Any way you look at it, the word corrosion does not conjure nice thoughts. Used to describe decay, rust and deterioration, it is a word that absolutely tells you the state of things and its unwavering assessment to a condition or state of being is always dire. In other words, if it’s corroded, it’s on its way out.
Well, a company by the name of CorrPro is proving that there can be something positive in the word corrosion. Headquartered in Medina, Ohio, with offices worldwide, CorrPro has earned a reputation as a leading provider of corrosion control engineering services, systems and equipment to the infrastructure, environmental and energy markets around the world. The company offers cathodic protection systems and engineering services, and is also a leading supplier of corrosion protection services relating to coatings, pipeline integrity and reinforced concrete structures. So if something’s corroded, there’s still hope if CorrPro is on the job.
The company has come to the rescue more than once in fixing a corrosion problem. Among its newest innovations is its CorrFlexT anode system, which, according to the company, “brings together the lightweight and high performance characteristics of copper-cored, mixed metal oxide anodes with the rugged, field-tested worthiness of a fabric jacket filled with powdered, calcined petroleum coke.”
Corrpro offers a full line of CorrFlex anode systems that can be custom designed to suit virtually any linear application. CorrFlex utilizes coppercored, mixed-metal oxide, and titanium based anodes that enhance the linear conductivity of the anode element. Because the mixed metal oxide anode is surrounded by high carbon content powder backfill, the CorrFlex anode system can be installed without the need for additional coke backfill. Connections to the continuous insulated conductor are made redundantly every 50 feet, further ensuring a minimum voltage drop down the entire anode length. CorrFlex systems come standard with 40 feet (12.2m) of insulated conductor “pigtails” at each end, to allow for bidirectional power feeds.
CorrFlex anode systems perform well in virtually any environment. The anodes can be installed as an integral part of a cathodic protection system for structures such as above ground storage tanks, pipelines, congested petrochemical facilities and power plants. Trench, hand digging, placement above sand or gravel backfill, cable plow, and directional boring/pulling can be used to install CorrFlex .
“We developed CorrFlex two years ago; it’s just a better anode – it’s easier and quicker to install which makes construction easier,” notes Tim Wallace, Corrpro’s vice president of new business development.The innovation is unique in an industry in which most of the new products and services are the result of evolutionary changes – much of it is regulation driven, Wallace remarks. “The trend is toward consolidation,” Wallace explains. “Looking at the national base we can partner with companies on a national level to achieve solutions.”
Fighting the decay
Corrosion, for anyone interested, occurs through an electrical process created by the changing of a metal into its natural state. According to a definition on Wikipedia.com: “Corrosion is deterioration of intrinsic properties in a material due to reactions with its environment. It is the oxidation of metals reacting with water or oxygen. Weakening of iron due to oxidation of the iron atoms is a well-known example of electromechanical corrosion, which is commonly known as rust.” When, explains Wallace, iron ore is fabricated into steel it is not in a natural state and over time, through electrical energy, it returns to that natural state, which facilitates corrosion. This problem can be corrected through an anode, which is attached to the pipe and acts as the sort of sacrificial lamb, taking the brunt of the corrosion while the pipe or other surface metal, stays rust free.
Any unprotected buried, submerged, concrete encased or atmospherically exposed metal structure will corrode. Worldwide, the costs associated with corrosion have been reported to exceed $600 billion annually. By applying engineered solutions, Corrpro has been able to eliminate corrosion of new structures and stop corrosion of existing ones. Corrpro has successfully applied its technology to infrastructure as diverse as oil and gas pipelines to metal reinforced concrete structures including parking garages, to above and below ground liquid storage tanks.
To aid in this mission, Corrpro maintains a diverse group of pipeline professionals, corrosion engineers, and specialized integrity technologists. It has further implemented a pipeline integrity program that involves several steps, including:
Assessing the Project: The full turnkey integrity program is a multi-phased approach to design. This ensures that unnecessary programs are not implemented and project costs are kept in check and on budget. The first phase of the program is pipeline or system assessment.
