Steel is everywhere in industrial facilities for a reason: it’s strong, durable, and incredibly versatile. That’s why you see it used for everything from rooftops and framing to pipes and equipment. When properly maintained and cared for, it can provide decades of use. But many steel structures are left exposed to the elements and are vulnerable to corrosion over time.
Corrosion, if left untouched, can lead to weakened steel structures and true disasters, such as roof collapse or equipment failure. That’s why regular inspections and maintenance are imperative for keeping your facility safe and productive. Discovering corrosion could lead to shutdowns, so stay ahead of it—especially if you’re part of a regulated industry such as food and beverage manufacturing or chemical manufacturing.
How Does Corrosion Occur in Industrial Settings?
Corrosion is an electrochemical process that requires oxygen and moisture. Metal structures have an anodic and a cathodic end, with corrosion beginning at the anodic end as ferrous ions are oxidized.
The anodic end then releases electrodes that travel to the cathodic end, where the electrons combine with water and oxygen to produce hydroxyl ions.
Those ions interact with the ferrous ions and create ferrous hydroxide, which rusts when exposed to the air. Therefore, any of your steel structures that are exposed to the elements run the risk of corroding. Those in rainy, humid, or marine environments are at higher risk, along with those exposed to caustic chemicals.
Preventing Is Better Than Replacing
Inspect your steel structures and equipment for corrosion at least once every year. Signs that it’s time to action include:
Fading or Chalking Paint: Paint that has become discolored, chipped, or flaky is a good sign it’s time to call an industrial painting contractor for an on-site inspection.
Standing Water: As mentioned above, water makes corrosion much more likely. If you notice standing water around the base of your steel structures or equipment, consider adding more drainage and call a contractor for help.
Existing Corrosion and Rust: If you notice corrosion and rust on your steel structures and equipment, don’t panic just yet. An experienced industrial painting contractor might be able to help you salvage it.
Once these signs have been appropriately dealt with by an industrial paint contractor, make sure you stay on top of routine maintenance. Doing so can help you get more life out of your structures and equipment and save you money on costly replacements. In the long run, protecting and maintaining your investment is always the more affordable—and safer—option.
- Paying special attention to steel structures and equipment that have needed repairs in the past.
- Cleaning or pressure washing structures regularly to remove any debris that could accelerate corrosion.
- Scheduling regular inspections with your industrial painting contractor to stay ahead of any new corrosion or damage.
- Reapplying a protective coating every 5 to 10 years.
Your contractor will be able to help you determine how often your steel structures and equipment should be repainted according to your facility, weather, chemical exposure, and industry regulations.
A&K Painting has years of experience helping industrial facilities protect their steel structures and equipment from corrosion. Reach out today to speak to an expert and schedule your on-site consultation.