Fiber laser cutting machines
are used to cut a large amount of metal materials to produce metal parts required by various machines. But in certain conditions, even the strongest metal parts can suffer from corrosion, which occurs when metals react with their environment.
Some metals corrode easily when exposed to nothing more than moisture in the air, while others only suffer when exposed to other, more aggressive substances. Importantly though, corrosion can often be prevented or minimized by following certain steps. These steps involve good product design, material selection, and the application of surface treatments.
What is corrosion?
Corrosion is a natural process in which environmental conditions turn a refined metal into its oxide, hydroxide, or sulfide form.
In the engineering world, electrochemical oxidation of metal (reacting with an oxidant such as oxygen or sulfates) is the most common and concerning form of corrosion, and the rusting of iron falls under this category.
How to prevent metal from rusting?
Steps can be taken to prevent corrosion of metal parts. Most of these steps come before and during manufacturing, but it is also possible to reduce corrosion of parts once they are in use.
1. Choose a corrosion-resistant metal
No metals are indestructible, but if your parts will be in contact with moisture or corroding substances, it makes sense to choose a corrosion-resistant metal.
Stainless steel: Stainless steels contain iron, which oxidizes and turns to rust. However, steels with a high chromium content (Stainless Steel 316, for example) are less susceptible to rust, since the chromium forms a protective layer of chromium oxide on the part surface.
Aluminum: Aluminum does not contain iron and therefore does not rust. A protective layer of aluminum oxide can form on a part’s surface when it contracts moisture, preventing corrosion.
2. Design parts that minimize environmental damage
The material of a part affects its corrosion resistance, but so does its shape and texture. Engineers should therefore consider whether certain design features might encourage or discourage corrosion when creating their CAD design.
Features that could trap moisture or air should be avoided. Parts should not contain deep crevices where moisture can pool, and airflow should be encouraged if possible. If the part absolutely must contain crevices, tunnels, or other points of vulnerability, these areas should at least be made easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance.
3. Apply an anti-corrosion coating
Applying a coating over the surface of the metal can prevent the metal from corroding, since air, moisture, and other corrosive substances cannot directly touch the metal unless the coating itself wears off. Coatings can be reapplied after a period of time to maintain the condition of the part.
4. Store Properly
Store metal parts
or products in a low-moisture area, or inside a temperature and humidity-controlled environment to significantly slow down rust. Use of desiccant drying agents in this storage are also helpful.
5. Regular maintenance
When your metal products are put into use, regular maintenance will help prevent rust and halt the progress of any rust that occurred. It’s crucial to remove any rust that has formed. A razor blade can be used for small areas. Using warm water and soap, surface grime should be removed. Then, a rust resistant coating should be applied to the surface.
This guide looks at the ways to reduce corrosion of metal parts made using technologies like CNC machining. Following these steps will not guarantee an infinite lifespan for your parts, but it will go some way to reducing potential corrosion while helping to maintain the proper functionality and appearance of metal parts.
ACCTEK is a professional metal cutting equipment
manufacturer. If you are choosing a suitable fiber metal cutting machine, you can learn about our product performance and price online. If you need help, you can contact us online, and our staff will provide you with free consulting services.