How to extend the life of steel

MDN Editör

Steel is the backbone of all industries; it’s used in every field from heavy duty industrial production to vehicle equipment, water dams & offshore wind farms. What can be done to protect steel from corrosion under these widely varying conditions

Alfatech Group’s General Manager and Board Member of the Surface Treatments Association (TÜYİDER), Tolga Zent shares information on surface treatment technologies and on the services his company provides for protecting steel structures.

Alfatechnic is one of the leading companies in Türkiye in protecting steel-based assets from corrosion while ensuring an aesthetic appearance of these assets. The company, which carries out surface treatment engineering activities, also focuses on reducing costs in the short term by increasing productivity of surface treatment technologies.

Since its establishment in 2022, it’s been a supplier of systems engineering solutions and treatment equipment, as well as application plants in the blasting/paint/coatings industry. It contributes to advancing the sector in conducting all delicate treatments required for steel and metalwork on the basis of precise engineering, using its equipment, which is 70% domestic production. The company’s ecologically designed and environment friendly equipment prolong the product lifespan of steel, protecting assets of enterprises worldwide under a wide range of physical conditions.

At a time of increased challenges in the acquisition of raw materials, cost-cutting in coatingrelated processes is more important than ever. To that end, Alfatechnic builds enclosed plants for surface treatment to international standards, tailored to fit treatment processes geared for different climate requirements.

How do you prolong the durability of steel?

Alfatechnic Group Director Tolga Zent emphasizes the vital importance of protecting assets and the environment around them, a feat that can only be achieved by effectively fighting corrosion, which in turn calls for aggregate systems engineering applications. He says, “Alfatechnic’s presence can be traced in every project which requires surface treatment technology applications and their uses steel and, as such, bears the risk of corrosion. Today, we have five suspension bridges in Türkiye used extensively by vehicles and a large number of viaducts. All of these are steel structures. Steel is used in a wide variety of settings, including, for example, in covers of dams, motor vehicle equipment and oil storage areas. In all of these environments we need to be fighting a war against corrosion. Many countries have been allocated special resources in the budgets of their relevant ministries to fight corrosion in steel structures.”

What are the steps to protect steel?

First, we start by preparing the surface to be treated for sandblasting. Later, we set up special coating facilities classified according to the corrosion class in accordance with the requirements of each harsh climate condition, using systems provided by coating application technologies.

Surface treatment plants are prepared according to the order of processes to be completed. First, the sandblasting room is built, followed by the coating applications area, and after that furnaces are built for curing the coating. Sandblasting is the preparation for the coating job, which is carried out in the painting cabin. After this, the painting room for the parts that will be ready after sandblasting is built. The paint applied here can be paints that are fit for different types of physical conditions and locations. The type of coating to be used also changes according to the corrosion class specified for the parts being treated. Finally, there are the furnace facilities for oven-curing the coatings.

Marine vessels are typically exposed to seawater, which has high conductivity and therefore is a severely corrosive environment for metal structures. As such the surface coating should be top quality.

During the coating application, both the sandblasting and drying procedures should be carried out at the right temperature for the process. For this reason, blasting and coating facilities should be built according to standards. During sandblasting, dust should be minimized and the treatment of the steel surface should be carried out according to the sandblasting standard SA21/2 or higher, and temperature controls should be set in line with the in-house paint disposal standards. After these processes, the blasting facility’s temperature should be increased to a certain degree. All environmental and occupational safety rules should be observed meticulously.

For many years, we have been servicing the Naval Forces Command. Some examples we can cite of the projects we have carried out include a facility as part of the MILGEM warship project. We set up a sandblasting and coating complex in an elite shipyard of the Naval Forces.

We delivered this plant, which is a high-ranking facility in terms of its advanced technology, in 2021. In addition to the work we do for the Naval Forces Command, we also supply equipment for armored vehicles such as tanks and howitzers produced by private sector companies for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). Additionally, we have also built blasting and coating plants of varying sizes for the defense industries of various other countries.

Alfatechnic is serving the industry in many different lines of business through the different companies of Alfatech Group. Alfatechnic Makine supplies spare parts and equipment for blasting and coating applications, while Alfatechnic builds blasting, coating, filtration and surface treatment plants to international standards and in complete detail, as well as providing services for the maintenance and upkeep of these plants. With GrantGlobal, our company provides blasting granules/ abrasives and cast shots specific to the white goods and defense industries. We also provide the services provided by these three companies located in Türkiye for the relevant industries in Romania and Germany through Arccorrosion established in Constanta, Romania and Alphatechnik, in Hamburg, Germany.

Meanwhile, the company continues growing sustainably by granting dealerships and opening new branches in different parts of the world. We have one dealership in Serbia and four dealerships on the Arabian Peninsula. These are in Dubai, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. In the same region, Qatar is one of the countries where we engage in business development. We supply products to 33 countries, including several EU countries and the USA.

The right equipment choices help shipyards boost profit

Zent also shared information about the advantages of establishing a sandblasting plant at a shipyard, choosing the right equipment, and blasting in accordance with the rules and regulations, saying there were several points to be considered.

“If shipyards buy sandblasting and coating equipment for newbuild and repair/maintenance projects from a company that designs its products in accordance with European and global standards, they will, in the long run, profit from these operations because their depreciation periods will extend.”

We provide sandblasting and coating equipment for ships in need of repair or maintenance. This equipment ensure compliance with environmental rules and occupational safety norms. They prevent unnecessary expenses by reducing operating costs.

From time to time, we provide information to shipyards on complying with regulations. By constructing enclosed halls in the newbuilding industry, we ensure that the sandblastingcoating spaces are not bound by the prevailing climate conditions, allowing blasting and coating applications to be carried out year-round in a highly efficient manner. For yachts, we provide engineering solutions for all surface treatment processes. Certainly, an aesthetic look is in the foreground as a priority in case of yachts.

As the Turkish shipbuilding industry, we need to increase our efficiency in this strategically important field as a country and stay ahead of the competition in terms of technical differentiation in order to be competitive internationally. We approach these issues through different disciplines with a holistic approach towards all of these areas, from climate solutions to having weight in international competition, and protection of assets.

We have ISO 9001 quality management certification Certificate, confirming our commitment to production in accordance with European standards. During the manufacturing phase, we produce according to the relevant pressure capacity certification and use P-grade steel plates in pressure equipment.”

“A crucial point for yard purchasing units to watch out for”

Tolga Zent recommends technical purchasing units of shipyards to absolutely compare project specifications with the technical report. If, he stresses, this often ignored comparison is neglected, a difficult situation arising might be unavoidable, having serious consequences for business owners.

Alfatechnic Group, which has built more than 150 facilities in Türkiye and around the world, also provides after-sales support to the owners of these facilities. The group attaches great importance to digital transformation and all the systems they offer are integrated into the digital environment. The company also has an archive of tech support videos. Furthermore, starting in the first quarter of 2023, the company will update and make available online free technical support videos on its websites.

Ultimately, the group aims to bring business owners who have chosen to work with Alfatechnic to a level where they will be able to perform on their own repairs just by purchasing the necessary spare parts. For more complex facilities, the company is able to analyze potential issues remotely by connecting online. It plans to develop this practice that will facilitate improved repair and maintenance operations for all facilities.

Taking Türkiye’s sandblasting industry into the future and at the same time protecting the environment and producing projects that benefit society, Alfatechnic offers its services with more than 100 professionals, including those of its subcontractors. In addition to the quality products it manufactures to fight corrosion; it continues to produce reliable systems that improve any setting with the help of its 37 employees, including a team of eight engineers.

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