Epoxy secrets revealed - re-worked product

What is re-worked product and why do some epoxy manufacturers cringe when people talk about it?

Re-working product is a practice some epoxy manufacturers use in the coating industry to dispose of a faulty batch. The idea is if a batch doesn’t fall within specifications, you can gradually get rid of it by adding as much as possible into the next batch.

How tight is tight enough?

Sounds logical enough I suppose, but in my opinion the practice isn’t a good one. As an epoxy manufacturer you should have tight specifications to ensure product consistency and if it allows for re-worked product then I would argue that specification is too loose (which, by extension, makes a faulty batch look even worse).

In my humble opinion, a product should be made the same way every time. If it’s allowed to vary too much within the manufacturing specifications then differences could start to show up in the application, curing or performance from one batch to the next. That spells one thing: trouble!

A Brookfield Viscometer is used in quality assurance for coatings.

Quality assurance not always a guarantee

So, is the practice of re-working product limited to small manufacturers? Surely a larger, quality-assured epoxy manufacturer wouldn’t re-work product? Right? Wrong!

Quality assurance systems are only there to ensure a product is delivered within a listed set of parameters every time. The manufacturers set how tight the specification parameters are to begin with and the procedures that follow a failed batch, so as long as they stick to their own rules they’re ok.

How to handle out-of-spec product

If re-working product isn’t the answer then what is? What should be done with a failed batch?

Instead of looking for a band-aid solution like re-working, you’ve got to firstly ensure the manufacturing process is tightly controlled and that preventable errors are not appearing in the first place. If a batch still fails for some reason, label it as such and find a project that can use the out-of-spec product as it is. This obviously means more work for the manufacturer, but if you know the project and the contractor is also onboard then you can still have a successful outcome.

Re-worked product is one secret that will make some epoxy manufacturers cringe...and I dare say some epoxy users too. Product substitution is another one that fits into the same category, but more on that some other time perhaps. Finally, if re-worked product doesn’t agree with you either, how can you find out if a manufacturer does it? Simply ask them and seek an answer in writing.

Take care and keep smiling,