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STRUCTURAL STEEL FAQ, PART 2 – WHY SURFACE PREPARATION IS NECESSARY



Structural steel components are used in many industries, including metal fabricator, steel structure construction and construction equipment, mining, shipbuilding, and the production of all kinds of heavy-duty vehicles, trucks, railway vehicles, mining and agricultural implements. In the construction of metal tanks, silos, bridges, building, ships, or production of equipment that must withstand heavy loads, steel is selected for its strength and durability.




To live up to its full potential and prevent premature failure, the steel must be guarded against corrosion with a protective coating. Laser blasting plays an indispensable role in preparing the steel surface for such coatings. Partnering with a Laser blasting expert such as ALFA LASER can help you determine the Laser blasting equipment and processing required for your structural steel components.


In a series of blog posts, Alfa Laser will answer the most common questions about the surface preparation and coating of structural steel.








We begin with a basic question: Why do structural steel components need to be prepared for protective paint coating?

The answer, in short, is for the best coating results and longevity.


Goals of Surface Preparation

If not covered with a suitable, protective coating, structural steel components are prone to rust quickly and fail with potentially catastrophic consequences.

The effective life of a coating of anti-corrosive paint applied to a steel surface is largely dependent on how thoroughly the surface has been prepared prior to painting.

Structural steel components requiring protective coatings include:

  • Beams (I‐beams, H‐beams, channels, angles, etc.).

  • Steel plates.

  • Round bars and pipes.

  • Weldments.



Preparing and coating the surfaces effectively increases their durability and improves their appearance.


Issues to Watch For

A variety of factors can create surface issues necessitating proper preparation before coating such as the steel rolling process itself and prolonged exposure to the elements, water, or chemicals.

Specific surface factors in need of attention include:

  • The presence of rust or mill scale.

  • The presence of surface contaminants.

  • Surface profile or roughness.







The presence of these and other contaminants on the steel surface can cause premature coating failure. Painting a surface with the wrong surface profile/roughness can also cause premature failure or drastically increase paint consumption.

To achieve good coating adhesion, the surface profile generally must become somewhat rougher, increasing the overall surface area.





Tools of the Trade

While numerous cleaning techniques such as sandblasting, hand and power tool cleaning, high-pressure water jetting, and degreasing are used for surface preparation, Laser Cleaning is the most advanced industrial paint preparation method for structural steel components.

This method does not utilize any consumables, very fast, flexible and is eco-friendly.









Surface issues for structural steel components vary greatly. Fortunately, users can rely on detailed standards describing the visual evaluation of surfaces and procedures regarding the correct surface preparation for coating and painting.


The most commonly used standards address different surface characteristics of steel components and preparation requirements:

  • ISO 8501 – Visual assessments of surface cleanliness, rust, and preparation grades of uncoated steel substrates

  • ISO 8502 – Tests for the assessment of surface cleanliness

  • ISO 8503 – Evaluates surface roughness characteristics of blast‐cleaned steel substrates

  • AMPP – The Society for Protective Coatings (SPCC) and the National Association of Corrosion Engineers International (NACE) have merged to for the Association for Materials Protections and Performance (AMPP)

  • ASTM D 2200 – Standard practice for use of pictorial surface preparation standards and guides for painting steel surfaces created by the American Society for Testing and Materials



The ALFA LASER Way

Whatever your structural steel needs are and your materials starting conditions, you can count on ALFA LASER to help you find a better way. Contact us today to discuss your unique challenges.


Laser cleaning is an innovative method that uses laser beams to remove Grade A, B, C and D ( mill scale ) by vaporization. It is clean, safe, and environmentally friendly, as it does not produce any secondary waste, noise, or emissions. It can also preserve the substrate, improve the adhesion, and create surface textures. Laser cleaning is suitable for high-quality and high-value applications, such:


Industries
  • Automotive Solutions & Autoparts

  • Process & Production

  • Military & Defense

  • Shipbuilding & Ship Repair

  • Aerospace & Air Transport

  • Steel & Metal Manufacturing

  • Building Restoration & Conservation

  • Oil & Gas Industries

  • Finishing Plants

  • Construction

  • Hydro Power

  • Infrastructure

  • MRO

  • Mining

  • Marine

  • Heavy Equipment

  • Remanufacturing

  • Aluminum Manufacturing

  • Stainless Steel Manufacturing

  • Transportation & Mobility

  • Energy

  • Railway

  • Cleaning Services




Alfa Laser Cleaning machine is a product of Alfa Laser, a company that specializes in laser cleaning solutions. It is a portable and versatile device that can remove mill scale from steel structures using a fiber laser source. It has a user-friendly interface, a flexible arm, and a fume extraction system. It can operate in different modes, such as continuous, pulse, or burst, and adjust the power, frequency, and speed according to the application. Alfa Laser Cleaning machine is a reliable and efficient tool for mill scale removal.





Sandblasting Alternative: The GreenBlast™


  • Easily and effectively removes corrosion, mill scale and coatings

  • Generates an anchor profile from 1 mils up to 4.7 mils

  • Creates a surface cleanliness equivalent to [ Nace No.1 ] [SSPC-SP 5, white metal blast cleaning) [ ISO Sa 3 ]

  • Is environmentally friendly. Alfa Laser Cleaning Machine Blasting does not use or produce hazardous materials

  • Doesn’t require an expensive or timely clean up after operation


Conclusion


A novel method for metal surface preparation to remove mill scale, rust & residues for the production and finishing of metal surfaces is the Laser Cleaning through ALFA LASER machines.



Contact Us Today!


Alfa Laser GreenBlast Inc.

190 Joseph-Carrier Unit 108

Vaudreuil-Dorion

QUEBEC, J7V 3V1

CANADA


Phone: +1 438-940-5020


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