Cost of Rust

Corrosion is an expensive enemy causing losses running into billions each year for companies. Industrialized nations all over the globe are facing similar issues and this condition is being further aggravated by the increasing shift towards international shipping and purchasing. This is in turn aggravating the corrosion issue and increasing losses. With cost of resources and energy on a perpetual increase, cost of corrosion is bound to only increase.

These are a few challenges that all industries are facing especially fabrication and metal manufacturing companies. These companies require the implementing of cost effective corrosion reduction methods. In the present scenario, resources have to be conserved and rejection of products, reduced. Corrosion solutions have to be designed in a particular fashion, and implemented for the various stages of metal based products right from ‘in-process’, storage, and shipment.

Corrosion or rust can wreak havoc on the exchequer of any company. Rust issues  can completely stall your assembly line, cause a lot of re-work, prevent the successful completion of a Production Part Approval Process (PPAP), cause the customer to be unhappy and reject products that you have delivered, increase the cost of scrap, increase production delays, cause health and safety hazards and then equipment failure. Companies and organizations often do not realize the loss they are incurring due to corrosion and rust. It is not limited to losses incurred at present but also the loss of projects that could have been taken and delivered in perhaps less time than what has been taken for doing the repair work.

Various organizations have tools and equipment for determining the actual cost of corrosion. Here are some of the critical factors that one should consider while calculating the cost of corrosion:

  1. Cost of labour– Rust complaint should be communicated by customer service, sales and operations.Meetings should be held with all key departments like quality, customer service, engineering, and production to deduce the root cause, scrap plans or re-work, schedule the additional parts, start the re-work and then communicate to the customer again on the action plans and the designed solution. Material inspection and reworking on materials to remove rust.
  2. Shipping/Receiving costs– The manufacturing organization incurs the cost of shipping- both the to and fro journey of the rejected product back to the facility and shipping of the new or the de-rusted product.
  • Material costs– Additional costs are incurred for the materials required for de-rusting the metals or for buying materials to produce a new product. There are additional packaging costs as well to re-ship the consignment again to the customer.
  1. Opportunity costs– Costs for loss of opportunity are rarely considered. Reworking and de-rusting processes limits the ability of the manufacturer to manufacture parts for customers. New projects are put on hold resulting in lost opportunity.
  2. Reputation costs– The greatest damage is that of reputation of the particular company. The brand suffers and so does its reputation in the market place. Customers lose confidence and trust in their ability to provide quality goods and services to them.

Rust-A Guide

It is generally inexpensive to repair minor damage caused by rust – for example a small spot on the surface which is not more than two inches in diameter. In such cases, materials required to fix it can be bought from an automotive supply store. Intermediate repairs are the ones in which the blot contains a thicker layer of rust.  The rust damage, in these cases may have gone down to several layersnot more than half to the bottom of a surface. These spots can be larger in size, ranging from approximately six to twelve inches in diameter. If there are more of these minor spots, it is also considered to be a case of intermediate repair.

Major repairs are those that are larger than 12 inches in diameter and are extremely deep. The deep ones can also be the ones in which rust has completely eaten through the metal.  A sheet metal professional, who is an expert at welding, may be required to take care of the extensive rust damage.

Rust Prevention

As prevention is better than cure- rust too is best prevented than repaired or cured. The easiest way to save on repairing rust damage is to prevent it from forming in the first place. Prevent exposure to moisture and inclement weather. Always remove any road salt that might have accumulated. A coating of wax is always beneficial for preventing build up. While speaking about repairing the damage caused by corrosion and rust, workmanship and the prowess with which the repairing work is done is of utmost importance. It is as important as the factor of price. You need to ensure that the quality of the repair work is done well so that your investment is justified.