How anti-corrosion coatings are protecting Melbourne’s tourist attractions

Melbourne, Australia’s
second most populous city draws tourists and locals to its vibrant cultural,
shopping and entertainment venues. One of the latest tourist attractions in the
cosmopolitan Victorian capital is the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, which
towers 40 storeys above the Docklands area of the city, and is the only giant
observation wheel in the Southern Hemisphere. The seven spokes represent the
Federation star on the Australian flag.

Preservation of this
impressive structure was paramount in the design specifications. A fast drying
polysiloxane coating protects the steel structure of the Melbourne Star and the
high-gloss white colour of the covering is the perfect reflective ‘screen’ for
the Wheel’s night time lightshow.

The Melbourne Star
is constructed from approximately 1,200 tonnes of steel with the components
fabricated by Alfasi Steel Construction in Melbourne and Haywards Steel
Fabrication & Construction in Tasmania, and then transported to site for
assembly.

Commissioned by
Sanoyas Rides Corporation, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel was developed
by an engineering team from Arup, Alfasi and Haywards. The Star officially
opened prior to Christmas 2013 and has already won a number of engineering and
design awards.

Managing corrosion
is a major challenge for owners of suburban industrial units or structures such
as the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Star. One of the proven ways to
protect an asset from corrosion is to physically isolate it from the
environment by applying a protective coating. Selecting and applying the
appropriate protective coating is a vital decision for companies and asset
owners.

The massive steel
structure of the Melbourne Star has been painted using AkzoNobel’s
International brand coatings. Instead of the often used three-coat system,
Brendan Mutimer, AkzoNobel’s Victorian Project Manager selected the company’s
two coat Interzinc 52 primer and Interfine 979 polysiloxane system. The
coating’s superior adhesion and fast curing properties helped to keep the
project on schedule without compromising the corrosion protection standards for
the job.

The coating was
spray applied to the complex steel sections after fabrication, followed by
touch-ups after the segments were assembled on site. The fast curing
performance of the coating allowed an almost uninterrupted process of
application.

Mutimer attributed
the success of the project to true team effort across the business including strategic
collaboration on detailed specifications, warranties, maintenance plans, site
visits and meetings, random inspections, problem solving and uninterrupted
product supply.

The polysiloxane
topcoat has been named Melbourne Star Observation Wheel White, after the
original colour specification. AkzoNobel has been commended for the accuracy of
the colour match and for the long term colour and gloss retention the topcoat
will provide.

The Australasian Corrosion Association (ACA) is a not-for-profit membership association disseminating
information on corrosion and its prevention or control, by providing training,
seminars, conferences, publications and other activities.

The ACA has been
involved in the writing and development of corrosion control standards since
the 1950s to assist members in assessing the most effective methods in reducing
the impact and cost of corrosion to various projects.