Fusion Bonded Epoxy (FBE)
Fusion bonded epoxy (FBE) is a one part, heat curing (thermosetting) powder. Its use as a line pipe coating has been established for many years and the application of a comparable FBE material at the field joint area ensures compatible anti-corrosion protection for the entire pipeline length. Accordingly PIH has pioneered the automatic application of FBE to the field weld area. The automatic machines ensure repeatability of results for each field joint by accurately applying the appropriate amount of FBE material to meet the requirements of the specification. Hence material costs are reduced and little if any powder escapes to atmosphere protecting both the environment and the field operators.
The FBE coated field joints offer:
- Superior adhesion to the pipe substrate
- Stability and resilience to higher pipeline operating temperatures
- Stability and resilience to chemical contaminants in sub-soil or sub-sea environments
- Easy detection and repair of any holidays in the field applied coating
- No shielding of the cathodic protection system
- Good resistance to cathodic disbondment
- Total compatibility with the mill applied FBE coating
- Single layer or dual layer application, dual layer offering greater mechanical abrasion resistance
In single layer systems the powder is applied to the pipe by the on-pipe rotating machine in a fixed number of passes to a thickness of up to 800 microns (30 mils) and to a bandwidth of up to. For dual layer systems the second layer is applied during the gel time of the first layer of FBE with the same on-pipe rotating machine but via a different feed. A permanent chemical bond is established between the two layers of FBE, offering the best possible field joint characteristics. Typical thickness of the dual layer system is up to 1,000 microns (40 mils) and the same bandwidths as for single layer system.
For offshore and spool base applications, PIH utilise closed cycle abrasive blasting as well as a vacuum recovery system on the FBE application machines to ensure a clean and healthy environment in the vicinity of the coating stations.