January 17, 2023
Rust and material deterioration is a common problem with metal parts and assemblies. Especially if they are exposed to the elements. Rust is unsightly, but it also compromises the integrity of the structure. As material deteriorates, less and less weight can be supported. This poses safety issues, increase risk of failures, and shortens the lifespan of a product. Once rust appears, it will spread quickly if untreated.
One option for treating rust is removal and repair. Rust can be removed with surface grinding or by completely cutting out the rusted area. There are many options for surface grinding metal and several considerations when choosing the right tool. If the rust is fine enough and not too deep into the surface, it may be ground out by hand. However, in most industrial settings, power tools are used to do the job. A power tool with a wire brush or wire wheel is effective for remove more intense patches. The grade of the attachment depends on the type and gauge of material that needs to be cleaned. Grinding and sandblasting are common processes in fabrication shops that repair metal assemblies.
Once the rust is removed, new metal components can be welded into the product or assembly. MIG or TIG welding is utilized depending on the type of material being repaired. It is critical to ensure all rust has been removed before welding new material into place. Both the existing parts and new metal must be completely clean to ensure a strong weld.
Sometimes the rust problem is too extensive to salvage the assembly. In this case, a fabrication shop will recommend building a new assembly or replacing the product. For example, metal racks are often used in industrial settings to store parts and components. As these racks age and rust, it is sometimes a better option to replace the rack with a new fabrication. An experienced fabricator will give you the best recommendation for how to proceed.