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Corrosion protection for sea freight

Corrosion protection for sea freight

Corrosion protection for sea freight

I am interested to know safe (for rust) way of transporting gear box from Europe to India.
During testing of the GB the oil splashes all over the interiors of GB and lubrication happens.
The oil is drained after testing and only a film of oil remains on the internal parts.
Can this film protect the GB from rusting during sea freight from Europe to India (~6 weeks)
We also did a quick testing:
Sample dipped in this GB oil withstood 17 hours of salt spray life (ASTM B117)
The question is: Is it sufficient to protect the GB's internal parts from rusting.

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

Nope.  Or most probably not.

Depending on time of year especially, your equipment will go through heat/cool cycles and will breath in moisture laden and worse, salt laden air.  If the temperatures are low enough, the metal parts will "sweat" internally as well as externally.

My biggest dread and the most damage I experienced when I shipped gearboxes from Europe (via Rotterdam) to the USA was when they were at sea during the coldest months.  I have had some pretty rusty stuff show up - stuff that was oily when it left due to having been filled and drained.

Your choice is:

1. Roll the dice and do nothing and with crossed fingers hope that the residual oil will hang in there.  It might, but...

2. Coat the internal parts with a preservative or rust preventative that you know will hang in there - probably not doable in a gear box.

3. Completely seal the gearbox so that there can be no possiblity of ingress of moisture/salt laden air.  Probably easier said than done.  And if doable, then beware of and allow for pressure differences internal to external due to temperature fluctuations.

4. Place dessicant bags in the crates, and wrap the gearboxes as well as possible with moisture proof cloth or paper.  And if there is access to gearbox internals, place dessicant bags inside the gearbox with instructions for removal clearly posted on the equipment.

Method 4 was done for the most part with the large gearboxes I imported and it worked reasonably well.  Method 2 was used for the individual parts, gears, shafts, pieces parts, etc.

When I had a choice, I tried to time the shipments so that they would be on the north Atlantic during the warmest weather.  I had some bad cold weather experiences.


RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

There are additives that you can put into the oil after testing that will provide better corrosion protection.
Some of the major producers of VCI (vapor phase corrosion inhibitor) also make these kinds of chemicals.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

The use of a paraffinic base gear oil or synthetic will fair much better in the presence of moisture. Asphaltic based oils are slightly hygroscopic and will allow rust to form even under the oil film.  As posted above the use of a VCI will help mitigate the corrosion problem even in a dry gear box. In actuality a little flash rust on a gear is not a problem as it acts like jewelers rouge.
Here are links to two products that I've used with excellant  results.  For both products you should talk to or contact an applications engineer.




RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

Thanks Syd, Cortec is who I was trying to think of.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Plymouth Tube

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

The most important factor is to prevent condensation of liquid moisture on your product due to humidity and thermocycling. Sealed packaging and desiccants will work but be careful about what is packaged with your product. Wood pallets and cardboard contain lots of moisture.

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

How about leaving the oil in the gearbox?

I ask because, not so long ago, I inquired about ocean shipping of engines.
I was told by the shipping agent that they had to be marked and treated as 'hazardous' in some sense if they had _ever_ had lube oil in them, even if it was drained for shipment.

So I'm not seeing how it makes sense to not ship the box full of lube oil.


Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

If completely drained my understanding is it's non-hazardous by most standards. There is no possibility of a "spill". Spills are a major headache for shipping companies. Crates can tip or be loaded upside down.

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

Make sure any oils or additives you use for this purpose is compatable with your seal materials or for that matter all materials in your gear box.


RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

some years ago I worked on a project shipping engines and gear
boxes to Egypt from Florida.  We did leave the lube oils in place
nothing was said because we bagged and crated the equipment.
About the only thing we did was to remove the gearbox breather
and use pipe plug in it's place hoping someone on the other end
would change them out. This equipment was rally a tough nut as
nothing was painted, which is the reason we bagged them in a
good VCI paper and a good standby coating.
Leaving anything dry rings can present some problems if the
transit time is very long.  The bearing will brinell.  

If you are forced to dry ship you might want to look at these
products from Stam.



RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

How would leaving the oil in keep the bearings from ( false)Brinelling?

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

It will not totally prevent prevent this but mitigate it better than grease. Additional help is achieved by the use of an solid film additive. Doesn't completely pr even but again it helps and can't hurt.  The only way to prevent this is to rotate the bearing at short intervals.

Brinelling (false) can be very hard to prevent on a ship due induced vibrations from a ship mainly, from the propeller.  

RE: Corrosion protection for sea freight

It is sort of on topic in that it relates to the temperature problem, especially when the metal temperature drops below the dew point one of the stupidest things I ever did was to book some freight on a reefer trailer (in this case a land shipment - from the port after an ocean voyage ironically) to a major western city.

I got a real good freight rate and a real quick delivery when I needed an urgent shipment of machined parts (gears, shafts, pieces and parts for the aforementioned gearboxes) shipped up from the port but failed to realize that by booking it on a reefer, that the reefer would be -20F inside.

I met that shipment and as I opened and unpacked it, I realized to my dismay that the metal parts were at -20F and there was nothing that I could do to make them not sweat.  The warehouse lacked a handy oven.  I had tons of grief with the rust that appeared on those parts, even though most of them were "covered" with a rust preventative.  They weren't coated with an "idiot" preventative however.

Over the years I received several shipments that I could tell had been good and wet during the ocean transit.  My gadget had two gear boxes on it and they were filled with 90 wt gear oil and drained prior to shipment and generally they did OK.  Some were shipped in crates, wrapped in VCI paper, others were shipped open in containers.  As stated above, the most problem I had was when they had to make the transit in the dead of winter.


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