Shedding light on pipe coatings

The energy-reducing UV-curing technology has inspired OCAS to formulate novel internal coatings for steel pipes. With the help of high-throughput methodologies, a large number of experiments could be performed rapidly to accelerate this project.

Although UV-curing has become a standard technology for coating in many industries, its application to internal pipe coating is new. OCAS’s coating team called on its Material Research Cluster partner Flamac to speed up the development. Thanks to Flamac’s high-throughput platforms, a large number of formulations were rapidly applied and screened – using automation, miniaturisation and parallelisation – to fulfil the complex set of performances required by the targeted applications.

Finding the best formulation

All tested formulations were applied in one layer directly on blast-cleaned steel substrates, and then UV-cured for a few seconds before being submitted to abrasion resistance and hardness tests. Flexibility, corrosion resistance and chemical resistance were assessed by standard procedures on small samples. Given the technical complexity of the challenge, only a few formulations were found to fully meet all performance requirements. Thanks to the statistical correlations derived between the requirements and the coating compositions, the best formulations could be further improved to optimise the performance-to-cost ratio.

Saving time and energy

The UV-curing technology enables ultra-rapid curing at room temperature, saving considerable time and energy. Coating and curing the inside of a pipe in an effective manner is this project’s next challenge. In close collaboration with a UV lamp manufacturer, we’ve identified a novel approach to performing fast application that is fully compliant with the most stringent health and safety standards. OCAS has filed patent applications for pipes coated with the new coatings, the method for curing the coating, and a generic coating composition.



“Thanks to high-throughput methodologies and early involvement of industrial partners from all along the value chain, we have achieved a cost-effective and market-driven technology development. A new patentable and industrially feasible technology was developed by combining our industry expertise in UV-curable coating technology and formulation with our know-how in energy pipe applications.”

Philippe Legros, Staff manager, Surface department, OCAS