The UK’s oil and gas sector is essential to the running of the country. Not only does it contribute over £24 billion per year to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, it literally keeps us running thanks to the oil and gas used to supply our homes, the power industry, and hundreds of other industry sectors nationwide. With much of the industry’s work performed in hazardous conditions – including oil and gas rigs in the North Sea – high-quality electroplating is essential to the continued running of this vital industry.
When we think of the petrochemical industry, we picture oil rig platforms rising from the waters, the waves of the North Sea crashing against their metal legs. Of course, there’s so much more to it than this, including barrelling plants, distribution sectors, and more. From end to end, the sector requires a high standard of electroplated components – something that the team here at Karas Plating is more than happy to provide.
Pretty much every aspect of the oil and gas production process has a corrosive effect on iron, steel, and other ferrous metals. Whilst crude oil itself is not corrosive, it contains many impurities that are, including chlorides, naphthenic acids, sulphides, and even corrosive bacteria. This is before we even consider the corrosion likely to occur in salt water environments like the North Sea. At Karas Plating, we have a number of metal finishing solutions that can help defend metal components against corrosion. One of the most popular is nickel-plating or – more specifically – a zinc-nickel alloy, proven to have significant corrosion resistant properties.
A problem that is almost unique to the oil and gas industry is the issue of marine growth on oil platforms, underwater pipes, drills, and more. Being stationed permanently beneath the sea, these items provide a natural home to algae, limpets, lichen, and more. These small organisms aren’t a problem individually, but they grow exponentially if left unchecked, releasing natural acids that corrode many metals. Here at Karas Plating, we offer high build copper plating techniques that prevent this kind of growth, copper being naturally resistant to such organic material.
Of course, corrosion isn’t the only hurdle the oil and gas sector has to overcome. The industry pumps huge amounts of oil and natural gas to refineries across the UK mainland every day. Precision machinery is used throughout the delivery and distribution process, manipulating hundreds of gallons at a time. This leads to wear and tear on individual components over time. An even coating of high-quality nickel on the components results in far more durable machinery. This reduces both the time and cost of repairs, which are hugely beneficial to the industry as a whole.
With so many moving parts involved at each stage of the oil and gas production process, friction occurs naturally. This can result in wear and damage to individual components. The damage comes from the abrasive action of parts moving against one another, as well as the heat generated during the machines’ operation. While the parts in question need to retain their original core material for the purpose of tensile strength, the application of suitable plating can help reduce friction and increase efficiency. We find that electroless nickel-plating (or ENP) is an excellent way to achieve this. We also provide a phosphating solution, much in use on well-heads. This technique offers enhanced lubricity, greatly reducing friction in all moving parts.
When using metal plating techniques in the electrical and electronic sectors, the two key concerns are precision and conductivity. Often you have to risk one in order to benefit from the other. This is where our expertise comes in, balancing the pros and cons of each metal, in order to deliver electronic components that work the way you need them to.
Whether we’re talking about the National Grid, criss-crossing the country providing the nation with its electricity, or more renewable sources of power generation like wind turbines and solar panels, electroplating is essential to the power industry. Components undergo great pressure on a day-to-day basis and must be robust enough to withstand the strain.
The British defence industry utilises many of the electroplating processes that we have perfected here at Karas Plating. Precision plating is required to create reliable defence products. Likewise, they must be resistant to heat, corrosion, and other environmental considerations, since they might be deployed anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice.