Restoring the World’s Largest Transistor

By: Steve Freed, Induron Sales Representative

For 44 years, Bell Works at Holmdel Complex, in Holmdel Township, New Jersey functioned as a research and development facility, initially for the Bell System and later for Bell Laboratories. Today, the site is the home to numerous offices, retail spaces, restaurants, businesses, and the World’s Largest Transistor. 

The “World’s Largest Transistor”

Invented by William Shockley and his assistants John Bardeen and Walter Brattain, a transistor is a miniature semiconductor that regulates voltage flow in addition amplifying and generating these electrical signals and acting as a switch/gate for them. Typically, transistors consist of three layers, or terminals, of a semiconductor material, each of which can carry a current. Proving to be more dependable and affordable and also producing less heat than the vacuum tube, AT&T immediately began replacing its vacuum tubes with transistors, which enabled clearer conversations with less static and more dependable components. The transistor also became the heart of the integrated circuit and of the computers and mobile devices we use today.  

The three-legged, saucer-shaped water tower on the property commemorates the invention of the transistor on the site in 1947. The water tower’s three legs represent the three legs of a transistor–the Collector (C), Base (B), and Emitter (E). The tower originally served as a hydrant tank but was taken offline a number of years ago when the water system was updated. 

As a symbol of pride for the community and the main attraction as you enter the long roadway to the Bell Works facility, the owner wanted to keep the tower looking fresh for visitors and the surrounding residential community. The tower was coated several years ago and power washed about 3 years ago. The owner only wanted a power wash (5000 PSI) and 1 coat of paint for this project with the plan being to either power wash and/or re-coat this tank every 4 to 5 years. 

Recoating the “World’s Largest Transistor”

Recoating TransistorAfter receiving a quote from U.S. Tank Painting, the owner decided to move forward with a full pressure wash of the tank and a single-coat system. U.S. Tank Painting was onsite to begin the project a week later with a tight deadline of completing the project before July 4th, when the area hosts a big fireworks show. 

The team was on site for 10 days total, but lost several days of production due to rain and high winds, which prevented them from working safely and effectively.  U.S. Tank Painting completed the power-washing of the tank in 2 days. It then took 1 week to roll the paint system onto the entire tank and get off site with 2 men working from a 180’ boom lift.  

The lift, pressure washing equipment, and other necessary outside equipment was supplied by Sandblast Solutions, Inc., a well-known and highly reputable company in the sandblasting and painting industry. The owner was adamant about trying to keep the lawn damage to a minimum so the crew did a great job of driving the boom in the same tracks around the entire tank through power washing and painting. Due to the high temps in the summer, it was decided to restore the lawn in the fall when it doesn’t require constant water.

The coatings solution

Coating SolutionBecause the tank is no longer in service and serves solely as a local landmark, keeping it aesthetically pleasing was of paramount concern for the owners. They were looking for a product that specifically retains gloss and color for many years as this tank sits directly in a large grass field receiving no shade. 

“We recommended Induron’s Permastic LV Polyurethane because we’ve had great success with it in similar applications where the owner was concerned with gloss and color retention,” said Ryan Poli, U.S. Tank Painting Project Manager. “This tank had minimal localized corrosion that allowed us to apply the Permastic directly over the steel with minimum surface prep.”

As a surface tolerant, Low VOC (OTC II compliant), high gloss polyurethane, Permastic LV Polyurethane was developed specifically for a single-coat overcoat. Plus, Permastic LV Polyurethane is a mastic polyurethane coating designed to provide corrosion protection of steel and properly prepared/primed concrete in moderate to severe environments. The mastic quality of this polyurethane allows it to be applied at up to 5 mils dry film thickness in a single coat to provide outstanding color and gloss retention for many years. 

“With any project, you always have concerned or curious citizens passing by, but we experienced nothing but positive feedback from the residents,” Poli said. “Almost every day, cars passing by would stop and ask questions or just simply thank us for helping to restore their tower to its beautiful original form. Most were extremely happy that we were not only power washing but also applying a fresh coat of paint.  Our crew loved working on such a unique historical tower, but the positive feedback we received every day as the work is being performed gave us an even bigger sense of pride to give the community a high-quality finished product.”Transistor

Contact Induron Protective Coatings for Corrosion Protection

With decades of experience providing coatings for valuable steel assets, Induron has the best coating for the corrosion protection you need and expect. We offer Reliable Protection Through Innovative Coatings. Contact us today! 

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