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  • Dear Readers!

    If truth be told, we had all been hoping that we would no longer have to talk about Covid by spring 2021. Who would have thought that we would be spending a second Easter and a second Ramadan with no end to the pandemic in sight? The longer this situation continues, the more difficult it is to maintain the public and personal discipline needed to fight the pandemic. People are weary. They are fed up with having to go from one lockdown to the next with there being no real prospects of life returning to normal. And while infection rates continue to rise no matter what restrictions are put in place, the country’s normally reliable federalist system is beginning to reveal some weaknesses. Is it really helpful that the measures taken to tackle this global threat are decided on at federal state level? On the other hand, why should public life grind to a halt in a sparsely populated region with a low two-figure infection rate just because the number of people catching the virus is rising exponentially in an area several hundred kilometres away? There are no simple answers but at least we are fortunate to have almost 27,000 ICU beds here in Germany and are better prepared for the situation than many other countries. However, being forced to focus almost entirely on treating Covid patients, hospitals are finding themselves in a difficult financial position – to say nothing of the huge and constant stress levels that the ICU healthcare professionals are having to cope with. At least the Covid measures have led to a dramatic decline in all other kinds of respiratory illnesses. Fortunately, the strict hygiene measures have meant that we have not had to deal with a flu epidemic this year.

    The world tends to view Germans as being both extremely organised and efficient. Some may be reconsidering their opinion, though, looking at the speed – or lack of speed – vaccinations are being rolled out. Which once again brings us back to the subject of using the private sector to deliver essential services. Here, too, many problems could have been prevented right from the start if politicians had taken up the help offered by the private sector to support the vaccination campaign. It can be assumed that an international online ticket seller, one able to sell millions of tickets for rock festivals or worldwide concert tours within just a few hours, would be able to organise online vaccination appointments faster and more efficiently than the overworked local health authorities with their outdated IT systems – and certainly without their website crashing or without them having to develop new software first. Such offers, however, have been taken up by just a few individual public health offices and then only belatedly.

    Are things running more smoothly in the circular economy? This latest issue of REMONDIS aktuell takes a closer look at the differences between rural districts and cities. It is, above all, the rural district authorities that turn to the private sector for help in providing a number of services – both in the circular economy as well as in the area of water and wastewater management. This approach not only promises to deliver the best services at sensible prices. It also has a major impact on how efficient their sustainability efforts actually are. With local authorities facing both an increased financial burden caused by the pandemic and an urgent need to renovate their infrastructure, it is well worth taking a closer look at the situation. 22% of local councillors believe that their local business tax revenue will be at least 10% lower in 2021 than it was in 2019. The majority of district and town councils, 64% to be precise, are planning to increase their local taxes and/or charges. There is certainly room for them to optimise their business operations in the area of cost-intensive key services, such as waste and water management, by systematically putting these services out to tender, extending their PPP arrangements or founding a new PPP company.

    We hope you enjoy reading this latest issue. Stay safe!

    Yours, Ludger Rethmann

Paper-thin insulation

  • Today’s industrial coatings are highly complex systems that can perform a variety of functions thanks to their very specific properties. The latest example: an application that enables XERVON Oberflächentechnik to apply paper-thin insulation.

A highly effective way to protect against corrosion

A refinery in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. A white coat is being applied to the roof of a huge tank high above the ground. A measure to simply spruce up the tank it would seem. Appearances, however, can be deceptive. What at first glance looks like white paint is, in fact, a high-tech coating that has less to do with optics and much more to do with insulation and protecting the structure against corrosion.

Whether it is to curb climate change, grow energy efficiency or improve the quality of a product: insulation helps businesses to achieve their goals.

XERVON Oberflächentechnik, the XERVON Group’s surface technology experts, deliver a number of specialist services. These include coating the interior and exterior surfaces of industrial tanks. Up to now, this work has primarily focused on anti-corrosion and fire protection coatings or on applications that prevent a potentially aggressive material being stored in the tank from damaging the inside walls. A further service has now been added to this particular field: exterior coatings that contain special particles and have insulating properties, both of which help to maintain the temperature inside the tank.

Heat insulation as a coat application

Mascoat-DTI is at the heart of XERVON Oberflächentechnik’s new service – a coating material based on ceramic and silica and applied using airless technology. A coat just one to five millimetres thick is sufficient for Mascoat-DTI to create a thermal barrier that, depending on the area of use, prevents the contents of the tank from either losing heat or from being heated up too much by the sun’s rays.

XERVON Oberflächentechnik is currently using this innovative system for a remediation project, where a number of tank roofs at a refinery need to be coated and insulated.

Mascoat coatings are a relatively new kind of system and are still quite rare in Germany. As specialist know-how is needed to apply this material, XERVON only deploys teams that have the necessary skills and expertise to do this. This new type of coating is a perfect fit for the XERVON Group’s industrial insulation division, which offers high performance protective cladding insulation including systems involving mineral-fibre insulation, foam glass and Microtherm.

A perfect blend of advantages

By combining the two insulation systems (surface coating and protective cladding), the very most can be made of their advantages. Mascoat applications, for example, are a quick and simple solution for insulating areas that are more difficult to access with conventional forms of insulation. These include the areas under ladders attached to the outside of a tank or hard-to-reach weld joints.

XERVON Oberflächentechnik also sees these Mascoat coatings as being an ideal system for tank roofs. Insulating these roofs is a particularly complex procedure as they generally have a range of different fittings such as valves, air vents and air discharge outlets. Furthermore, a particularly robust kind of coating is needed here to protect the roof against corrosion – something that is automatically provided by the Mascoat technology. From time to time, employees also have to walk on the tank roofs. Roofs insulated with wool and sheet metal are more likely to suffer damage than roofs that have been sprayed with a coating.

Other applications likely in the future

  • As the coats required are so thin, XERVON Oberflächentechnik can also use this innovative coating system for plant components. This new coating is particularly good for hot environments where there is a high fire risk. What’s more, it makes sense to use the coating on areas that get particularly hot and that employees may get close to as it protects them from getting burned. Both aspects – fire protection and work safety – are drawing people’s attention to this pioneering application, especially when it involves applying heat insulation to industrial fittings. XERVON Oberflächentechnik is, therefore, likely to be using this new high-tech coating in a number of other areas in the future – not just on large-scale tanks.

    Mascoat-DTI is at the heart of the new service – a coating material based on ceramic and silica and applied using airless technology. Depending on the requirements, a 1-5mm thermal barrier protects the contents of the tank from heat or cold

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