CASE STUDY 1 - Offshore wind farms
Problem-solving in deep unfriendly waters - The offshore wind industry faces growing manufacturing, installation and maintenance (O&M) challenges as bigger components need to be shipped out to ever deeper waters and operate in adverse metocean conditions. Coating quality is an issue with major logistical and cost implications.
Howard Jess Solutions Limited has carried a large number of both Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assurance (QA) inspections - to ensure work is done correctly in the first place and then confirm this for insurers. In the last five years, the company has inspected more than 300 transition pieces (components ready for transit), jackets and OHVS (Offshore High Voltage Substation) modules.
Past projects have included Northwind, Riffgatt, Lichterduinen, Amronbank West and Buitendiek. Current projects include Gemini, where 150 transition pieces, two jackets and two OHVS modules have to be inspected for quality. The Glasgow-based specialist company is pleased to play a key role in the development and operation of one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms.
CASE STUDY 2
Antarctic ice-breaking with barely a scratch - Antarctic ice, rich in gravel and volcanic lava, grinds ships’ hulls down to bare steel - except with the aid of technology and Howard Jess Solutions Limited. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) RRS (Royal Research Ship) Ernest Shackleton, built in 1995, battles its way from the Humber to polar research stations every southern summer through up to 2.5 metre thick ice - facing "the harshest of conditions of just about any vessel afloat".
However, when the vessel was last dry-docked in 2011 in Denmark, damage was negligible. Part of the answer was an innovative long-term underwater coating and protections system called Ecospeed. The other was the inspections and applications skills of Howard Jess and his team.
With Ecospeed, the thickness is critical and application must be perfectly controlled. Howard Jess led the initial Ecospeed application of a 1,000 micron-thick coating in 2009. BAS Senior Marine Engineer, Stephen Lee, was so impressed with Howard Jess’ "diligence, his commitment and his professionalism," that he specifically asked Howard to be present in the yard for additional Ecospeed applications to the boat’s boot tip areas and rudder in 2011.
Part of Howard Jess Solutions’ impressive work was to show that the dry thickness around the hull was still 970 to 1,000 microns thick - very minor touch-ups were needed.
The same experience and dedication has been applied to many other vessels, albeit in slightly less vigorous environments. All in a day’s work for Glasgow-based Howard Jess Solutions Limited.
CASE STUDY 3
Keeping the world’s oil supplies flowing - DIY is not the answer for oil refinery catalytic crackers! When things went wrong on a major European project, Howard Jess Solutions Limited was called in to the strip off a poor coating that was beginning to crack, re-prepare the giant regenerator unit’s surface using the correct blasting media, and re-apply the right inorganic zinc-rich (IOZ) anti-corrosion paint to the approved vital thickness - all within eight days.
As a result, the expensive high-tech refinery component, which recycles spent catalyst at the heart of an ultra-efficient cracker system as it breaks long-chain hydrocarbon molecules into other constituent parts, caught its charter vessel on time from Belgium en route to Saudi Arabia.
Although tough modern coatings can protect metal surfaces for years in rigorous working environments, the preparation, application and monitoring stage can be critical. On Howard Jess Solutions’ recommendation, the only remedial option when the Belgian fabricating company tried to save time and money by carrying out blasting and coating themselves, was to remove the ill-applied coating system and start again, this time with close supervision throughout.
Fortunately, all’s well that ends well, which due its experience, dedication and willingness to go the extra kilometre on behalf of clients in a corner, is very much the Howard Jess Solutions’ corporate motto.
Howard Jess Solutions Limited provides advanced coating & inspection services to clients in challenging environments. We are a hands-on company working round the clock and around the world on tough assignments. But we are also a technology leader, with many awards and UK, Chinese and Korean patents.
Why are inspection and coating so important?
Coatings applied well today can save millions of pounds worth of easily-avoided future corrosion and downtime costs on expensive assets designed to work in rigorous environments that can be hard to access again once they leave the dry dock or construction yard. There are serious problems. But also sophisticated solutions. For example, the Howard Jess team routinely use advanced optically active paints and optical inspection techniques. These are a vital tool in ensuring consistently thick coatings and no vulnerable blind spots.
We recognise that technical innovation is extremely important in a robust industry.
Howard Jess Solutions Limited
The company was founded in 2003. We are NACE and FROSIO certified inspectors - with more than 100 years of high-level experience across 20 countries in commercial and industrial inspections, detailed specification writing and project management.
As such, we know that there is no substitute for time spent on site, in dry docks and constructions yards, and during repairs at sea. Knowing how to juggle tight timeframes against narrow weather windows is a crucial skill.
When we appear in a yard, we take no pleasure in telling 20 workers who may have been abrasive blasting steel all night that the job is sub-standard and must be done again. But we do when we have to. No ifs or buts. Quality cannot be compromised.
Fortunately, when Howard Jess Solutions Limited is called in early to consult on critical coating projects, we avoid these unpleasant situations from the outset.
