Surviving the Elements with Corrosion Resistance

Published: August 5, 2020

Performance-critical electrical equipment - typically fabricated from a variety of metals - must withstand years of challenging outdoor conditions to support the flow, supply, and management of electricity. The design emphasis for transformers, electrical enclosures, switchgear, and exterior lighting is typically focused on its sensitive instrumentation, controls, and operation. Few consider how critical it is to protect the metals that house these vital components and ensure their reliability.

According to the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the cost of corrosion-related problems in the electrical industry exceeds $17 billion.1 This represents an estimated 7.9 percent of the total cost of electricity to consumers in the U.S. Incredibly, roughly 20 percent or more of these corrosion costs are avoidable. Electrical component manufacturers and their customers bear a significant portion of these costs, yet the best design and coating strategies for protecting these devices from corrosion often are an afterthought.

Finished electrical components are about 70 percent metal and 30 percent nonmetal substrates, yet nearly 100 percent of electrical equipment manufacturers view painting metal as outside their core competency.

That means an average-sized switchgear manufacturer running 10 to 15 million square feet of coated metal through its facility is staking a lot of its reputation on work considered outside its core competency.

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