Every year over 5,000 professionals from all over the world meet to exchange ideas, learn new trends and find solutions to one of the most under-rated issues of our advanced civilization: Corrosion.
Really? Over 5,000 people stop everything they are doing, travel across the oceans and talk about corrosion for a whole week? The answer is YES; and through this paper we will explore why; and you will never look at rust the same way again.
For perspective, let’s think about transportation. That includes vehicles of all sorts: cars, trains, airplanes, helicopters, ships and boats. We all know what a rusted car looks like, but we don’t always take into consideration that in harsh environments, some components may fail prematurely due to corrosion. Let’s not forget the infrastructure to run these vehicles – roads, tracks, docks, buildings. How about fueling these vehicles – oil and gas exploration, pipelines extending to your local gas pump. They all have one thing in common. They are all made of metal and metal alloys and as they age, the metal corrodes potentially leading to nothing less than a scandal! Think Flint, Michigan in 2015. When the water source was changed from city supplied water to river water, the river water did not provide the corrosion inhibitors typically found in the city water. Without inhibitors keeping the water pipelines from corroding, the protective layer eventually disappeared and the lead leached into the drinking water making the population of Flint sick.
If we haven’t made you go “Wow,” this really matters by now; let’s look at some numbers provided by a two year NACE International Impact study: $2.5 trillion – yes with a “T”- is spent worldwide on corrosion related failures and upkeep every year. As stated above, the issue is not limited to direct cost and replacement costs. The goal of corrosion prevention gets more critical when it is perceived from the perspective of public safety such as improved living standards that help healthier, safer and happier lives. The good news is that the corrosion management industry has the technology to prevent 15% to 35% of corrosion related costs. When implemented properly, global savings may reach $800 billion per year!
For successful corrosion management, key points may be listed as: Policy, Stakeholder Integration, Organization, Accountability, Resources, Communication, CMP Integration, Continuous Improvement and Performance Measures.
Since the early 2000’s, the Department of Defense had been building its own corrosion control management team to take advantage of such savings. The DoD operates vehicles and infrastructure across the globe with a total cost of corrosion for the DoD close to $20 billion per year. Over the past decade the DoD has managed to gain about 16:1 return on investment on proper corrosion prevention methods. From the DoD perspective, corrosion prevention has an added benefit: Readiness. At times of need, military equipment has to be ready for deployment. This is another indirect cost that is difficult to monetarize.
So, yes – over 5,000 or so corrosion professionals get together at least once a year to help better our lives; making it less costly, safer, healthier and advancing our civilization in to the future.
Sources: *NACE 2016 Corrosion Conference; ** NACE Impact report;