Coating Fingerprinting Committee

Updated by IMM Coating Fingerprinting Committee on 5th November 2020




Background of IMM Task Force on Coating Fingerprinting / Coating Fingerprinting Committee Click Here

Can polymeric products have a MILL CERTIFICATE like metals?

Are QUALITY and SAFETY not a major concern in our industry and our daily lives?

Do we need a catastrophe or fatality to occur before someone says “we should have foreseen this could happen”?


Corrosion of METALS is known to be the biggest culprit in catastrophes and fatalities when they fail despite having MILL CERTIFICATES (FINGERPRINTS). Therefore, it is generally assumed that even with a Coating Fingerprint, paint failures would still be anticipated. The only known result of poor quality paint supply is the increase in costs of repair and maintenance.

IMM Coating Inspector Certification program was developed in 1990 to improve the quality of local painting inspectors. In 2000, IMM developed the IMM Blaster & Painter Certification program to improve the quality of blasters & painters. Despite efforts to improve quality in these 2 skill sets, coating failures continue to get worse. Thus, the oil & gas industry now realizes that the coating materials can be another factor causing the failures.

However, there was widespread perception within the oil and gas industry that certification of polymeric coatings was not possible because the expertise on spectroscopic analyses and interpretation of results for such purpose were not available back then. Hence, the provision of Coating Fingerprint Certificate for polymeric coatings supplied to the oil and gas companies did not materialize.

An industry-academia collaboration was initiated in 2013 by the IMM where the academic Council Members of IMM from various Malaysian universities in collaboration with oil companies, paint manufacturers, Fourier-Transform Infra Red (FTIR) instrument vendors and Coating Consultants came together (forming Task Force on Coating Fingerprinting) to solve an industrial challenge on fingerprinting of polymeric coatings.

5 public Forums were organized by the IMM between 2013 and 2019 to create awareness for the practicality of the fingerprinting of polymeric coatings. The IMM Task Force on Coating Fingerprinting completed Phase 1: The Application of FTIR spectroscopy as a simple and reliable tool for the study of reproducibility (i.e. to fingerprint) of the epoxy coatings (resin and hardener). The fingerprinting regions of FTIR for epoxy resin and hardener were identified and the confidence level of acceptance for QA & QC control was proposed at ≥ 0.900 under Phase 1 (2013-2014).

Phase 2 (2015-2016) involved the appreciation of the root causes of coating failures throughout the world and the adoption of the Coating Fingerprinting initiative by the Malaysian oil & gas operators as one useful QA/QC tool for ensuring coating quality. It also led to the establishment of the 1-day Foundation Course on Coating Fingerprinting and the 2-day Certification Course for Coating Fingerprint Quality Controller. The study concluded that coating failure is a combination of a number of factors which include:-

  • Surface Preparation of the substrates (blaster skills & techniques)
  • Application of the coatings (applicator skills and techniques)
  • Environmental factors (weather, temperature, humidity etc during blasting & painting)
  • Quality of paint materials including paints, thinners and additives.
  • Project production schedules and management (rush jobs can lead to failures)
  • Owner Specifications and Standards for paint systems and applications
  • Mechanical damage during installation and erection
  • Impractical design of structures and equipment for good painting
  • Blasting & Painting Contractors’ key performance index (KPI) on area of work completion

All the above contribute in one way or another towards coating failures throughout the world. This Task Force is tackling only one of the above contributors.

The 5th Forum presented the progress report of Phase 3 (2018-2020) which include the study of FTIR analysis on more coating products such as Inorganic Zinc Coating, Epoxy-Zinc Coating, High Solids Epoxy Coating, Polyurethane Coating, Glass Flake Polyester Coating and Silicone-Aluminum Coating plus comparison of aged (1-2 years old) products.

The progress on Coating Fingerprint Certificate in Malaysia is presented in Table 1.


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