Ensuring the safety and integrity of assets within plants is one of the main objectives of industries today, the monitoring of these assets has become a fundamental practice within the industrial routine and the managers of large companies are well aware of the importance of that.

When we analyze plants in industries such as Oil and Gas, Pulp and Paper, Mining, and Petrochemicals, we realize that these types of plants have a very high degree of complexity in their process. These are production processes that involve high investments and that cannot be stopped suddenly.

Bearing this in mind, managers look for various ways to keep all their assets functioning in the most integral way possible, with their optimized useful life and ensuring the best possible safety for their employees. Continuous monitoring of industrial elements within this type of installation is essential for the entire process to work within the standards of operational safety and productivity standards.

 

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For an industrial plant to have a productive and safe operation, several kinds of technical integrity analyzes are required on various types of components of that operation, carried out through inspections, maintenance, online monitoring and often by specialized software in asset integrity management. However, as we mentioned earlier, the plants of basic industries have a high degree of complexity and are usually inserted in environments that are aggressive for equipment and components, making the corrosive process, even more, accentuated and fast, directly affecting the structural integrity of these components.

That is why companies pay special attention to corrosion monitoring within their facilities.

 

How does corrosion happen and what are its impacts?

Corrosion is a natural process that occurs in metals through chemical and electrochemical reactions between the environment to which they are subjected and the substrate. The type of material is one of the factors that have a lot of influence on the time of degradation and corrosion wear.

 

For protection, many components need anti-corrosion coatings or paints, so that corrosion rates are slowed to a minimum. Even so, because it is a natural process, the wear will eventually happen due to difficult control variables.

 

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Carbon steel is one of the most widely used materials within industrial plants for its technical and cost characteristics. On the other hand, it is also one of the materials that can be most impacted by corrosion. It is used in pipes, metallic structures, machines and in the most diverse components. Among the various possible forms of corrosion, atmospheric corrosion is one of the most common.

 

It is estimated that up to 50% of total maintenance costs are for the prevention of atmospheric corrosion. According to NACE International – World Corrosion Authority – the annual cost of global corrosion is $ 2.5 trillion, or 3, 4% of global GDP in 2013. Most of that cost is from the industrial sector.                                (PHILIP, A. SCHWEITZER, P.E. “Atmospheric Degradation and Corrosion Control”, CRC Press Book.(1999).

 

 

But how exactly does corrosion affect the operation of an industrial plant?

Commonly in industries, in addition to cost-benefit aspects, the types of materials are selected according to their mechanical and chemical properties. When corrosive processes occur in these materials, these properties can be altered, given that wear of the material affects its mechanical strength. An industrial component with a high level of degradation can result in failure and operational shutdown, becoming a loss of productive capacity, not to mention risks to the safety of people, assets, and the environment.

It is also noted that the lack of accurate monitoring of corrosion leads to the need for more frequent plans for maintenance and replacement of metallic elements within a system since the useful life of these assets becomes shorter due to the lack of preventive maintenance.

The guarantee of the safety of the people involved in the processes is another factor that should be taken into account by the industries when investing in corrosion monitoring, bearing in mind that equipment affected by corrosion has its structural integrity compromised, which can cause failures, and consequently, accidents.

 

How is corrosion monitoring done in industries?

Industries have adopted specific ways to manage corrosion monitoring within their facilities. Nowadays it is possible to access different types of data by offline techniques for obtaining corrosion rates, such as corrosion coupons, online techniques such as probes and sensors, and also specialized software.

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We also draw attention to specific hardware that also works in an integrated way with the corrosion monitoring techniques and tools of the plant. Corrosion coupons, for example, are metallic specimens from the same material as the component to be monitored, coupled with the installation and which allow calculating the actual corrosion rate in a given period of time.

corrosion coupon

 

There are also probes and IoT sensors in the Hardware category, which measure corrosion rates and communicate in real-time with a data center. That is, you can have access to information regarding corrosion on parts in real-time.

If you are not yet familiar with the concept of IoT just click here that we have more detailed content for those who want to understand more deeply and stay on top of the advantages of this technology in the industry!

Now that we know the importance of corrosion monitoring in industries and how good practices lead to greater quality control, lower maintenance costs and even greater safety within an industrial facility for operators, how about knowing what are the hardware that can perform this monitoring, how they work and their ideal applications.

Click here and find out now how industries use them!

indsutrial pipelines and valves with red wheels onInternal Corrosion Monitoring Solutions
oil pipelineHow is corrosion monitoring performed in industries?