BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Qatar Metals Coating Company (Q-Coat), the sole supplier of anti-corrosion epoxy coated rebar (ECR) in Qatar, has emerged as one of the largest producers of the fusion bonded ECR steel in the GCC region with the installed capacity of producing up to 100,000 tonnes per annum, said a senior official of the company yesterday.
Q-Coat, located in Mesaieed Industrial City, is a joint venture between Qatar Steel Company and Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (with equal interest). The company was founded in 1990 with a view to provide solutions to concrete reinforcement corrosion, which is one of the serious problems affected steel rebar in the region.
Despite having several benefits of using ECR in a building, especially in the below surface part of a structure (which is more prone to corrosion due to intrusion of seawater), the use of ECR is not very popular among the private builders in Qatar compared to other parts of the world such as North America and Japan.
Experts say that there is a lack of awareness and confusion among developers about the use of ECR as they are of the notion that the product is about 20 percent more expensive and provides lesser bond strength. Within the context of promoting the usage of epoxy coated rebar, a technical seminar was held here by Q-Coat yesterday, which was participated by experts and researchers from USA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Dr David McDonald, Managing Director of the US-based Epoxy Interest Group of CRSI, during his presentation, said: “The use of ECR in North America is very popular. The product was used in over 80,000 bridge decks (2013 NBI) covering over 89,000,000 sqm.”
McDonald said that apart from North America, the ECR is also the most widely used corrosion protection system in Japan, China, Middle East and India, where developers use it in many marine piers and other structures.
Referring to the findings of forty years of research, he said: “The field performance of the product has been excellent both in marine and deicing salt.”
Another expert, Dr Khalid Butt, Manager, Projects Division at Qatar Steel, said: “Given the benefits of the product, such as low maintenance cost and much longer life-expectancy of a building using epoxy coated rebar, we must compare the prices of ECR with the total cost of a project rather than just comparing with the prices of black bar. If one opts for using ECR in place of simple black bar, the project cost may go up by nearly two percent.”
Ali bin Hassan Al Muraikhi, Managing Director and General Manager of Q-Coat also stressed that the company presents practical and economical solutions for the protection of concrete structure against corrosion, by providing the high quality epoxy coated rebar, which is the most effective protection means, especially in the GCC corrosive environment.