Don’t forget to put on a coat

Choosing the right coating cuts business maintenance costs

When it’s cold and raining you can guarantee mothers everywhere are arguing with their children over why they need to wear a coat to protect them from the elements. However, this good advice can do more than just protect against ill health, it’s something that can be carried across into corrosive protection in industrial settings. Peter Crossen, from the Maintenance Innovation Platform at NCH, explains how the right coating makes all the difference.

Just as you wouldn’t weather a heavy downpour of rain in just a light jacket without a hood, it’s important to remember that not all corrosion-preventative coatings will be effective for every situation. Selecting the right coating for specific applications requires careful deliberation of conditions the surface will be subject to, as well as the reasons for coating the product in the first place.

For example, a business that keeps its storage tanks outside must account for both the substance stored within the tank – often a liquid, which itself accelerates corrosion – and the weather that the tank will be subjected to. Instances such as this call for a permanent coating that can provide long-standing protection.

The benefits of a permanent coating are more than just longevity. Coatings designed to protect surfaces for extended periods of time offer a range of characteristics, such as high heat resistance to protect under extreme temperatures without sagging, supporting the strenuous demands of certain industries and environments.

If a particular surface is especially prone to rust and the ongoing process of treating and protecting is becoming a costly cycle, it may even be advisable to consider an all-in-one product. An encapsulating rust treatment solution offers a quicker and more cost effective approach by converting existing rust into a barrier, which then defends against further corrosion.

Don’t judge a product by its name

However, while the name may make it sound like the perfect solution, a permanent coating is not necessarily the best option for everyone.

Large mechanical parts that are being shipped globally, for example, won’t benefit fully from a permanent coating. A much more cost-effective solution in this situation to protecting parts in transit is to apply a temporary coating.

Temporary coatings, as the name suggests, are protective products that offer a sufficient defence against corrosion for a short period, often used by manufacturers to protect metal parts during transportation. They are usually oil-based so that engineers can apply a degreaser to easily remove them upon arrival.

At NCH, one of the biggest problems we find during surveys is that temporary coating products are under-utilised by maintenance engineers. As a result, equipment in storage is often placed there without sufficient protection. When the time comes to use that equipment again, rust has taken hold. By simply applying a temporary coating first, engineers can extend the storage life of equipment by months, even years, and spare themselves the cost of unexpected replacement.

Both permanent and temporary coatings have a role to play in the prevention of rust to enable a comprehensive approach to rust management. By knowing when to appropriately use each type of protection engineers can keep their assets safe from the elements no matter what the application. Mother would be proud!