The Corrosion Cost: Coating’s Role in Prevention

By PPG Commercial Territory Managers Greg Crom and Rob Culbertson

Corrosion, often underestimated, undermines the integrity of global infrastructure, with the economic fallout reaching the trillions. Notably, farm equipment is susceptible to this costly matter. Data suggests the global cost of corrosion to be a staggering $2.5 trillion, about 3.4% of the global gross domestic product (GDP). 

Continuously exposed to elements and wear, farm equipment demands superior protection and regular maintenance to mitigate corrosion risks. Such steps ensure the equipment’s longevity and guarantee safety, efficiency, and productivity. As the rust spreads, the question arises: What are the best solutions for the farming industry to curb this expensive issue? The answers lie in protective coatings, ongoing innovation, timely interventions, and strong coatings supplier partnerships.

The powder solution: Rust typically begins its formation at the edges of metal equipment because, traditionally, coatings tend to flow away from these edges during application. As a result, these areas receive less protection and are the first to experience corrosion.

Importance of Surveys: Regular “line surveys” can ensure optimized processes and identify potential issues before they escalate and disrupt operations. Ongoing reviews can lead to energy savings, a minimized production footprint, fewer warranty claims from edge corrosion, and no added costs for edge-rounding equipment. Recently, a U.S. trailer manufacturer fine-tuned their processes after a line survey, yielding better product outcomes but also paving the way for substantial cost savings in the long run.

The future of rust prevention lies in enhanced powder coatings. Notably, in places like Iowa, heavy-duty equipment and agricultural manufacturers—from top-tier original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) down to smaller fabrication shops—have shifted from liquid to powder coatings.

The popularity of powder coating can be attributed to its enhanced efficiency, increased protection, and swift application to increase throughput. Tests prove powder outperforms traditional topcoats at 1,000 hours of salt spray resistance, significantly reducing premature rusting.