Corrosion during storage, shipping and operation are common issues for the aerospace and aviation industry due to the harsh environmental conditions the metals are subjected to. Our managing director, Adam Taylor gives an insight into our expertise in this industry.
Please begin by telling me more about your products for the aerospace sector. What are their USPs, what benefits can they offer?
The aerospace and aviation industry relies upon precision metal parts which are high performing, even when exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Corrosion during storage, shipping, and operation are common issues for the aviation industry due to the harsh environmental conditions the metals are subjected to. We work with aerospace and aviation companies to provide our VCI products, including VCI Films, VCI Bags and VCI Diffusers & Emitters.
Our VCI films and bags protect all metal types including aluminium components, enabling our customers to pack and ship components in dry form. This means that the components are ready for use and assembly directly out of the packaging. Our products work through vapour phase which sees a protective layer actively set itself up once an enclosure is formed around a component or piece of machinery. The VCI molecules leave the metal’s surface once the component is taken out of its pack so it can be assembled or used straight away.
What are the types of trends and demands placed on your company by today’s aerospace manufacturing companies: price, quality and delivery are a given, but is there anything else?
We have recently been asked to supply a returnable packaging system that allows the re-use of a pack that is designed to protect a machined component between a factory and the assembly site. This pack system prevents the need for any liquid coatings that would, in turn, need to be applied and taken off.
What kinds of aerospace components, i.e. blisks, blades, turbines, landing gear chassis are your surface finishing products most suitable for?
Our Zerust products are suitable for any type of metal component. Our aerospace customers make a range of components including wing sections and landing gear. We have supplied Zerust film and bags for many years, protecting these types of components as well as engines and even fully built helicopters.
Broadly speaking, what are the most important things an aerospace manufacturing/production engineer needs to know when specifying your equipment?
The pack around the metal component must be closed securely so there is no air exchange. This is critical for our products to work and protect the metal component against any humidity that could cause, rust, tarnish, or corrosion. Zerust products work by releasing a harmless, non-toxic, odourless, colourless vapor into the air around the metal item. Protective molecules settle on all exposed metal surfaces, forming a very thin protective layer that is just a few molecules thick. This molecular layer inhibits electrochemical reactions on the surface of the metal that cause corrosion.
Can you tell of me about any success stories from happy customers that have used your products and the feedback they have given you?
We have developed long standing relationships with our aerospace industry customers, working closely with their teams to identify and solve any corrosion issues.
For example, one of our customers had experienced issues with its aluminium blocks being tarnished before they were manufactured into wing sections. Raw materials can sit for long periods of time and corrode between the different stages of the production process. To solve this issue, we recommended our multi metal film and have been supplying this solution to the company for more than 15 years.
In your view, how well can robotic automation align itself to the growing influence of industrial Internet?
The entire supply chain will run through connectivity which will help companies be more flexible and efficient – companies will have real time information, meaning stock levels can be kept to a minimum which will in turn help cash flow.
What kinds of R&D have been invested by your company to brings your products to market?
Our aim is for metals to be as corrosion free as possible at each stage of their journey, from the production plant and assembly plant to aftermarket. Zerust Excor Federation has two main R&D facilities located in the USA and in Europe which are committed to developing new products to solve our customers’ corrosion problems. Our laboratories are equipped with modern analytical equipment which helps to distinguish the root cause of corrosion or compatibility of the customer’s process fluids with our products. We are currently developing liquid preservation products for our oil and grease portfolio, as well as cleaners. This means that products are in a good condition before they are packed and shipped. Components are often shipped in containers on ships where there can be high humidity. We can replicate these conditions in the climate chambers in our lab facility.
What differentiates your company from the competition – why should a customer use you over your nearest rival?
We have a proven track record that our chemistry works. Zerust UK is part of the global Joint Venture network of Northern Technologies International Corporation (NTIC), with onsite representation in over 60 countries, 5 laboratories and more than 400 dedicated experts globally. In addition, we have R&D facilities to develop new products and solve customer corrosion issues, climate chambers to simulate the various climate conditions that can be expected during shipment and our application engineers can assist with on-site preparation and packing of test shipments. Over the past 10 years we have carried out approximately 500 days of climate testing per year across our laboratories.
What do you feel are the most important assets of a company: a defined strategy, its people, its experience, its use of technology, its location(s), or a combination of all these points?
I think it’s a blend of everything! It’s important to have a strategy and become experts in your core business. You need the right people in your team to help build relationships, share responsibilities and represent your business. Experience is essential for giving customers the confidence that you have the credentials and utilising technology, as well as developing your own technology, is important for helping to drive your business.
Any other comments?
We are continually developing our product portfolio in key markets. For example, in the renewable energy industry we are bolstering our portfolio for windfarm maintenance. Examples of this are our spray greases and VCI caps and plugs, that can be returnable and reusable. We also have compostable films which are based on the Zerust group’s business unit, Natur Tec. For more information on our product developments, keep an eye on our website, LinkedIn, or subscribe to our email marketing!
You can view more information on our corrosion protection solutions here.
To find out how Zerust® UK can help with your corrosion issues, contact our team today.