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Factors to consider when choosing a rust preventative

Rust Preventives

Rust preventatives extend the life of industrial equipment, including machinery and other metallic structures on site.

Fail to protect equipment against rust, and it could result in large repair bills, or the need to replace tools completely.

Just applying rust preventative isn’t enough – in order for the protection to work at its best, you must choose the correct formula.

In this article, we look at the various factors to consider when choosing a rust preventative:

Rust preventative types

It is important to match the right type of rust preventative with the right type of equipment.

First, let’s take a look at the different sorts of rust preventatives on the market:

Coatings – these are rust preventatives such as paints, lacquers and enamels. They offer the most durability, thanks to a thick physical barrier, but can also be harder to apply to surfaces. They demand additional work, such as priming and topcoats.

Oils – utilising synthetic and petroleum oil bases can inhibit corrosion and displace moisture.

Oils are usually for short-term protection, as they can be easily removed, and come in two types; penetrative oils, which go inside the crevices of metal to take out moisture, and displacement fluids, which work by pushing moisture off metal surfaces, then preventing corrosion and slowing the return of moisture.

Waxes – these provide mid- to long-term protection. Waxes offer surfaces good durability, but are hard to remove.

They seal metal surfaces, blocking the effects of oxygen and humidity that speeds up corrosion. You’ll find synthetic waves, which are chemically engineered for more adhesion and water resistance, and petroleum waxes, which can be blended with stabilisers for optimum durability.

Type of equipment

The application of your rust preventative; that is, the type of equipment you use it on, will also play a big part in your choice of product. The lifespan of the equipment, as well as the characteristics of the surface, should be considered.

For example, penetrating oils work well for parts such as gears and bearings; light duty oils and coatings are suitable for milling machines; wax-based preventatives are ideal for conveyor systems; light duty oils can be best for drill presses; specialised high temperature synthetic coatings can be the best choice for boilers; and so on.

Always check both the rust preventative product and equipment guidelines for advice on the best type. If in doubt, ask your rust preventative supplier for advice.

Below are some other elements to bear in mind when selecting rust preventatives.

Exposure to conditions

The environment where the industrial equipment is situated should be considered.

What kind of conditions are the metal surfaces of the equipment usually exposed to? Factors such as exposure to moisture and humidity, saltwater and chemicals all come into play.

Different rust preventatives are formulated to protect against different types of exposure, so ensure to choose a formula that is rated for the kind of exposure your surfaces are faced with.

Ease of application

If you have a choice between the same rust preventative in various forms, choose a product that is easier to apply consistently.

You can find sprays that make it faster to treat surfaces uniformly. There are also roll-on applicators and brushes that make it simpler to do the job. The larger the surface area you are treating, the more important it is to think about using an applicator, such as a spray, in order to cut down the treatment time.

The same applies to the mess of the operation. Some personnel are required to keep their hands clean at all times. These types of workers should be careful with high-quality rust preventatives that contain oils and waxes that can be tricky to wash from hands or clothes. Typically, preventatives that are water-based are easier to clean off skin or garments.

Food-safe environments

In food processing plants, factories and commercial kitchens, ensuring rust preventatives meet food-safe standards is critically important.

When production machinery, conveyors, stainless steel surfaces, appliance exteriors and other equipment come into contact with edibles, preventatives that are approved for food safety must be used.

VOC emissions

If you are applying rust preventatives indoors, you should be aware of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be contained within some formulas.

These VOCs can produce undesirable fumes with emissions and odours. For indoor applications, look for a low-VOC or non-VOC formula – water-based options are typically in this category.

Texture finish

Have you thought about the texture finish of the rust preventative that you are choosing? This can be a factor in how slippy a surface will be, and the aesthetics of the surface. You can find matte, non-reflective textures, or those that are waxy or glossy.

In this article, we’ve run through some factors to consider when you are selecting rust preventative formulas. To find the right rust preventative, prioritise these factors according to which are most important to your specific application – and remember, safety first!

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