The Ultracoat system was developed by Danny Warren of Warren Environmental in the United States approximately 15 years ago. Fernco Environmental has exclusive licence to supply the system throughout Australasia, the UK and Europe.
The system is suitable for use on concrete, brick, steel, vitrified and clay pipes, cast iron, asbestos, glass fibre, PVC and more. Essentially, Ultracoat can be applied to, and will adhere to, damp substrates, eliminating the cost and time spent on drying a surface prior to work. This means the potential for Ultracoat is virtually limitless; anything from manholes to man-entry pipes and tunnels, tanking to marine applications, culverts to petro-chemical plants and the food processing industry.
Ultracoat is used for the rehabilitation of a substrate, perhaps after longterm chemical attack, corrosion or just wear and tear. It can also, be used for future protection – as it will resist pH levels of between 2 and 14 – or for general waterproofing applications.
The system also has structurally reinforcing properties; independent tests by the University of North Carolina have shown that badly corroded concrete pipes coated with the standard 6 mm of Ultracoat have compressive strength of up to 20 per cent higher than new concrete pipes. In addition, the smooth finish also enhances flow characteristics of the pipe, ideal for when the speed and efficiency of liquid flow is a factor.Article continues below…
Ultracoat is applied via a patented spray delivery system, originating from a mixing vessel that pumps the epoxy resin through a hose line before being sprayed at around 60 degrees Celsius directly onto the substrate. Normal coverage is a 6 mm thickness but can be applied up to 20 mm without slumping.
The system also includes mastics, flexible versions, primers and fire retardant grades, all to suit many applications and all 100 per cent solid epoxy. Where a smooth coating is required, the surface can be struck off using a large scraper, float or brush.
Preparation is key to the success of the Ultracoat system. The standard routine includes:
* Power wash to remove all debris, scale, loose substrate and contamination; * Repair of any infiltration using the Ultracoat Sealguard or Hyperflex product; * Chlorine wash to remove any algae, fungal growth and bacteria not removed by washing; * Rinse down of surface area; * Acid wash to remove any carbonates, sulphates, and chloride. * Power wash, and a check of the pH level; * Blow off or mop up of any surface water present; and, * Application of the Ultracoat.
Projects in Australia
Fernco Environmental is currently working on an approval with a major Australian water company – the results are due in September 2009. The product was successfully used on the Liawenee Flume in Tasmania, and on the following manhole rehabilitation projects:
* Balina Shire Council * Redland Shire Council * Pine Shire Council * Nossa Shire Council * Gold Coast City Council * Gatton Shire Council
The main challenges arising from these projects were those of access, because in some cases spraying was carried out up to 100 metres from the vehicle. Infiltration was overcome using a number of techniques, in particular by using Fernco’s Sealguard (hydrophobic) and Hyperflex (hydrophilic) grouting systems.
A feature of paramount importance is that Ultracoat contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and is therefore safe to use in confined areas with only a face-mask required to prevent particle inhalation.
The high level of chemical resistance ,and therefore not needing to reapply and renew in the short to medium term, is virtually unrivalled.
In addition, the greater speed and efficiency of application compared with many alternatives reduces down time, costs and minimises disruption. Equipment is easily maintained and, due to the resin’s purity, there is no abrasion wear to the delivery system, resulting in the machine operating constantly if required.
Jon Crean, Managing Director of Fernco Environmental, said “Since we first started using the Ultracoat system, both we and all our customers have been delighted with our approach, the Ultracoat system, and the results.”