An Overview of the Most Common Industrial Coating Inspection Tools

After the application of any industrial coating or paint, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of work because this is not a straightforward process. The purpose of these inspections is to ascertain that the job has been performed properly, and the finished product or surface will perform as desired. Coating inspection may also be required in order to comply with different specifications. 

In the coating inspection process, various types of specialised tools are used by inspectors to perform a series of tests. These coating inspection tools are used to measure everything from atmospheric temperature to dry film coating thickness and surface profile. 

Mentioned below are some of the most common tools used by coating inspectors.  

Digital or Surface Thermometer: In order to find out the dew point of any substrate, its surface temperature must be determined first. Magnetic surface thermometers are thermodynamically designed, and capable of measuring surface temperature. The readings are more accurate for the sources that have a greater thermal mass. If the situation demands a non-contact option, an infrared digital thermometer can be used.  

Digital Psychrometer: These field-calibratable, hand-held tools are used for accurate measurement of relative humidity, wet bulb, dew point, as well as atmospheric temperature. In addition to sling psychrometer, the digital versions are used commonly nowadays. 

Coating Thickness Gauges: Dry film thickness (DFT) gauge and wet film thickness (WFT) gauge are two efficient tools for measuring coating thickness. Capable of measuring the thickness of a liquid-based wet coating, a WFT gauge should be applied during the application of the coating. In order to ensure high accuracy, DFT gauges should be applied only after the film achieves thumbprint hardness. 

Holiday Detectors: This non-destructive tool is used to detect thin points, holidays, and pinholes in corrosion protection coatings applied over metal or concrete surfaces. These tools are ideally suited for tank coatings or linings intended for immersion service. In case of coating systems over 20 mils, a high-voltage holiday detector is essential. On the other hand, a low-voltage holiday detector is sufficient for tests up to 20 mils. 

Micrometer Dial: In order to ensure proper adherence, some kind of profile is essential for all types of coatings. While preparing surface for alloys, steel, and other non-ferrous metals, micrometer dials are must-have tools, and are used in conjunction with a surface profile gauge and replica tape. When used in combination with surface profile gauges, they can measure peak-to-valley surface profile on curved or flat surfaces. Replica tapes, on the other hand, are used with micrometer dials for surface profile measurement of abrasive blast-cleaned surfaces.

Basic Camera: As a part of coating inspection, it is necessary to take photos before, after, and during the application of the coating. For this purpose, however, just a standard smartphone camera is sufficient. 

Telescopic Inspection Mirror: These tools are used for in-depth examination of areas that are difficult to access. They are highly effective in finding out imperfections such as pinholes, holidays, and others underneath inspection tanks, behind corners, or inside pipes. 

At CMS, we offer a wide range of services including coating inspection and failure analysis. Please contact our experts to discuss all your coating inspection requirements.