganisms  

Coatings on hardware that operate in humid environments or come into contact with soil need to be resistant to attack by microorganisms. Fungi, molds, and bacteria can decompose conformal coating material, degrading their protective properties, and can induce corrosion of metal.  

Buried pipelines interact with the soil that is founding them. One cubic centimeter of soil can contain as many as 500 million bacteria and 50,000 fungi, leading to the need for coatings that can continue to perform well despite this type of exposure.  

Resistance to Extreme Temperatures  

 Finally, pipeline coatings should be able to withstand extreme temperatures. If a coating is incapable of performing well when subjected to temperature cycling, it will not afford the type of reliability required for an industrial setting. Some coatings perform better than others under temperature extremes, including silicone and Parylene.  

Talk to HZO About Protecting Your Industrial Devices 

 HZO produces industry-leading thin-film nanocoating solutions that are comprised of or based off Parylene, a time-tested conformal coating material with excellent protective properties ideal for industrial scenarios. Along with reliability, we bring global, scalable solutions to industrial device designers and manufacturers, with the largest coating chambers in the industry which can house the most substrates at once.  

 To see more about our industrial solutions, view our educational video series, or watch our webinar featuring industry expert Marco Machi. To find out more about Parylene conformal coatings, speak to one of our engineers today.  

Mallory McGuinness

Mallory is an electronics protection evangelist who writes content for HZO. In her free time she is reading non-fiction, and hanging out with her beta fish, King Awesome.

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