Corrosion under insulation services

The costs of corrosion for companies and the economy can be astronomical. According to National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) International: “The global cost of corrosion is estimated to be US$ 2.5 trillion, which is equivalent to 3.4% of the global gross domestic product (GDP 2013).

By using available corrosion control practices, it is estimated that savings of between 15 and 30% of the cost of corrosion could be realised i.e. between US$375 and $875 billion annually on a global basis.”

A big challenge for the food industry is corrosion under insulation (CUI), which occurs when halogen compounds (compounds of chlorine, bromine, or fluorine) become trapped with moisture in the insulation material, corroding even stainless-steel piping.

Not only is corrosion a major drain on business finances, it also poses a threat to health and safety, an example of which is Ammonia refrigeration pipework. According to a technical bulletin issued by WorkSafe, the uncontrolled release of ammonia from a refrigeration plant is a critical work health and safety risk, which must be managed effectively to minimise the risk of harm. It reported that in 2017, approximately 20 ammonia releases were notified to WorkSafe New Zealand, highlighting the importance of risk assessments and implementing appropriate control measures. In the bulletin, they highlight two main causes of ammonia release, one of which is equipment failure, including corroded pipework.

Stork, a Fluor company – described as a leader in asset integrity solutions – is experienced in providing CUI inspections through a number of non-destructive testing (NDT) techniques and has completed CUI inspections for a wide range of companies across New Zealand and Australia.

A favoured technique for CUI inspection is Digital radiography, a non-invasive method which can be used for wall loss type flaws i.e. corrosion pitting, generalised corrosion and erosion. Coupled with the company’s unique ‘Open Vision’ screening tool, it can complete large quantities of pipework screening relatively quickly without disruption to production, saving the client both time and money. One client, says Stork, reported a cost saving of between NZ $200,000 to $300,000 by not having to remove the insulation.

In order to further mitigate the risk of CUI resulting in an uncontrolled release of ammonia, Stork offers continued proactive monitoring, finding vital information for accurate life expectancy forecasting of the refrigeration piping through erosion corrosion inspection and wall thickness monitoring.

For more information on how Stork can assist with your CUI needs, contact the team on 06 753 6169.