Applications for industrial lining solutions provider Groupline Projects’ (GLP’s) Armacoat and Armasteel composite repair systems seem to be “unlimited”, as the company embarks on a quest to tailor the repair solutions – tried and tested in the mining sector – for other industries, says GLP GM Barnard van Loggernberg.
“The products were introduced to the mining industry in 2008, but, at that point, we focused on only a few applications to prove the effectiveness of the products. With time, we have observed their potential for a range of applications and the solutions now boast a varied record of success stories where significant cost-savings have been made.”
Adopted from the aviation industry, GLP’s locally developed Armacoat and Armasteel products were initially marketed as a unique alternative to welding for steel-based repairs in equipment such as tanks, vessels and pipes, Van Loggernberg explains. However, by varying the composition of the solutions, GLP has proven the success of the products for concrete applications and other structural repair scenarios. This includes corrosion and acid protection.
The Armasteel and Armacoat solutions, which were developed from aerospace composite technology and modified for industrial use, provide a resilient coating for repairs. Composed of epoxies that are combined with high-strength fibres, the solutions can achieve tensile strengths higher than 900 mega-pascals (MPa) and compressive strengths higher than 550 MPa, depending on requirements, and provide a stiffness that exceeds that of steel. Armasteel and Armacoat can also be further strengthened by adding microfibres or reinforced using small quantities of carbon nanofibre. Adding fine silicon carbide and fine ultrapure fumed silica to the composites, moreover, provides high resistance for wear and corrosion.
“The coatings provided by the solutions are highly resilient and have – to date – proven to be completely durable, without a known failure. GLP Armacoat is used in standard repair applications, while Armasteel provides a more robust solution for structural steel repairs,” explains Van Loggernberg.
The recipes of the composites are continually being modified and new variations of the products aim to meet ever-increasing requirements for mechanical strength, stiffness and wear, as well as chemical resistance. GLP is also assessing the development of wet curable types of the composites.
“The focus is on rolling out the solutions to new applications and the possibilities in this regard seem to be infinite at this point. Improvement in adhesive properties is also high on our agenda. Armasteel has also been used successfully to repair safety-critical components, with good results. In fact, the designs can now be ratified by computerised simulations, such as finite element modelling and analysis, if required by the client.”
Van Loggernberg highlights that the solutions are also “very cost effective”, as they can allow for repairs to be carried out on equipment without requiring a production or process stoppage.
GLP – a subsidiary company of Wonderstone, fully owned by mining and investment group Assore – notes that market interest in Armasteel and Armacoat has been very good and continues to grow. The company is, thus, creating application hubs throughout Southern Africa that will further enhance the focus on developing these solutions for different applications. GLP has also embarked on an extensive marketing and training programme to further support the development of its products.