Corrosion is more than an eyesore. Its effects compromise the integrity of metals, polymers and ceramics, and has a staggering impact on worldwide economy. Since the mid-20th century, countries around the globe have studied the economic costs of corrosion, concluding that its effects significantly affect society. These studies reveal the financial importance of corrosion control using techniques such as surface preparation and coating.
The Economic Impacts of Corrosion in the United States
In 1999, NACE International conducted a study at the request of the U.S. Congress to assess the direct costs of corrosion and corrosion control in almost every industry sector in the nation, from transportation to utilities to food processing. The two-year study revealed that metallic corrosion-related costs made up 3.1 percent of the annual Gross Domestic Product, about $276 billion per year (CPI-unadjusted). It also found that while corrosion control techniques have improved over the decades, there is significant room for improvement in regards to corrosion management and education the public regarding its significance.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from 1980 to 2016, the U.S. experienced 203 major weather- and climate-related disasters that amounted to $878.3 billion in losses (CPI-unadjusted). This averages to about $24.4 billion annually. The annual cost of corrosion is nearly 12 times greater. Unlike weather- and climate-related events, corrosion is controllable.
NACE International estimated that the direct annual per capita cost of corrosion and its control in 2001 was about $970 per person. It is also important to consider the indirect costs related to corrosion, which include those related to productivity losses, the overhead costs of goods and services affected by corrosion, litigation, and delays. NACE International reported that a conservative estimate of indirect costs related to corrosion is about $552 billion annually, about 6 percent of the GDP.
The Global Impacts of Corrosion
In 2016, NACE International studied the implications of corrosion in India, Japan, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, and the United States to assess the cost of global corrosion. The organization estimated that this cost was about $2.5 trillion, about 3.4 percent of the global GDP.
Researchers have found that the greatest success in corrosion control was the result of innovative technologies used in the automotive industry because the practices were accepted throughout the industry and the organizations within it. If more industries invested in corrosion prevention and management and implemented the elements into their overall management systems, they would minimize the effect of corrosion and the costs associated with it.
Over the decades, engineers developed management practices that furthered control corrosion efforts and reduce costs. These strategies include:
- Correcting that notion that corrosion is not preventable or controllable
- Increasing awareness regarding the cost of corrosion and the savings that preventive strategies yield
- Improving employee education and training in corrosion management
- Adding policies, regulations, and standards to include corrosion management practices
- Improving corrosion-related technologies, such as temporary climate control solutions
- Using the latest design practices to control corrosion better
While corrosion cannot be eliminated, industries could save up to 30 percent on their corrosion-related costs by implementing corrosion management best practices. Along with the proper design and regular maintenance and inspections, a common corrosion management method used today is surface preparation and coating. However, the environment in which workers prepare and coat a surface is one of the most important factors in the treatment’s success for new structures and maintenance treatments alike.
Polygon’s climate control solutions and continuous monitoring services ensure that an environment remains reliable, predictable, and stable throughout a surface cleaning and coating project, whether it’s the inside of a storage tank or the exterior of a ship. The custom solutions mitigate the effects of ambient conditions by controlling the site’s temperature, humidity, and ventilation. This allows workers to prepare surfaces without fear of contamination or the formation of new corrosion. The temporary climate solutions also create the ideal conditions for protective coatings to cure and dry properly within the expected timeframe. In the end, clients save time and money, meet project deadlines better, and mitigate the hassles and expenses related to premature coating failures. Take your corrosion control efforts further by getting in touch with Polygon today.