Sustainability of FBE Coatings on Pipework and Fittings

By Philip Dawson MBA, Sustainability and ESG Advisor, Northpoint Ltd

FBE Coatings

Fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE) coatings are commonly used to protect pipelines and fittings from corrosion and extend its lifespan. FBE coatings are a form of thermosetting polymer, which means that they can withstand extreme temperatures, weather conditions, and corrosive substances. Moreover, FBE coatings can protect pipelines and fittings from abrasion, impacts, and pipe-to-soil interactions.

The sustainability of FBE coatings on pipework depends on several factors, such as its maintenance, quality, compliance, and environmental impact. Proper maintenance of the pipelines, fittings and coatings can greatly extend the lifespan of the FBE coatings and pipelines, as well as reduce maintenance and repair costs.


Maintenance plays a crucial role in improving the sustainability of FBE coatings on pipes. Some of the ways maintenance can help improve the sustainability of FBE coatings are:

  1. Early detection and repair of coating damage: Regular inspections of the pipeline system can help identify any physical coating damage (scratch marks, cracks, or corrosion), which if left unrepaired can lead to rapid deterioration of the coatings and subsequent failure of the pipeline. Repairing coating damage early prevents damage from spreading, provides longer service life of the pipeline and extends the useable life of the FBE coatings, therefore reducing the need for replacement of the pipe or fitting.
  2. Cleaning of pipelines: The FBE coatings are designed to adhere to metal surfaces effectively. In some cases, however, contaminants on the surface of the FBE coating can lead to increased pressures on the coating or increased localised wear of the coating.
  3. Proper record-keeping and data management: Keeping accurate FBE coating maintenance records of pipeline systems can help identify trends and modes of failure to make proactive improvement on efficiency and sustainability. Measurement of dissolved oxygen within the substance flowing through the pipeline is one way to improve overall coating efficiency and sustainability.
  4. Remarking and indicate possible areas for future corrosive activity: FBE coatings develop wear and tear over time but may also occur additional unexpected exposures to corrosive activity. Temporary remediation and repairing of exposed areas with proper remedial coatings may fix minor maintenance tasks to ensure a longer surface life-span.

Quality of the FBE

The quality and compliance of FBE coatings are important to ensure that they are applied correctly and meet the industry standards for performance and safety. FBE coatings are usually applied, tested, and certified by applicators who typically will hold a minimum of ISO 9001 Certification or independent organisations (usually referred to as Third Party Inspectors, TPI’s) to ensure their quality and compliance.

With regard to environmental impact, FBE coatings are generally considered a sustainable choice as they do not contain harmful substances such as lead, mercury, or cadmium. Furthermore, the application of FBE coatings typically requires less energy compared to other coating types, minimising its environmental impact.

In conclusion, FBE coatings have been shown to be a sustainable and effective way of protecting pipework and fittings from corrosion and other hazards. Proper maintenance, quality, compliance, and consideration for environmental impact can all contribute to the sustainability of FBE coatings on pipework.

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