These are large-scale projects! Clients have their hands full running their own daily operations. Our skills and resources mean that we can take full ownership of problems and delivery. That’s what we’re here for.
Quality Control (QC) & Quality Assurance (QA)
Two key terms that crop up regularly are ‘quality control’ (QC) and ‘quality assurance’ (QA).
Assurance - reassuring insurance companies that processes and best practice are in place to guarantee essential performance standards at all times - depends on competent systems being put into place. This includes good quality control while the work is actually being done.
Howard Jess specialises in both QC and QA - with an increasing demand from applicators and paint companies for professional QC support in making sure the job’s right in the first place.
We are used to visiting the same tank ten times over to see the same poor preparation and application. It tells us that there is minimal QC on site. Owners employ our team to tell them what is actually happening on site. We are an important link the QC and QA process. Our advisory and training roles are important too in passing on the benefits of our experience.
Howard Jess CEO
As an experienced NACE certified Coating Inspector and Registered Marine Surveyor himself, Howie Jess is the entrepreneur, innovator and driving force behind Howard Jess Solutions and an exacting taskmaster - particularly with himself!
A stickler for detail, he was previously Luminous Technologies’ Chief Technical Officer for ten years, with responsibilities for Health & Safety, REACH and manufacturing, plus a leading role in the development of ground-breaking painting and coating inspection and application systems. He worked closely with the US Navy (NAVSEA).
Well-known as an authoritative international conference speaker, he has also published many influential papers and reference articles. Howie holds SMART, Seatrade and regional Logie Baird awards.
"People joining us soon appreciate that we are a close-knit team who support each other. That is the way that it has to be," he explains. "We offer exciting roles with plenty of travel but there is heavy-lifting to be done too, sometimes literally! That is why our clients value us. They know we can be relied upon to deliver first-class solutions every time," he adds.
As a hands-on CEO, he travels regularly to inspect marine and heavy-duty industry paints and coatings - particularly during the application stage on site. In a past life, he was also Board Director for a major paint manufacturer, designing paint coatings and pigment pastes for more than20 years.
"You can only do the job we do well if you get down and dirty on site," he says. "But the rewards are there and it is what makes us unique. For the right candidates, it’s a brilliant career!" he says.
NACE and certified coating & paint inspections
NACE International (formerly known as the National Association of Corrosion Engineers) is a Houston-based corrosion control industry professional organisation set up in 1943 to focus on cathodic protection, coatings, inspection, corrosion testing, and chemical resistant material selection. It publishes standard practice, test method, and material requirement standards which are updated every five years. NACE certification is highly-regarded globally, as are its member training packages.
FROSIO is a Norway-based member organisation set up in 1986 to meet the growing demand for qualified and certified personnel in corrosion protection and surface treatment management, production and inspection. FROSIO formulates quality requirements for surface treatment and insulation inspectors. Its approval and certification scheme is recognised international. A principle aim is raising quality standards.
If you would like to discuss any problem or potential project where we might be able to help, please contact us directly. We regard all enquiries as urgent:
Howard Jess Solutions Limited
60 Strathcona Gardens
Tel. +44 141 4162621
Mob. +44 7733 944983
Currently working as an independent paint inspector specializing in the marine sector, Howard Jess is a NACE Level 2 Marine Paint Inspector and a developer of commercially adopted innovative coating technology who has published a number of technical papers and spoken at many international events.
Howard studied chemistry at the Glasgow College of Technology and has over 30 years of experience in the paint industry. He has overseen many Ecospeed applications, including the original coating of the British Antarctic Survey’s Ernest Shackleton in 2009, the Disney Cruise Line and Stena newbuilds in 2009 and 2010, and a number of other applications, small and large.
Ship Hull Performance (SHP):
What does an independent paint inspector do?
Howard Jess (HJ):
The main task of a paint inspector is to ensure that the client receives the best job possible. The client can be the owner of the asset, the applicator, or even a paint company. This can result in challenging situations when the inspector appears at a yard where he is not known and proceeds to tell people, who may have been doing the job for many years, that their work is unsatisfactory. If there are 20 workers who have been abrasive blasting steel all night it can lead to some 'difficult' discussions.
Inspectors are quality assurance, QA, for the client but more and more I see us as being used as quality control, QC, by applicators and paint companies.
When you’ve been in the same tank 10 times looking at the same type of poor preparation or application you know that there is minimal QC on site. Without a properly qualified inspector how does the owner know what is happening to his asset?
What is the paint inspector's particular value and contribution?
Immediately I would say their integrity and knowledge. If you buckle under pressure you are no good as a paint inspector. If you have only passed exams and have no on-site practical experience you would be as well staying at home. There are qualified inspectors, and well qualified at that, out there who have rarely been on site. Desk warriors not site dock warriors. I would like to see inspectors have a proven track record of on-site inspections before they progress up the professional ladder.
Please read more by downloading the full interview HERE