I might be the only person in Nebraska who hasn’t been happy about all of the rain lately.
I’ve talked before about how rain causes chaos on the Kaser campus, as we scramble to get vulnerable parts indoors – but it recently occurred to me that the average person might not realize just how much damage moisture can cause…or how fast.
Say we have a stack of raw steel parts sitting in our parking lot, awaiting blasting and coating. Imagine that they get rained on one night, a week or two before we start on them. By the time we bring them in to the blast booth, standing water has worked its way in between the parts, causing seven to fourteen days’ worth of damage. “No big deal,” we think to ourselves; “we’re blasting and coating these parts anyway, so no one will even know they had a little corrosion on them before we started.”
While the parts will probably appear totally fine after blasting, it’s likely that the corrosion has done more damage than initially meets the eye. It’s infuriating, but true: we often won’t know just how much damage was done until after the part has been powder coated.
If the corrosion happened to eat away at more metal than the blast profile was able to reach, you’ll likely see a patch (in certain lights) after the powder coating has cured. That area’s texture will be slightly different than the rest of the part. And the glossier the powder, the more visible those differences will be.
This problem is not exclusive to rust. Aluminum parts can face the same issues, though it typically takes longer for them to corrode to the point of damage.
Yes, we can try to sand around the damaged area, and start the blasting process all over again – this works well, as long as the person sanding the area doesn’t grind down far enough to create a divot. It’s risky.
The safest option is prevention.
Don’t leave your uncoated parts outdoors. Store your old lawn chairs in the basement until they’re ready to be refinished. If stacked parts happen to get wet, dry them off as soon as you can, paying special attention to areas where the water might pool.
If your parts are at Kaser awaiting work, don’t worry – we’ll keep them dry until after they’re coated. And if you see us scrambling ahead of a storm, you’ll know why.