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How to Manage Motor Environmental Stress in Florida Factories

Mike Jeffries | July 19, 2016

floridafactory.jpegMost people dream of one day living near the ocean. Thanks to Florida's impressively business-friendly environment, more people than ever can make this dream a reality while also building and maintaining a thriving company. However, if you are engaged in manufacturing, then it's also important to understand the damages the Florida environment can cause to your electric motors.


Related Blog: Signs of High Bearing Temperatures and Actions to Keep Your Motor Safe

The same ocean air that feels great on our skin also leaves behind deposits of sodium chloride when it comes into contact with metals. The chloride part of salt has the ability to change the oxide layer found in most metals (for aluminum components this is known as aluminum oxide; for iron it is iron oxide). While this oxide layer does protect against general moisture corrosion, the chloride left behind from ocean winds is capable of breaking down this barrier layer. This causes pockmarks or pitting to occur that can eventually cause metal, especially thin metal components, to disintegrate completely.

Such pitting is always worse in areas that combine chloride with high humidity and high temperatures; characteristics that define the whole state of Florida. In fact, the Cape Canaveral area has been found to be the most corrosive location in the whole of the continental United States. 

As stated above, because aluminum has this exterior barrier, buying more high quality equipment made from aluminum can help prevent you from dealing with premature corrosion issues that occur more commonly with steel products. However, even aluminum will succumb in time to the harsh Florida environment.

A Great Defense is the Best Offense

Of course, this doesn't mean you should throw up your hands and call the corrosion an operating expense. There are a couple different methods you can do to manage the environmental stress on your factory's motors.

First, nowhere else is cleanliness akin to godliness. A simple rinse off of your equipment, especially any outdoor equipment, with water will help control metal corrosion. Outdoor equipment should likewise be covered when not in use, and stored under a roof whenever possible. However, this can become timely and expensive in its own right. In some areas, it might not even be feasible.

So instead you might consider cleaning and applying specialty coatings to your motors and any other sensitive metal equipment you keep. These coatings are tested in what the industry calls an 'accelerated weathering chamber' that exposes the coating and its underlying metals to cycles of heat, humidity, industrial fumes, and salt fogs. In short, they are well tested and approved to protect your metal from the harmful effects of salt corrosion paired with Florida's high humidity and higher temperatures. 

Such coatings are made of a variety of materials including:

  • Super Corona Dope  This protective coating is ideal for high voltage applications such as at motor windings, field coils, transformers, and more. Once applied, it thoroughly penetrates into these components and forms a seal to keep out Florida moisture, salt, and dust. This coating additionally has excellent arc resisting properties.
  • Silicone Conformal Coating  While not designed to be a total sealant, this coating does an excellent job at shielding a motor's sensitive electronic and delicate metal components against Florida's harsh environmental conditions. This product is available as an aerosol, liquid, or even pen application for precision work. 
  • HI-Solids Alkyd Metal Primer  Specifically designed for industrial and commercial steel applications, this primer is exceptional for protecting against atmospheric corrosion that occurs with Florida's salty, humid air.

To learn more about these coatings and their best applications, or for help in repairing and replacing components already damaged by salt corrosion, contact us today at Mader Electric. 

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Topics: industrial motor repair, motor repair, motor safety, Florida factory, industrial motor

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