Explanation of the standard
The ASME 13.1 Standard states that companies are required to paint and label their piping systems to identify the media being conveyed. Each media has its own designated color and marking nomenclature. For example, compressed air piping systems must be painted blue, labeled "Compressed Air" in white lettering, and have an arrow designating the direction of flow.
In addition to meeting the ASME standard, painting the piping systems provides extra protection against harsh environmental factors that weaken and deteriorate the piping. These factors include, but are not limited to; high humidity, direct UV rays, extreme temperatures, persistent salt spray, and physical stress.
To meet the ASME 13.1 standard and to provide extra protection, some piping manufacturers provide pre-painted piping options, but not all of these options are equal. To meet and exceed both of these requirements, look for piping that features a Qualicoat certified finish. Parker Transair has gone through the rigorous process to have our aluminum pipe meet the Qualicoat certification.
The Qualicoat difference
The Qualicoat certification body came into existence in 1986 in Europe. Formed out of several coating associations joining together, their goal was to raise the quality levels of material coatings in Europe. Today, Qualicoat has reached global recognition as the toughest coating standard. For a product to achieve Qualicoat certification, not only does the finished product need to pass the test, but also the coating process and materials used. Every region of the world has its own coating standard, but Qualicoat is still viewed as the toughest to achieve.
Comparing Qualicoat to the standard certifications side by side will show why a Qualicoat certified pipe is vital for your compressed air system. When looking at the process, for a pipe to be Qualicoat certified, the finished good, coating facility, and coating materials all must pass the certification guidelines. Under some certifications, only the finished good must pass the certification guidelines. To maintain Qualicoat certification, the manufacturing process must undergo an annual audit while others view this as an optional task.
A piece of compressed air pipe must undergo the same tests for both Qualicoat and regional certifications, but the pass/fail criteria is different. These tests are designed to test the coating’s adherence to the pipe under extreme circumstances. To test the adherence, the finished coating is crossed hatched, creating cuts in the coating, then exposed to various elements. If the coating does not come off during these tests, the pipe achieves certification. Prior to testing the adherence, the coating thickness is measured. For Qualicoat certification, the coating thickness must be 60 microns (0.06mm). For regional certifications, the coating thickness only must be 30 microns (0.03mm). After the coating has been measured, the adherence testing begins. For both Qualicoat and regional certifications, the piece of piping needs to withstand 3,000 hours in a salt spray test. In a simultaneous test, the pipe sections are submerged in a container of boiling water. For Qualicoat, the section of pipe is submerged for 2 hours. For regional certifications, the pipe is only submerged for 20 minutes.
Instead of paint or lacquer, the Qualicoat certified coating is powder coated onto the pipe. The chemical make-up of powder coating provides a stronger resistance to chipping and UV protection.
Qualicoat’s stringent criteria ensure the finished product can withstand the elements. This makes Qualicoat trusted certification in the construction industry. For compressed air piping, the coating will increase the durability allowing it to be used in most corrosive environments. Always consult with the manufacturer prior to installation to ensure compatibility.
When selecting an aluminum pipe for your compressed air system, remember to take into account not only the ease of installation but also the paint/finish on the pipe. A Qualicoat certified finish ensures the system will withstand the industrial environment for years to come.
Parker Transair aluminum piping has gone through the rigors to become Qualicoat certified for all diameters. (1/2" to 6")
For more information on Transair, visit our website.
This post was contributed by Guillermo Hiyane, product sales manager, Parker Fluid System Connectors Division.