NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy officially re-opened the Norfolk Ship Support Activity's powder coating facility on board Norfolk Naval Station July 1, re-establishing the capability to apply corrosion-resistant, powder-based paint to shipboard equipment on Norfolk-based ships.
Originally closed in the mid-90s when the Norfolk Regional Repair Center was moved to Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the powder coating facility was re-established to make corrosion control capabilities more accessible to surface ships.
The facility is one of a number of maintenance facilities the Navy is re-establishing and re-manning, in an effort to improve intermediate level surface ship maintenance support.
The new powder coating facility will use a variety of powder coatings, depending on the type of parts or equipment requiring protection. The coatings are comprised of plastic powders and other durable materials, which, when sprayed or applied, contain materials that immediately bond to the surfaces of parts being repaired.
"With corrosion a relentless adversary, this new powder coating shop will help reduce maintenance costs and provide a much needed asset for our surface ships," said Commander, U.S. Navy Surface Forces, Atlantic, Rear Adm. Dave Thomas. "We've waited 16 years to get our intermediate maintenance facilities back on line and I'm delighted we're growing these capabilities, one step at a time."
Powder coatings can provide maximum protection to ships' components because they are applied in a very controlled manner using more optimal layers of thickness where needed, as opposed to paint, which is applied at a thickness that cannot be greatly varied. Powder coating, unlike a standard painted surface, is much harder and durable application that resists corrosion for a longer period of time.
Old paint is sandblasted from parts in a special booth prior to being given a fresh coating in the powder-coat spray booth. They are then placed in bake-on ovens to seal the powder coatings.
"By using powder coating, Sailors are able to reduce surface ship corrosion on a great variety of parts throughout an entire ship. Powder coating works especially well for the environments our ships face at sea. The coatings are weather resistant, making parts more anti-corrosive than other coverings, and they are environmentally friendly," said Norfolk Ship Support Activity production manager Ronnie Saunders.
For more news from Naval Sea Systems Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navsea/.