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The two-coat solution that reduced the cost of running a Melbourne icon

It’s been three years since Melbourne’s iconic observation wheel, the Melbourne Star, took flight, giving visitors a new perspective on the world’s most liveable city.

Bringing to life a major tourist attraction requires the latest thinking and technology and the Melbourne Star was no different. The wheel was the result of an innovate partnership between Sanoyas Rides Corporation, engineering house Arup, Alfasi Steel Construction in Melbourne and Haywards Steel Fabrication and Construction of Tasmania, and the world’s leading paints and chemicals company, AkzoNobel.

AkzoNobel was chosen to provide the coating because of its technical expertise in this area, having previously provided the coating solution for two of the world’s other four observational wheels, the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer.

Identifying a solution

What do you do when you are chosen to provide the coatings for a new Melbourne icon?

That was the challenge put to AkzoNobel’s Brendan Mutimer, Project Manager Victoria, when he led the coating of the Melbourne Star. Brendan’s answer – work collaboratively with project partners to design a bespoke and innovate solution for Melbourne’s newest tourist attraction.

Brendan recommended a two-coat solution, of Interzinc 52 primer and Interfine 979 polysiloxane topcoat system, instead of a traditional three coat system.

“Interzinc was chosen for the Melbourne Star because it provides excellent corrosion resistance in all environments, such as those found in offshore structures, petrochemical facilities, pulp and paper plants, bridges and power plants. And of course, Melbourne’s famous four seasons in one day. Whereas Interfine was used because it provides long-term colour and gloss retention – crucial for such a high-profile public attraction.

The two-coat solution also provided a number of production, time and labour efficiencies. This was particularly important as the majority of the Melbourne Star was welded and assembled on site.

The fantastic thing about the two-coat solution is that it provides the best possible colour and gloss retention. And the durability of the system ensures an extended maintenance lifecycle greater than 15 years, therefore reducing long-term operational costs for the owners,” said Brendan.

Painting Contractors, Action Alliance of Melbourne and McElligott Partners of Tasmania, were contracted to spray apply the coatings to the complex steel sections after fabrication, and later provided touch ups at the job site – both on the ground and after the sections were erected.

“The success of this project was a true team effort between project partners. Through strategic collaboration on detailed specifications, warranties, maintenance plans, site visits and meetings, regular inspections, problem solving and uninterrupted product supply, project owners experienced a seamless, first class outcome; and that’s something we’re very proud of,” concluded Brendan.

An example for other similar public attractions

Three years on, the Melbourne Star Observational Wheel has been a huge success. AkzoNobel’s two-coat solution will ensure an extended maintenance lifecycle greater than 15 years, therefore reducing long-term operational costs for owners. It is an excellent example of how innovative coatings, not only provide the best cosmetic finish, but can also help lower maintenance costs.

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