How to Keep Machinery from Rusting
When iron or steel corrodes, it forms Iron Oxide. Iron Oxide is rust. Rusted machinery is not only dangerous, but it is also unsightly. If you have heavy machinery parts made of either of these materials, it is vital to prevent their corrosion. There are high chances of losing the corroded parts if they have too much rust. Rusted parts are also expensive to maintain as the rust has to be scrubbed and preventative measures applied. Furthermore, there are some direct and indirect losses that corroded metals can cause. For example, if someone is cut with a corroded piece of metal, they can get tetanus.
Before understanding the preventative measures, you need to know the factors that speed up corrosion. They are;
- Saltwater – moisture in general causes corrosion. However, the rate is higher when the water is salty. Machinery in or close to the coastal regions, therefore, experiences higher corrosion levels.
- Industrial smoke and fumes – Areas near industrial zones experience higher levels of corrosion. This is because the alkalis, acids and chemicals in the fumes serve as current conductors.
- Earth materials, soil and clay – The composition of the material will determine the rate of corrosion.
Here are a few ways you can prevent machines from rusting
Keep equipment as dry as possible.
This is not possible in all cases, for example for machinery that operates in water. However, for other machinery, store them in dry places. If possible, clean the equipment after use to remove any moisture.
Apply primers and coatings that are rust inhibitors
These materials will prevent direct contact between the metals and the corrosive substances. They usually do this in three main ways. The first way is they slow the rate of diffusion of air and water from the environment. Secondly, they reduce the diffusion rate of the corrosion products from the metal surface. Finally, they may have anti-corrosive pigments that make the metal highly resistant to electricity. In this case, they prevent moisture from reacting with the steel.
Four qualities to consider when choosing rust-proof coating;
- The aesthetic quality –Does the material to be coated have to look appealing?
- Quality of the coat –How long should the layer last before reapplication?
- Price – How much does it cost? Sometimes higher quality demands a higher price
- Environmental regulations – How does the layer affect the environment?
Use sacrificial metals
Some metals can be used to prevent direct contact between the metal and environmentally corrosive elements. The metal used serves as a sacrificial metal. Zinc and magnesium are examples of sacrificial metals that are frequently used
Use or rust preventive oils
These serve the dual purpose of lubricating the moving parts of a machine while simultaneously protecting the components from corrosion. They can be used both when the machine is in operation and during storage or transportation. Rust prevents moving parts from sliding against each other
Sometimes corrosion is inevitable. This is especially true if your equipment operates in humid areas. However, the steps outlined above can help you delay this giving your machinery a longer life span.