History. Service. Innovation. is Carboline’s new campaign slogan created to highlight three key characteristics of the St. Louis-based coatings, linings and fireproofing manufacturer.
“We pride ourselves on our 69-year history in the industrial coatings market,” said Todd Bonvillian, Carboline’s vice president of Sales Gulf USA. “Our history has allowed us to build strong relationships with our customers, which has been the key to our success. Our customers trust us and see us as a true partner in their businesses. Our commitment to service runs deep within Carboline. Everyone in every department does whatever it takes to ensure that our customers receive the best service in the industry. Innovation is not only a core value for us; it is also our future. In order to continue to grow, we have to be innovative with our products and how we get them to the market.”
Carboline was founded in 1947 in St. Louis when Stanley Lopata developed a product to solve a problem for a single customer. After almost 70 years, Carboline is still dedicated and committed to solving customers’ problems by providing high-performance coatings, linings and fireproofing products to 16 global markets.
Since 1947, Carboline has expanded to have over 25 manufacturing locations and numerous distribution centers strategically located around the world. In addition, Carboline has one of the most advanced global research and development facilities strictly dedicated to high-performance coatings, linings and fireproofing materials. The state-of-the-art facility located in St. Louis includes world-class development, testing and applications areas. The St. Louis lab serves as a technical hub to regional research and development facilities around the world. In 2014, the facility was expanded to include a new learning center. The Carboline Learning Center hosts NACE classes, Carboline fireproofing certification schools, employee and customer training events, and employee and customer meetings.
“The Global Innovation and Technology Center and Learning Center highlight Carboline’s commitment to the coatings industry,” said Dwayne Meyer, Carboline’s senior vice president of Global Innovation and Technology. “We want to create an environment that fosters innovation, learning and collaboration. We really enjoy being able to share our facilities with our customers and furthering coatings education.”
Carboline was founded on the concept of helping a customer, and it continues to find new ways to exceed customers’ expectations. Carboline’s history of success and expertise in the markets it serves has gained the trust of the world’s largest companies. Customers trust Carboline’s knowledgeable employees to make the right recommendations for the job and to support their needs throughout the entire project.
“Service is something we take very seriously as a company,” stated Jim Rippe, Carboline’s vice president of Global Fireproofing. “We understand our customers’ challenges in the market. Our ability to meet their needs provides us with a competitive advantage. We always go the extra mile to continue building these relationships. We view our customers as partners and value their business.”
Carboline has been at the forefront of many innovative technologies that have changed the protective coatings industry, and the company continues to find new opportunities to be innovative. In September 2015, Carboline released a Total Asset Management (TAM) iPad application to help customers plan their maintenance budgets, keep quality control documentation in a central location and have a history of the life cycles on all their assets.
A coatings survey can be performed using TAM. Based on the inputs, each asset is given a condition score. That information is then filtered into multiple custom reports, such as a paint schedule report or a cost analysis report. The paint schedule report is a detailed report of the condition of each individual asset and its maintenance and coatings costs. The paint schedule report can be used to pinpoint specific problems with assets and predict future issues. The cost analysis report is a top-level overview of the entire facility ranked by condition score and total surface area in each condition category. The cost analysis report can help define prioritization of maintenance painting budgets and understand the effects of neglecting maintenance. The goals of the reports are to help customers spend their maintenance budgets wisely to avoid larger, more costly issues in the future. It gives maintenance managers a playbook for how to budget for maintenance and repairs year-over-year. TAM uses an algorithm to predict coating system life based on the industry-accepted work by Gordon Breevort et al. The data has received minor adjustments over the years using actual field performance.
“TAM is a very robust and powerful program,” explained Bonvillian. “It has the ability to save customers a tremendous amount of time and money. It gives them access to all the information they need to know about their facilities at their fingertips. It allows them to stay compliant with quality control procedures and documentation, and keeps a detailed history on all their assets. It eliminates the need for paperwork and prevents customers from having to spend time entering redundant information into multiple programs. TAM is a truly innovative program that we are excited to bring to the industry.”
Carboline has also been busy innovating next-generation coatings and linings products. Insulative coatings are critical to protect workers from hot surfaces, provide thermal barriers, prevent condensation on cold surfaces, and protect storage tanks and vessels from solar heat buildup. However, traditional acrylic-based technology tends to have soft films that can be easily damaged and have limited to no chemical resistance.
Carboline focused its development efforts on creating a product that would have all the protection properties of traditional insulative coatings but with far superior physical properties and chemical resistance. The result was Carbotherm® 551, a waterborne epoxy insulative coating that has a variety of unique uses. Since Carbotherm 551 is an epoxy, it is more durable and has a longer service life than acrylics. It also has faster recoat times and higher film-build characteristics. It has good chemical resistance and is tough enough for foot traffic.
“Carbotherm 551 is a great product we continue to find new uses for,” said Doug Moore, Carboline’s vice president of Marketing and Business Development. “It has been used in refineries to protect workers and vessels, as well as in the marine industry on asphalt barges to maintain the heat needed to keep the material liquid. The result was lower fuel costs for the owner and the reduction of heat exposure to the crew working on the topside of the barge decks.”
Carboline has been developing tank linings for nearly 70 years and requires every tank lining product to go through extensive internal testing before it is released.
“We want to ensure that when we put a product out into the market it performs exactly as we claim it will,” expressed Mary Roley, Carboline’s vice president of Research and Development. “We are very critical on ourselves as to how we test our products. We test, test and retest to make sure the products work for our customers.”
Carboline has recently released two easy-to-apply workhorse tank linings: Phenoline® Tank Shield and Phenoline Tank Shield Plus. These two products are solvent-free and highly chemical-resistant, making them ideal for fuel, chemical or crude oil storage. Phenoline Tank Shield is easily applied with a single-leg pump. Phenoline Tank Shield Plus is applied with plural spray, resulting in even faster cure.
Carboline has also released Plasite® 4500 FS, a true low-temperature cure lining. Many linings will get hard at 20 F, but Carboline has developed one that actually cures. “Hard” does not necessarily mean cured; there is a difference. Extensive testing was conducted to confirm Plasite 4500 FS actually establishes chemical resistance when cured at 20 F (-6 C).
In extreme environments found in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries, high temperatures are not unusual. Coatings that can protect assets at these elevated temperatures are a necessity. Carboline has developed some unique high-temperature coatings that provide the protection required with quick drying abilities to handle properties and durability. Thermaline® 4000 is a self-cure, high-temperature-resistant finish that does not require heat for final curing. It can be applied over an inorganic primer after only two hours. The Thermaline 4000 is then dry to the touch in 15 minutes and dry to handle in two to four hours. This provides a hard, durable, high-performance, high-temperature system in four hours. Traditional inorganic zinc/silicone systems can take 28 hours or more to complete, and they often suffer damage in shipping. Thermaline 4000 offers speed, durability and excellent corrosion resistance, making it a perfect solution for customers needing to save time. To combat corrosion under insulation, Carboline recently released Thermaline Heat Shield®, an inorganic polymer reinforced with a unique blend of structural pigments. It is designed to protect steel under insulation, operating at a wide range of temperatures. Thermaline Heat Shield has fast drying capabilities to handle time crunches and superior handling properties when compared to the competition.
Carboline believes a combination of organic growth and acquisitions will position it well into the future. Carboline will also continue to focus on expanding its global footprint by entering into new markets and new regions of the world. Global customers want to do business with a global company, so it is important that Carboline has consistent products and service regardless of where a project is taking place. Carboline believes that expanding globally is the key to its success in the future.