Time, it's the one thing we all have less and less of these days. "Time is money" - is one of the most quoted phrases known to man. What if I told you time IS on your side and with Picote’s Brush Coating system, time really is MONEY!
Picote’s coating epoxy has many benefits, but the most important is ample working time to properly apply the material with precision. Coating the inside of a pipe should not be rushed and quality should not be sacrificed for the sake of time. We have designed the system to be simple yet very effective with all the ability to do a good job in the process. After all, if the material does not solve the problem in a sustainable way we have accomplished nothing. Sure, our Epoxy doesn't cure in seconds or even minutes, but that is because we have chosen NOT to trade a quality and verified application for a rushed install that will likely lead to problems in the not so distant future.
These are lessons that were learned early on in the European market as it pertains to coatings inside pipes. Though some claim to have spent a little time studying the coatings market abroad, Picote has been in the thick of it for many years and has solutions based on real time in the field. Most may not know this but, Picote means – pipe coating. It’s how Picote started and is the basis for all the forward advancements we’ve made as a company since the start. In the Scandinavian market coatings are offered as a long-term solution and have strict standards for the methods and materials used. No homeowner wants to rehabilitate their pipes every 5 years, so quality is key. As contractors ourselves we have had to deal with the ups and downs of the small diameter rehabilitation market. Real jobsites, real failures, real accountability. It's not always a forgiving business, but with the right tools and processes it can be done and done right.
Taking the hard lessons learned, Picote developed the coating process we have today. It's a simple and easy delivery system and when used with our Dual Coat Epoxy it's a winning combination for small diameter pipes that can't be easily lined with CIPP.
The Dual Color Epoxy allows the operator plenty of time to apply the resin with great accuracy. Small cracks, open joints and voids can all be easily filled in and covered with no rush. We can move freely through the pipe back and forth to visually verify we have everything covered. Our 2-color epoxy makes this possible. When coating cast iron or another pipe that is dark in color we use a bright white color for a perfect contrast that will let you know if you missed a spot. Just the same, when coating plastic pipe that is white or lighter in color such as stainless steel a dark gray coating would be used. Each coat applied thereafter would be of the opposite color for a perfect visual contrast and visual verification of application. Even the rookie coating technician can do it!
A final benefit that I will mention for now, is that Picote epoxy is premixed before it is introduced into the pipe. This is the MOST critical part of our coating process. The cartridges that contain our epoxy are perfectly filled with the exact amount of both components needed to create a quality blended resin. This is achieved by pushing the components through a static mixer evenly with a pre-calibrated mixing unit. The static mixer is engineered perfectly, with all aspects of the material taken into account. The viscosity, the amount, and the speed at which it is mixed are
all used to determine the end result. Because we mix the material outside the pipe in this way, we can guarantee it is mixed perfectly each and every time without question. The operator is in full control and can see it being mixed through the translucent mixer. Without this type of blending process there is no way to know for sure the material is being mixed precisely if done so inside the pipe. Possible ‘dead’ space such as joints and voids where the raw materials find their way into will leave the materials inactive. Unmixed material of any kind will lead to failure, delamination and possible leaks inside the pipe.
Some have referred to coating brushes with terms such as "static mixing brushes” or “active mixing brushes" but sadly there is no such thing as either. Go ahead and look it up if you'd like. In fact, the word static itself means no movement. So the idea of pumping two unmixed components into a pipe and relying on a brush to scientifically mix the materials with the imperfect host pipe as a vessel to do it in, is a real gamble and not one that Picote is willing to take! I saw this theory fail in an EPIC way recently at a tradeshow demonstration by a competitor. When after having coated only 5 ft. of pipe the brushes that started out clean, were completely full of “boogers” and globs of resin due to such fast cure times. Now how can it be that the brush will properly "mix" anything when it changes composition in only 5ft? Truth is it does not, and seeing the speed at which the hose had to be pulled out, it's clear work time and precision are not part of the process. Even CIPP resins are required to be mixed in a controlled environment for a certain amount of time with a visual verification of proper mixing. Imagine only mixing your resin for seconds before you pour off into your liner! Or better yet, just pour both components into your liner separately and try to mix them around enough to obtain just the right mix. It would be nearly impossible, so how could this acceptable for a coating process? Again, this is why Picote uses a verified pre-mixed resin before adding it to the pipe.
So comes the question of cure times. Sure, some coating materials can cure in seconds or minutes, but the delivery is sacrificed. Due to having a greater working window, we have a greater wait time. In some cases the epoxy can cure in as little as 1 hour with proper heat applied. This does mean longer wait times, but the quality of workmanship is not going to be an issue. Take it from us, it's worth the wait. The alternative is a big risk. Faster isn't always better when coating pipe. Quality preparation, ample work time and high-quality resin will be the difference between a huge liability or sound and sustainable finished product.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!