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Aerospace facility reduces corrosion rates

and improves safety with the Nalco ACT

Advanced Condensate Treatment Program

An aerospace facility in the northeast
provides products and services to the
military, general aviation and space
industries. This facility is 300,000 sq. ft.
and employs over 700 people. It also
deals specifically with the special
fabrication of optics for satellites and
The supervisors at this site take pride
in maintaining an efficient, safe facility.
In 2000, these supervisors looked for
ways to save energy and equipment
costs with their steam system that
consists of three boilers: two 700 hp
and one 300 hp. The supervisors
discovered that their condensate
corrosion inhibition program was not
performing as well as they expected.
Corrosion rates in the condensate
system were high and pipe replacement
was costly. Condensate return, plagued
with high iron levels, caused feedwater
iron levels to skyrocket above the
ASME guideline for Industrial Fire Tube
Boilers. The facility supervisors also
noted that the current program utilized
a hazardous chemical, and if overfed or
spilled, this product could have adverse
health effects on their employees.
After reviewing other industry standard treatments, this aerospace facility
asked Nalco Company if they had a
better solution.

The facility supervisors needed a
better solution to the hazardous, nonperforming program they currently had

in place. Because of these safety and

technical needs, the facilitys supervisors evaluated the Nalco ACT
Advanced Condensate Treatment
program. The Nalco ACT product is
patented, FDA-approved technology
that would meet the technical needs
of the facility. Formulated from blends
of emulsifiers commonly used in the
food industry, the Nalco ACT product
is safer to use than traditional
condensate corrosion inhibitor
programs. The supervisors also liked
that the Nalco ACT product is
odorless, non-volatile and has no
reportable quantities.
The facility supervisors were ecstatic
about the safety benefits of the
program. But would it decrease the
excessive corrosion rates they were
experiencing throughout the plant?
Because their HVAC systems were
intermittent, there was also a concern
with oxygen corrosion protection.
Could the Nalco ACT program help
with these issues?
The answer was yes. Since the Nalco
ACT product forms a substantive,
non-wettable barrier to the metal
surface, the program effectively
protects against oxygen and carbonic
acid corrosion. The Nalco ACT
product also maintains a protective
barrier during short down times. This
type of corrosion protection is
essential for systems that experience
high levels of carbonic acid production and have air in-leakage.

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Case Study CH-513

The Nalco ACT program could safely

provide corrosion inhibition in this
condensate system, minimizing pipe
and steam trap replacement in the
With their questions answered, this
facility decided to utilize the program. The Nalco ACT program
started in November 2000.

With the Nalco ACT program in
place, the local, on-site Nalco sales
engineer wanted to quantify the
improvement from switching from
their old program. The sales engineer gathered iron levels from water
samples prior to the implementation
of the Nalco ACT program. Earlier in
the year, iron levels reached as high
as 2.1 ppm in the condensate system.
ASME Standards recommend less
than 100 ppb of iron for feedwater in
systems at this operating pressure.
With the iron levels so high in the
condensate re-turn, the facility
exceeded these iron levels in the
feedwater. The facility was anxious
to see the effect of the Nalco ACT
program on iron levels.
After one week of feeding the Nalco
ACT product, iron levels dropped in
the main condensate return from
over 2.0 ppm to 0.9 ppm. The iron
levels continued to drop through the
end of the year and by February
2001, iron levels were lower than the
iron tests control range. Figure 1
illustrates how the iron levels

Figure 1 After implementation of the Nalco ACT program, iron levels decreased from 2.1 to
0.1 ppm.

decreased over this time period. The

hazardous amine treatment was also
removed during this time, reducing the
possibility of health risks in the steam
plant and throughout the facility.

Return on Investment
The facility recognized two areas of
improvement and success: increased
safety and decreased corrosion rates.
They also minimized their hazardous
material exposure as soon as they
implemented the Nalco ACT program.
Reduction in corrosion rates was
realized within a week and levels
continued to drop throughout the
following months.
Reducing their corrosion rates correlates to pipe replacement savings and
extending steam trap life. The supervisors at this facility estimate that they
will save over $10,000 this year in pipe

replacement and labor alone. Steam

trap replacement costs vary by size
and location; but for this customer,
each trap replacement could cost up
to $500 in parts and labor. The cost
of shutting down the steam plant to
make these repairs was too expensive
to quantify.
In addition to reduced corrosion
rates, the facility expects to save
money in fuel costs this year. By
reducing the amount of iron being
returned to the boiler, they expect
minimal iron scale on the tubes of
their boilers. For this aerospace
facility, this equates to over $10,000
in fuel savings! This is especially
important with todays high gas and
oil prices.
This steam plant is now more
efficient and safer because of the
value of the Nalco ACT program.
This facility continues to observe
excellent corrosion rate results today.


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