Heavy machines and other pieces of equipment are the lifeblood of construction operations. Keeping them in top shape is crucial to the success of your business, and it requires regular maintenance to minimize breakdowns, downtime, and repair costs.
To make matters worse, most types of heavy equipment are exposed to harsh environmental elements, such as mud, rain, and snow. If the proper precautions aren’t taken, these elements will lead to corrosion and rust, which weakens equipment and can lead to total failure.
We’ve put together a list of several tips and best practices you can start doing now to avoid rust on your equipment.
What is rust?
When iron is exposed to moisture and oxygen, the oxygen atoms fuse with the metal, causing a reaction called oxidizing. This reaction results in a new compound called iron oxide or rust. Rust can develop even on painted surfaces, causing the surface to puff out and bubble up before flaking off.
Over time, rust expands and leaves the equipment weakened and corroded. Eventually, the metal on your machines can completely rust through and lead to dangerous operating conditions.
Methods for preventing rust
There are several precautions you can take to protect your business from the dangers of heavy equipment rust.
- Consistently clean your equipment – Dirt and moisture are the enemy of your heavy equipment. Sticking to a consistent cleaning schedule will help keep dust, dirt, moisture, and other forms of contamination from accumulating and leading to rust and corrosion.
- Store your equipment inside when not in use – Even better than a protective layer of wax is a protective structure around your machines. Be sure to install a dehumidifier in the storage space to remove moisture from the air and keep your equipment dry and rust free.
- Use commercial rust prevention products – Rust inhibitors or paint that includes rust inhibitors give metal surfaces on your equipment a protective layer of oil or film that prevents moisture from reaching the machine.
Remove rust quickly when you see it
Sometimes, you simply cannot protect your equipment from rusting. In such cases, you can prevent the rust from causing major damage by removing it as soon as you notice it. You can remove small areas of rust with specialized chemicals, just be sure to always wear gloves, safety goggles, and respirators when using acid-based rust removers.
If you want to avoid chemicals, you can use grinding and sanding equipment. Grinders are great for heavy duty rust removal, while sanders are better for small scale removal jobs. Removing rust quickly will help prevent pitting and structural damage to your equipment. If you use a grinder or sander for mechanical rust removal, you have to repaint it with either spray paint or a paint brush, or it will rust again fast. You can find high quality equipment touch up paint in our supplies department!
If you have any questions about how to prevent or remove rust on your equipment, contact our team today!