Over-the-Line Surveys: In order to determine a pipeline’s fit for service status and its overall condition, additional data are typically required. Prior to engaging in costly actions, such as bell hole inspection excavations, Corrpro offers several effective an inexpensive “Over-the-Line Surveys.”
In-Line Inspection and Analysis: When more detailed pipeline information is needed than can be obtained from Over-the-Line Surveys, In-Line Inspections should be performed. In-line pipeline inspection surveys require a substantial amount of preparation to complete in a flawless fashion.
Remedial Repair Programs: Once the condition of the pipeline is known, the scope of the program and the suitable repair methodologies can be determined. The work programs are implemented by Corrpro field crews who are trained to perform integrity excavations on “live” pipelines.
Continued Maintenance Management: Once the pipeline system has been brought back to top form, a planned maintenance program can be adopted to maintain its rehabilitated condition. Corrosion control programs such as internal corrosion monitoring coupons, cathodic protections surveys, and line cleaning pigging programs become inexpensive maintenance tools.
To further its business, CorrPro also maintains Corrpro Waterworks, which has become the recognized leader in the field of cathodic protection corrosion control for water storage tanks, water and wastewater treatment units and other related structures. Through this segment the company provides systems and programs that prevent the loss of metal and the loss of coatings due to corrosion. Properly designed, installed and maintained cathodic protection systems can effectively save a water system owner tens of thousands of dollars in maintenance, repair and recoating costs on the submerged steel structures over the design life of the project.
Corrpro Waterworks has provided solutions to the unique corrosion problems of the Water Industry for over 50 years. It provides all disciplines from complete turnkey installations to continuing monitoring and maintenance services. The unit has installed over 20,000 systems for industrial, municipal, commercial and government clients throughout the country.
Corrpro just doesn’t walk the walk as far as its products and services. In many instances the company has been able to prove the efficacy of its products. Consider: The pipeline reliability department personnel at a refinery in Hawaii engaged the services of Corrpro Canada, Inc. to determine the integrity of their pipelines from Barbers Point to Honolulu. The 35-year old, dual eight-inch lines run more than 22 miles along a right-of-way adjacent to Pearl Harbor, crossing numerous channels, rivers and streams, delivering refined products along the route.
In order for the Hawaiian client to assess the external condition of its aging pipeline, Corrpro recommended a comprehensive survey to determine the external coating condition of the pipelines, pipeline depth- of-cover and cathodic protection status using various close-interval-survey techniques. All of the readings taken along the pipeline route were to be referenced to Global Positioning Survey (GPS) equipment.
The external coating assessment pipeline survey was completed on land sections using C-Scan electromagnetic detection technology. Poor coating sections were then resurveyed using Corrpro’s ‘Pin-to-Pin’ technique to accurately locate the coating damage for future remedial work by the client. The pinpoint, external coating assessment survey, developed by Corrpro, reduced excavation costs by allowing the client to expose the pipelines only where necessary. Pipeline depth-of-cover and cathodic protection close-interval-survey data assisted in determining where remedial work was required to mitigate corrosion and maintain pipeline depths to local standards.
With Corrpro’s C-Scan and pinpoint equipment, Corrpro was able to identify specific areas in need of coating repairs. Based on the results and recommendations of Corrpro’s integrity surveys, the operator has moved to the next phase of the project which will involve designing and installing enhanced cathodic protection systems as needed. In summary, through the use of its vast array of technology tools, Corrpro was able to recommend a comprehensive solution to enhance the operator’s business performance.
“Our national capabilities in engineering have made us a leader in corrosion engineering,” Wallace comments.
And with newly named President and Chief Executive Officer William V. Larkin, Jr. at the helm, CorrPro will no doubt continue its innovative lead in the industry. At the very least, it will further the positive outlook when it comes to corrosion.