Corrosion Control and You: Why You Need a Professional
Corrosion doesn’t just eat away at your pipes and tanks. It eats away at your bottom line as well.
Between repairs and work stoppages, corrosion costs the industry more than $276 billion each year. Having a corrosion control plan in place keeps your piece of that pie as small as possible while protecting your workers’ health and safety.
You might understand why corrosion is bad, but how are you managing the risk of it in your plant? Let’s look at corrosion control and how a professional can help you with your management plan.
What Is Corrosion?
Dealing with corrosion requires understanding what it is and what causes it. While rust is what immediately springs to mind, that’s not the only corrosion type.
There are three common types of corrosion that industrial plants encounter most, including oxide corrosion or rust.
With rust, an electrochemical process takes place when metal is exposed to water. Over time, this changes the composition of the metal by oxidizing it. Paint is a common way of protecting metal from this danger.
With galvanic corrosion, two dissimilar metals come into contact to create an electrical reaction. Joins between different parts might encounter this type if no barrier is in place.
Erosion happens when the metal lives in an aggressive chemical environment, like in a water treatment plant that uses chlorine and various acids to process water. The chemicals wear way at the metal surface’s protective coating over time.
Corrosion Control Plan
When it comes to corrosion, most industrial plants deploy one or more of the most common ways developed to deal with it.
- Material selection
- Cathodic protection
A few of these are things that should have been considered during the design phase. For example, building with metals that repel rust better than others, like stainless steel or aluminum.
The design considers the environment the part or equipment will be in – heat, moisture, chemicals, etc. For example, a lot of corrosion happens in crevices, so designers can look for ways to eliminate those as much as possible.
But for a plant manager, your job comes long after those choices are made, and you must control the risks posed by the design and materials after the fact.
For you, coatings and inhibitors become a big part of your risk management plan, along with regular inspections and maintenance. Specialized coatings can abate or prevent corrosion and are applied by electroplating, painting, or welded overlays.
Coatings work in one of two ways:
- A physical barrier separating the material being protected from its environment like a synthetic resin or urethane
- A sacrificial coating that corrodes instead of the base metal like zinc in galvanizing
Preventative maintenance plays a big role because corrosion is natural and inevitable no matter how well you prevent it. Water is the biggest enemy, so keeping your metal parts clean and dry can help there. Regular inspection of coatings for scratches or nicks allows you get to ahead of a problem by scheduling retreatment early.
Hiring a Corrosion Pro
A corrosion professional is a great place to get advice and tips on corrosion control, in addition to taking care of leaks and repairs that happen due to corrosion. Among the things you might count on them for would be:
- Determine the best plan for dealing with current corrosion
- Identify design issues to correct
- Identify material changes to reduce risk
- Choose the right linings and coatings to prevent
- Develop a maintenance and monitoring plan for further prevention
Get a Corrosion Control Plan
When it comes to corrosion control, your best plan is to be as proactive as possible to keep corrosion in check. Taking steps like adding protective coatings and doing regular inspections can protect your machinery and equipment from damage.
If you need to get advice on dealing with corrosion in your plant, contact us for help. Our proprietary methods allow us to do work without shutting down your system and repair the leak damage caused by corrosion.