Oil, gas, and power generation operations require as little downtime as possible, but breakdowns are inevitable. While many companies make provision for common failures by keeping critical spares handy, others fail to anticipate their needs effectively, leading to halted production and the loss of revenue and productivity for the business.

Critical Spares imageWith engineers focused on operations, this scenario is not as rare as it should be. Support services such as preservation of spares are often overlooked and considered low priority. Too often, critical spares are stored with no protection at all. Responsibilities are divided between departments, and discussions on whose budget they fall under are protracted.

The end result is that maintenance crews have to scramble to find spare parts, which if on hand, are likely to have been in storage for a few years, and are now covered in rust. If the crew is lucky, the spare part works. If not, more time and money is lost in trying to fix the old part or find a new one.

This disastrous scenario can be avoided with a little forethought and planning, minimising downtime and ensuring operations are kept running at peak performance. In warehouses full of spares that may have already rusted, critical spare preservation often starts with restoration.

Non-toxic rust removers such as Cortec’s VpCI-422 can effectively clean the rust off parts to restore them to usable condition on the same day. Biobased cleaners such as the Cortec EcoLine Cleaner Degreaser remove greases, oils, and other contaminants to prepare the parts for preservation.

Once the critical spares are rust free, an extensive range of Vapor phase Corrosion Inhibitor (VpCI) rust preventives, foams, emitters, additives, and films allow the cost efficient preservation of equipment—whether on indoor racks or in open outdoor yards. Ease of removal renders this equipment operationally ready in a matter of minutes rather than days. According to the company, some Cortec VpCI water-based treatments have even been known to outperform oil based protection. Spares may also benefit from temporary VpCI coatings that can easily be removed by alkaline spray or may be unnoticeable enough to leave on for installation.

Spares that are effectively preserved with VpCIs can be ready for rapid installation the next time a critical operating part fails. Instead of continuing to lose money while plant operation is suspended and personnel scramble to deal with a rusty replacement part, workers can simply unwrap the VpCI-preserved critical spare and install it as quickly as a completely new part. This not only saves expensive downtime losses but also lowers labour and preservation costs through more efficient protective materials.

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