NEWS ALERT: How to Fight Corrosion on Fertilizer Spreader Trucks and Equipment

The fertilizer industry would be one of the finalists if awards were given to the most corrosive industries. Although fertilizer makes a huge difference for agricultural productivity, it has a negative effect when it comes to vehicles and structures, sometimes eating through eight inches (20 cm) of concrete in just five years and deteriorating fertilizer spreader trucks in a few short months. Cortec® is looking at ways to help the fertilizer industry pull out of this vicious cycle of equipment degradation through the strategic use of Cortec® Coatings.

Fighting an Uphill Battle Against Corrosion

Without special protection, trucks that spread fertilizer are destined to rust. Fertilizer blends made of ammonia nitrate, nitrogen, phosphate, and potash enrich the soil but take their toll on the trucks that spread them on fields for just a few summer months. In fact, fertilizers tend to be more corrosive than deicing salts used in harsh winter environments. Fertilizer corrodes practically any metal it touches: dump truck beds, brace bars, spreader pans, lines and pumps under the truck, and air intake filters. The economic cost is that fertilizer trucks often have to be ripped down to the frame and rebuilt every two years—a high price tag for these expensive assets.

Implementing a Preventative Maintenance Plan

In the past, fertilizer truck owners have taken it as a matter of course that their equipment will rust and need to be rebuilt or replaced every few years. However, for some, a new realization is dawning that it does not have to be this way. Cortec® Coatings offer an excellent preventative maintenance plan that can extend the service life of fertilizer equipment. A small annual investment can have a potentially huge savings that could have benefits for years to come.

VpCI®-391 is a water-based removable coating that dries to a clear non-tacky film. It is great for spraying over painted surfaces without significantly changing the appearance of the equipment. It has a low VOC of 0.4 lbs/gal (48 g/L) and is easy to work with. Although it is considered a removable coating that can be washed off relatively easily with an alkaline cleaner, users often leave it on for ongoing corrosion protection because it is so inconspicuous. VpCI®-391 can be sprayed over both painted and unpainted metal surfaces on fertilizer trucks. For the underbody, a tough coating of VpCI®-398 Undercoat is recommended. VpCI®-398 dries to a soft, non-brittle black film that helps protect against cracking and coating damage from the impact of gravel or debris.

Revolutionary Solution for Front-End Loaders

Over 10 years ago, a barge loading company discovered the benefits of VpCI®-391 when it started applying this removable coating for annual preventative maintenance on front-end loaders used to move large volumes of deicing salts and/or fertilizers at ports. The harsh exposure typically made the loaders look 10 years old in just one year, requiring replacement every two or three years. The equipment started lasting much longer when the company started applying VpCI®-391 over the top, bottom, front, and back—all accessible metal—of the loaders. The company loved the coating and has continued to apply it as part of annual preventative maintenance for many years.

Fight Corrosion, Cut Costs

Fertilizer is a formidable but not impossible corrosion challenge to tackle. With simple preventative fleet maintenance using Cortec® Coatings, fertilizer companies can help their trucks and equipment last longer, saving huge costs with just a small annual investment. Contact Cortec® to learn more about developing a solution for your fertilizer equipment:

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