• "Steel grid without balls...?" Huh, say what?

"Steel grid without balls...?" Huh, say what?

Your (coating) specification did not come out the way you had in mind?

The age-old adagio 'if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail' is oh so true, certainly in the world of industrial corrosion protection and protective coatings.


Depending on the source, research has pointed out that anywhere from 60 to 85 % of all premature coating failures are, in one way or another, related to "surface preparation" or 'preparation at large'.


And the very root of that preparation lies in the Coating Specification for your project.

Needless to say, if you do not specify correctly and unambiguously:

  • What needs to be prepared and painted (and what not)
  • How it needs to be prepared and painted
  • In what sequence
  • With what products (ideally generically)
  • What requirements do these products need to comply with (both coating & other related products such as abrasives, etc…)
  • What type of qualifications you're asking from all people involved (blasters, painters, metallizers, QA/QC -personnel, etc…)
  • The extent of quality control and/or quality assurance you need
  • Which measurements need to be performed (ideally all included in an Inspection Test Plan)
  • According to what standards
  • What are the acceptance criteria (because many standards don't inherently define these)
  • How many measurements do you want to be taken
  • What needs to be done in case of non-compliance
  • And so many more important topics

Then you're potentially already heading for misunderstanding, disaster, or litigation, even before the first square meter is blasted and coated.


As humourous as the 'steel grid without balls' example may be, it will probably be safer to adopt a more factual technical approach:

  • ISO version: angular steel abrasive in compliance with ISO 11124 and 11125 to produce a blast cleanliness of Sa 'X' according to ISO 8501-1 and a profile of 'Y' according to ISO 8503-2
  • SSPC version: Angular steel abrasive in compliance with SSPB AB2 and AB3 to produce blast cleanliness of SSPC -SPX with a profile of 'Y to Z' according to SSPC PA17

X, Y & Z obviously matched with the coating products intended and other relevant factors.


Also best not to forget when setting up to draft or upgrade your new-build or maintenance coating specification, always bear in mind the following aspect which is probably neglected mostly:

  • Do not think of the importance of the coating works in terms of "what is the cost of this in relation to the entire project?" (most often it can be as low as 1-5 %)
  • But better to think in terms of "what it will potentially cost if it needs to be redone if & when the coating fails prematurely?" (production stops, accessibility, environmental issues + the actual reblasting & recoating works) can easily amount to a multitude (anywhere from 2x, 3x, … up to 50x or even 100x) of the original cost (depending on the nature of the project).



  • over 25+ years of experience in coating inspection, consulting, and failure analysis
  • all-in-house inspectors and consultants being either NACE CIP Level 3, SSPC PCI Level 3 certified, and/or SSPC Protective Coating Specialists
  • as well as being very standards-driven coating professionals

By bringing SCICON worldwide bvba on board, you are adding the proper knowledge, experience, and attitude to help you maximize your coating specifications, immediately reducing both costs and risks involved with corrosion protection-related activities to all parties involved.


Did you know? That a new version of ISO 12944 was published in 2018, including a number of important new features and aspects, so now is probably the best time to revisit your current specifications and have them upgraded to the newest state-of-art.

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