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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What is the Best Field Joint Coating?

     The business world we live in seems to focus primarily on one thing.  What is the cheapest thing that I can use?  This isn't always the case; and I am certainly being a bit unfair by saying that - but it is something I've seen again and again and again and again in the last 13 years (my time in the pipeline world).  For many decision makers; cost is all that matters: "buy whatever is's all the same." 
All Field Joint Coatings are NOT Created Equal
     So, when I do get the comment "I want whatever the best coating is - this pipeline is too valuable to scrimp on the field joint coatings" I tend to sit up and take notice.  Here is a person who cares about the future of this pipeline.  Here is a person who is committed to doing their best job possible; even if they are no longer with this company through the life of the line.  Here is a person with integrity.  Here is a person who cares about the long-term...not just about moving on to the next project or claiming that next promotion.

     In cases like this, where the request is for the "best" AND where we don't have an issue with elevated operating temperatures; the answer is clear.  The best possible field joint coating is ROCS.
High End Field Joint Coating
The ROCS heat shrink sleeve system is absolutely unmatched in the coatings world.
     What you see here is a picture of the ROCS shrink sleeve.  The pattern you see is the fiber mesh (which is woven between two layers of HDPE, heat shrinkable backing.  The other side of this sleeve is a high shear adhesive.  All of this is installed on Covalence's S1301M liquid epoxy which chemically bonds with the adhesive of the ROCS shrink sleeve in order to form a truly cohesive field joint coating.

     Since the ROCS shrink sleeve system utilizes both a heat shrinkable sleeve and a liquid epoxy bonding agent; it literally offers the best of both worlds.  The liquid epoxy gives the coating system superior cathodic disbondment properties and sheer resistance.  The fiber reinforced shrink sleeve gives the coating system excellent electrical resistivity properties; superior abrasion resistance and fantastic penetration resistance. 

     Like all things in life; you get what you pay for.  The ROCS field joint coating system is expensive on the front end, during construction.  But the truth of the matter is that leaks, repairs and corrosion problems are incredibly expensive.  Taking a line out of service can cost almost a million dollars per day (as seen here).  There must be a point where 'cost' is not the number one factor when selecting a field joint coating; are we there yet?

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