Friday, 14 November 2014


Cycles in human activity dictate that what is popular or useful one day may not be required the next. Changes in fashion, the economy, technology and now even our climate, mean that predicting the future becomes more difficult every year.

Picture courtesy Chuckman Collection Vol. 17
Despite the uncertainty, some basic truths persist: if it can go wrong, it probably will; the simplest explanation is most likely to be true; hell is not a suitable place for a snowball - you know the kind of thing. So, while we may not be able to plan a picnic in England because we do not know when the rain will come, the fact that rain will come remains a certainty.

Left: apparently this is also true for Chicago ...

What’s my point?

It’s about foresight. Our CEO often refers to the ‘K.I.S.S.’ principle - keep it simple stupid - especially when he is talking to me! And there are some things about what we do as a company that are nearly as straightforward as he would like them to be.

Typical fifties car shortly after collection from the dealer
Corrosion is a simple equation - steel plus oxygen and water equals rust - yet we persist in building our most valuable infrastructure from this most vulnerable material. In the past, cars would corrode very quickly and bodywork would fail long before the engine or gearbox but, more recently, an increasingly robust approach to corrosion control has all but eliminated these rustbuckets from our roads. So it seems pretty straightforward, if you want to preserve your infrastructure from corrosion, give it adequate protection.

If only it were so simple

Many factors play a part in producing the rust we see in every outdoor working environment and, of course, not all rust prevention is cost-effective. Indeed, in many areas, corrosion has been seen as inevitable and structures designed to allow for metal loss through these natural processes with very little intervention.

Fortunately, safety issues and such an obvious waste of resources has motivated a more pro-active approach to corrosion control in recent years but factors such as cost and the long-term effectiveness of protection are as important today as they ever were - and maintenance is in the ultimate catch 22 situation. When operators are busy, there is no time for maintenance and when they have no work, there is also no money.

One of the prime motivators for the development of Enviropeel was the collapse of demand for oil in the 1980s with many oil platforms being decommissioned and production facilities mothballed. Our CEO, who was working in the oil industry at the time, had a background in automotive rust protection and could see that much of the stored equipment was not being adequately protected and started to work on the idea that a sprayable protection system would be ideal if it could be made to work.

In the thirty years that have passed since that time, trillions of dollars have been lost through corrosion. NACE estimates the cost to be approximately 4% of GDP, which would have been over 3 trillion dollars in 2013 alone. Over 25% of pipeline failures in the US are the result of corrosion and many deaths from explosions, bridge collapses and other infrastructure failures attest to the human cost of our failure to control corrosion.

Protecting a large component for storage
Now, I am not suggesting that the universal adoption of Enviropeel would immediately save the planet. It might take somewhat longer - and require one or two other remedial processes before that objective could be achieved. But a little bit of foresight and a few Enviropeel applications can be amazingly effective in reducing losses from component and infrastructure failure – and every little bit helps.

If stored component failure can be reduced to zero in parts of the mining industry and failure cycles in operating equipment reduced by 500%, what would this mean for other industries with similar problems? If you’re in an industry where demand and production cycles fluctuate, how much better off are you going to be if your mothballed equipment still works when you need it? And that emergency standby pump, generator, spare part? You have to be sure it stays fit for purpose.

It really is that simple. It will go wrong if you don’t do something about it and Enviropeel can help – without costing you the earth!