For stainless steel structures used in industries like oil & gas, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals, nuclear power, etc, a final cleaning process is requisite to restore a satisfactory surface quality. This is essential in order to maintain hygiene and avoid corrosion of fabricated stainless steel surfaces. The methods for post-fabrication treatment involve processes which are either chemical or mechanical or combination of both. The activity’s objective was to identify preferred weld cleaning methods for stainless steel structures in US and capture opinion from the end-users towards migration to Electrolytic Weld Cleaning (EWC) method.
- Online research was conducted to identify prospective users of stainless steel weld cleaning products and existing suppliers of weld cleaning equipment in US. Telephonic discussions were conducted with marketing and sales personnel of weld cleaning equipment suppliers to source information on EWC market potential for sales, after sales services and key users (Industries / companies).
- In-depth interviews were conducted with end users of weld cleaning equipment to identify preferences for weld cleaning methods, pros and cons, operational inefficiencies of specific methods, after sales support provided by the suppliers, etc.
- Pickling Paste (PP) is a key product used for weld cleaning and it is an extremely hazardous product. End users of PP were hesitant to share the names of existing suppliers.
- Most industry players depend on stainless steel fabricators for support with weld cleaning activities, hence the direct end user preferences captured were limited.
- Research discussions suggested that most weld cleaning users still prefer traditional methods like using pickling paste, grinding, sand blasting and wire brushes over greener weld cleaning processes like EWC.
- The end users lack awareness about greener and efficient processes like EWC.