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Much has been written about the increase in coating thickness measurement requirements. The amount of required measurements is increasing dramatically and the administrative burden associated with evaluating the data has the potential to be overwhelming. Here we look at how technological advances allow for a much more streamlined approach to the reporting of inspections.By Peter Ho, General Manager of the Helmut Fischer UK subsidiary, Fischer Instrumentation (GB) Ltd

of the intentions of IMO PSPC is to define inspection requirements. This can be accomplished through what is called the Coating Technical File (CTF). NACE International has developed a standard that describes a ‘best practice’ approach for satisfying the CTF requirements of IMO PSPC. “The Standard Practice: Coating Technical File in Accordance with the IMO Performance Standard for Protective Coatings” stipulates that the information required by the CTF shall be collected, maintained and presented using one of four methods. These methods range from hardcopy system, PDF formats, relational and non-relational databases and any other system that meets the needs of the required Coating Technical File. SSPC-PA2 has been used for much longer than the IMO PSPC


regulations. Today, electronic dry film thickness measurement gauges such as the FMP® series manufactured by Fischer have the ability to take readings in accordance with both IMO PSPC and SSPC-PA2. Previously, inspectors would take the readings, handwrite the results and do the manual calculations to determine if the job met the minimum and maximum tolerances set in the specification. Using IMO PSPC as an example, the requirement states that the nominal dry film thickness (NDFT) for epoxy coated tanks is 320µm; 90% of all DFT readings must be greater or equal to 320µm. All remaining thickness measurements must be greater than or equal to 288µm (i.e. 10% of the NDFT reading). Since FMP® series gauges have the built-in IMO PSPC

measurement specification, the display of the gauge would clearly show if all of the readings were at or above 320 microns. If readings were not in conformance, the inspector would see how many readings were out of tolerance on the display. Areas can be named such as “Ballast Tank”, with a final results summary for all measurement areas. The inspector sees on the display the area being measured for easy correlation between the gauge and the inspection report. Measuring protective coatings in accordance with

SSPC-PA2 can also be accomplished easily by using the capabilities of PMP® series instruments. In this case, gauge measurements, spot measurements and area results all determine whether or not the application of the coating has met the minimum and maximum tolerances of the specification. In addition, the frequency of the measurements is determined by the size of the structure. When utilizing a feature such as the SSPC PA2 measurement specification, readings are grouped automatically including pass/ fail indications. A summary of each area, spot and even individual readings, can be viewed by the inspector right on the display of the gauge.

Common data transfer methods with gauge identification


urrent and new International Maritime Organization (lMO) regulations involving sea water ballast tanks, such as the Performance Standard for Protective Coatings (PSPC), are expanding to include crude oil carriers. One

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