A Guide to Coating Inspection Process  

If you have a poorly executed coating, the cost of repairing it can be extremely high. Moreover, a failed coating may lead to serious operational issues including sudden downtimes. While applying an industrial coating, problems may arise during the pre-treatment and curing phases of the job. Please remember that perfectly executed industrial coatings can also fail in the long run. Several variables can impact a coating application process, including the material, environment, workmanship, etc.  

It is a highly skilled job to create an industrial coating that lasts for a long time. This also requires regular coating inspection at every step by trained and certified professionals. Coating inspectors test and guide the entire coating process and ensure that the job is performed in accordance with Australian standards.  

The Process  

The aim of a coating inspection is to detect defects, confirm the quality of the coating, and ascertain if it is in compliance with applicable regulations. Discussed below are the basic steps involved in the process of coating inspection.  

Pre-Inspection: Meticulous surface preparation is one of the key requirements to ensure that the surface is free of impurities. The surface is prepared as per the industry norms and coating requirements and may include chemical cleaning, mechanical surface profiling, and sandblasting. With a cleaner surface, it is much easier to spot flaws and assess the adherence of the coating.    

A thorough coating inspection also requires a proactive inspection strategy. This plan should outline the aims, prerequisites, and methods of the inspection. The plan also accounts for any specific project criteria or industry rules that should be followed.  

Execution: After the completion of the preliminary work, the coating inspection starts. The steps involved in this examination are summarised below.  

  • First, the coated surface is inspected visually for flaws such as gaps, breakages, blisters, and uneven application.  
  • The thickness of the coating is measured using coating thickness instruments to find out compliance with the required thickness. 
  • A set of adhesion tests including pull-off and cross-cut procedures are used to evaluate the binding of the coating to the surface.  
  • Finally, the profile of the coated surface is evaluated to check if it adheres to the standards. Instruments used for this evaluation include surface profile comparators and profile depth gauges.  

During the coating evaluation phase, inspectors look for many different types of defects and failures including adhesion failure, abrasion, blistering, bubbling, chalking, cracking, flaking, fading, mudcracking, orange peeling, sagging, rust staining, and more. In their report, inspectors not only mention the issues but also underline the probable causes of failure and suggested remedies.  

Documentation: Ideally, coating inspections should provide the groundwork for transparency and accountability and this is why thorough documentation and reporting are extremely important. All nuances of the inspection must be recorded so that there is no doubt or uncertainty. This information can be invaluable while planning future maintenance activities. Moreover, this reporting also allows quality control specialists to evaluate and analyse the findings of the inspection. 

At Coating Management Solutions, we provide specialised support for all types of coating inspection, identification, and failure analysis. We have one of the largest pools of NACE inspectors in Australia with a wealth of industry experience.