Regardless of whether you’re in working in the mining sector, boat manufacturing or highway construction, rusted equipment can be a huge detriment for your company. Sadly, as entrepreneurs learn the hard way, all metal components – and particularly the iron-based items – are at risk of rusting, especially when the machines are operating in environments with excessive moisture. What is even worse is that not all forms of rust are visible to the naked eye, so you could end up with equipment malfunctioning and eventually failing in the most inappropriate moments.
Needless to state that failing equipment will prevent you from meeting the various deadlines and hence, if it happens too often you might also lose some important clients. The simplest solution to addressing this problem would be to perform equipment maintenance regularly and replace fasteners that are damaged and that present signs of corrosion. Still, in certain cases like the product-specific fasteners, replacement is not really an option. For the latter situations, restoring these vital components and cleaning the rust can be done with either of the following cost-effective techniques.
- Soaking the fasteners in hydrogen peroxide
A common method of dealing with rusted screws and bolts implies removing them from their sockets and leaving them to soak in a hydrogen peroxide solution overnight. Hydrogen peroxide is known to dissolve accumulated rust from metal surfaces and can even break up the entire tarnish in some cases. In case you intend to use this technique, then bear in mind that you will have to scour the threads and the shank the fastener with a hard brush to make sure the rust is removed completely. On a side note, while a highly affordable method, it is necessary to mention that using hydrogen peroxide can leave residual spots of rust behind.
- Sanding off the accumulated rust
In the eventuality that the fastener is not too rusted, then you could try removing the corrosion by scrubbing it with fine grade sandpaper or a piece of steel wool. Even though the method is pretty much straightforward and very affordable, it is also time consuming and therefore, it may not be applicable when you need to remove rust from several fasteners. In addition, in order to make the bolts and screws reusable you will also need to apply a high quality lubricant.
- Applying a fresh layer of protective coating
If you notice rust just developing on a given fastener, then you can stop it from spreading to the rest of the piece by applying a fresh layer of protective coating. After you scrub the affected area and remove all signs of corrosion, you should apply coating on the spot to shield the metal from the environmental factors responsible for rust. As a side note, in addition to the recommended anti-rusting coatings, wax and/or oily-based coatings could help you obtain similar effects on some fasteners.
- Scrubbing it with a rust cleaning solution
In case the aforementioned techniques have failed to provide the desired results, then don’t hesitate to check with the manufacturer and learn more about the recommended rust cleaners. More often than not, the cleaners include a dissolving agent – usually oxalic acid – that reacts to iron oxide and breaks the rust away from the base material.
Started my career in the fastener world in 1969 at, Parker Kalon Corp. a NJ based screw manufacturer located in Clifton, NJ working in inventory control, scheduling secondary production and concluding there in purchasing. In 1971 I accepted a sales position at Star Stainless Screw Co., Totowa, NJ working in inside sales and later as an outside salesman, having a successful career at Star I had the desire with a friend to start our own fastener distribution company in 1980 named: Divspec, Kenilworth, NJ. This was a successful adventure but ended in 1985 with me starting Melfast in August 1985 and have stayed competitive and successful to date. Melfast serves the OEM market with approximately 400 accounts nationally.