Four Ways to Prevent Corrosion in Industrial Components
Corrosion costs the manufacturing and production industry approximately 17.6 million dollars a year. We see it everywhere; on kitchen knives or the wheel well on a truck. Corrosion is a big issue. Corrosion occurs when metals react with natural elements in the environment to form oxides, hydroxides or sulfides. The most common corrosion cause found in manufacturing components is iron oxide. Ceramics and polymers can also experience corrosion but that rarely occurs before other forms of degradation take place. If we want to keep machine components running longer and prevent corrosion, there are four ways it can be fought.
Choose Corrosion-Resistant Materials
The most basic way to prevent corrosion is to ensure that components are made of corrosion resistant materials. These materials are typically, formulated metal alloys such as nickel aluminum or 310 stainless steel. The downside to this method is that manufacturing a component solely out of these materials is expensive and it is often hard to justify the cost due to the limited service life of the part. Also, these materials are typically unable to be hardened to a high enough hardness to avoid wear; meaning you sacrifice wear capabilities for corrosion protection. The part will have a good life versus corrosion but could easily fail from the everyday wear and tear of the production environment.
Protect from the Elements
As previously mentioned, corrosion occurs with exposure to the natural elements; usually water and air. To prevent corrosion, ensure machine components are away from unnecessary water sources and protected in a climate-controlled environment. This can be very difficult in the manufacturing industry since most components are used in harsh industrial environments. Most industrial settings involve exposure to water or other corrosive chemicals and materials. Down-hole tooling, for example, may not always come in direct contact with water per say but it will encounter drilling sludge and soil, both of which contain water and other corrosive materials. The same goes for pump components. This solution cannot always be implemented in every working environment.
Keep Components Clean
Beyond protecting it totally from harsh industrial environments, keeping components clean is another way to prevent corrosion. Removing the external materials causing corrosion can delay the chemical reactions that cause corrosion. Keeping components clean requires regular maintenance schedules and time out of production. Have multiple components stored on-hand so a component can be rotated out of service for cleaning, helps with downtime but it can be expensive to keep spares just sitting on the shelf. It is always a good idea to keep your components clean, dry and stored in a climate-controlled environment, but it is not always possible.
We cannot always keep components out of corrosive environments or take the time to clean them after every use. The best solution would be to purchase components made from corrosion-resistant materials, but that is not always financially possible, nor does it offer all of the performance needs there may be. A more economical solution would be thermal spray. Thermal spray can overlay budget-friendly components with corrosion-resistant materials. By adding a protective layer to machine components, it can prevent corrosion and even delay wear and erosion damage. Even if a component has already shown signs of corrosion, thermal spray can be used to repair the surface or stop the damage from continuing. Machining and grinding techniques can be used to remove the damaged material and replace it with a corrosion-resistant surface. Thermal spray is used as a protective coating on new components or as a repair and overhaul solution to previously corroded ones.
Plan for Corrosion and Prevent It
The best course of action for preventing corrosion in industrial and manufacturing components, no matter what, is to plan ahead. When purchasing equipment, try and purchase components made of high-end, corrosion-resistant materials. Use components in climate-controlled environments away from the elements, if possible, and clean them regularly. For most, the best solution will be to choose sustainable, budget-friendly thermal spray methods and materials to protect valuable components from corrosion. Whatever way you choose to protect your components, planning ahead is the best bet. To find out more about thermal spray and our services, contact HTS Coatings today!