Industrial Corrosion – When Do You Call in Backup?


Corrosion of steel in industrial settings is so commonplace that “it’s been like that for years,” is a typical refrain.  Staff in charge of maintaining infrastructure need to be judicious with their budgets, but breakdowns in structure can lead to significant problems that endanger production capacities, facilities, and employee safety.

So when you see corrosion that appears to be worthy of attention, what do you do?  Relax and remember that just because it looks bad doesn’t mean it is!

Unless it is.

And that’s the problem with corrosion:  visual inspections are simply ineffective at telling you how much life your steel still has.  The good news is that a trained professional can quickly tell if your steel can still do the job you need it to, with little effect on the bottom line.  We have specialized equipment, Olympus 38DL PLUS Ultrasonic Thickness Gauge, that can accurately measure the thickness of sound steel.  With these measurements, a structural engineer can determine if the metal is in jeopardy of failing.

To be safe, remember this:  When in doubt, check it out! 


"As a Structural Engineer, I work in tandem with my community to develop the spaces in which we all live, work and play. I am driven to create tailored, tangible value that adds to my community by getting to know my clients, their culture and priorities. I approach every relationship with a convivial spirit, because working with people to help them realize their goals is why I became an engineer.

As Shive-Hattery’s Iowa City office Industrial Squad leader, I help a wide array of businesses in our region maintain their infrastructure and adapt their facilities to changing needs. Industrial work is always unique and challenging, offering design opportunities unlike any other market.  As a coworker once told me, “Industrial work is great because it’s the weird stuff,” and in the best possible way."

Matt Barron, PE

Structural Engineer