There are more than 600,000 bridges in the United States – half of which were built between 1950 and 1994, and many have served well beyond their intended lifespan. Age, surging increases in driving population, heavy loads due to modern shipping methods, and lack of funding for regularly scheduled maintenance are some of the factors contributing to the crisis our nation’s infrastructure currently faces.
One of the largest culprits behind bridge deterioration, however, is corrosion. The natural destructive process of corrosion occurs when the moisture present in the air interacts with the metal surfaces of our bridges and other industrial structures.
In order to prevent corrosion, we must limit the metal’s exposure to air and water. Regular monitoring and maintenance of our infrastructure is critical in protecting against metal deterioration and weakening through corrosion. But this process can by very costly. The better, more cost-effective strategy, is to prevent corrosion entirely by coating and maintaining bridges so that the need for repair is limited. The most common way to do so is through the use of protective coatings, applied by qualified craft workers. The Society for Protective Coating (SSPC) Coating Application Specialist (CAS) certification was created to address this growing industry need.
On Jan. 1, 2013, new quality standards took effect that required at least one member of every crew working on certain industrial painting projects to have completed the Coatings Application Specialist certification program. By 2020, just about every industrial painter will be required to carry some form of the CAS certification.
To help educate industry leaders on the effects of corrosion and the subsequent need for the new certification, the Finishing Solutions Network has teamed up with SSPC.org, NACE International, and Painters District Council No. 30 to host the FSN 2015 Corrosion Summit on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
“The CAS certification is the newly recognized standard of quality for facility owners concerned with avoiding and mitigating corrosion,” explains Steve Kulovits, the FSN’s director of business development. The goal of the CAS is to strengthen the qualifications of the current workforce and lay the groundwork for development of a strong industrial painter workforce for the decades to follow.
Used consistently and with the correct materials and application, this new method can prevent more costly repairs that would impact traffic flow and incur additional costs to our economy. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, it can be 14 times more expensive to replace corroded steel and other materials than to apply a coating during new construction.
“Using companies that employ Coating Application Specialists (CAS) sets a new standard for quality, safety, and reliability in industrial painting,” adds Kulovits. “The need for qualified craft workers is greater than ever, and the 2015 Corrosion Summit will address this need in great detail.”
With the implementation of the CAS certification, facility owners and specification writers now have a way to ensure that qualified craft workers are hired to perform surface preparation and coating application work, streamlining their decision-making process. Equipment and facilities can last up to five to 10 times longer when industrial coatings are applied properly by a trained, skilled workforce. Further, safety increases on industrial jobsites, as lead abatement, scaffolding safety, hazardous materials, and other issues are largely avoided by a trained coating workforce.
“Industrial painting has become a highly technical profession, with the introduction of more sophisticated coatings and application techniques,” adds Stephen Lefaver, director of apprenticeship and training and CAS exam facilitator at Painters District Council No. 30 in Aurora. “A CAS professional should be included as part of any project specification, in order to avoid costly repairs and prevent breaches in on-the-job safety.”
Further reinforcing the need for CAS certified industrial painters on every industrial painting job, the Illinois State Senate filed SB1281 in February, which authorizes the Department of Transportation to adopt rules governing corrosion prevention projects affecting eligible bridges. During the Corrosion Summit, Sen. Linda Holmes will address its impact on our nation’s infrastructure, and discuss in detail the actions our legislators are taking to combat the growing issue of corrosion.
When designing any structure, coating failures will likely occur unless they are considered during the design phase. While long-term structural integrity can be assured through corrosion protection, that protection largely depends on being delivered by a highly trained professional. Therefore, because the expertise required to apply industrial coatings without failures is beyond the training of most personnel, it is advised that design engineers, facility owners, and contractors include a Coating Application Specialist as part of any project specification.
To learn more about the impact of corrosion, and the subsequent need for the Coating Application Specialist certification, register for the FSN 2015 Corrosion Summit on Oct. 7.
Event information and registration can be found online at www.fsnil.com/corrosion.
9:30 am to 12:00 pm – Guest speakers
- Intro and Welcome – Steve Kulovits – Finishing Solutions Network
- SB1281 – Linda Holmes, Illinois State Senator
- Cost of Corrosion – Alicia Yust – NACE
- Importance of Surface Prep – Brian Kenimer – Blast-One
- Industrial Coatings 201 – Sean Meracle – Sherwin Williams
- Coating Application Specialist – Jim Kunkle – SSPC