Galvanic Corrosion In CNC Machines

If you work with or maintain CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines, then you know all about the risk of galvanic corrosion that can happen to them. CNC machines are important for any business, because they are what monitor the movements of your machines, and in some cases they even automate the machine’s movements.

CNC machines can include CNC Plasma Cutters, CNC Routers, CNC Lathes, and CNC Milling Machines. All of these are wonderful for your business and can do quite a lot of things, but they also form the backbone of most businesses. So whenever these valuable machines corrode, sometimes your business can corrode with it.

In order to prevent the onset of galvanic corrosion on your machines, then you need to figure out what it is in the first place, and then how you can prevent your CNC machines from getting it. That’s what this article is going to help you figure out, so read on and we’ll get started!

What Is Galvanic Corrosion?

Galvanic corrosion is whenever two metals react to one another and both metals have different electrode potentials. Whenever these metals come into contact with one another and with an electrolyte, one acts as an anode and the other as a cathode. To spare you the science, all you really need to know is that because the electrode potentials are so different, the anode metal dissolves into the electrolyte, and that causes a lot of corrosion, more than there normally would be anyway.

This can be a problem if your CNC machine is made of mixed metals that will interact with electrolytes on a daily basis. Then parts of the metals will simply rust away and dissolve into the electrolytes, and other parts will start to rust as well. 

How Do You Prevent Galvanic Corrosion in CNC Machines?

The first and easiest solution is to use metals that do not react to electrolytes together. If one metal is more reactive than the other, then one will be an anode and the other a cathode, and galvanic corrosion will occur. If you have metals that are close to one another in reactivity, then the corrosion will be limited or would be avoided altogether. Still, sometimes the metals that are in the CNC machine, need to be in the CNC machine, and other methods are required.

One solution is to isolate the two metals using gaskets or coatings, including the process of ‘galvanizing.’ This is where metals are given a zinc coating to protect them from galvanic corrosion, and this is often done when the metal is steel. Galvanizing also protects the steel from the atmosphere as well, and puts a cap on electrochemical action.

Another solution is to use a corrosion inhibitor as well, which as the name suggests, reduces the effect of corrosion on the environment around the CNC machine.

The Different Types Of Galvanizing

Of course, the most common way to prevent galvanic corrosion on a CNC machine’s metal parts is to use the galvanizing process. There are several ways to put the zinc coating on the metal parts before you place them inside of the CNC machine, and one of the best types is to use hot dip galvanizing. 

Hot Dip Galvanizing is whenever the pieces of metal are prepared and then dipped into molten hot zinc, which covers the entire surface and then produces a uniform coating of zinc, and zinc alloys that keeps everything thick. The Hot Dip Galvanizing also coats all the little recesses, corners, seals, edges, and rivets, and all of those small places are often prime targets for galvanic corrosion that can ruin the entire piece of metal or the entire part.

Continuous In-Line Galvanizing also is a good idea for various parts; The process allows for the steel parts to have a controlled galvanizing on them, where the coating thickness and other characteristics are controlled by the manufacturer and can be customized to create whatever the CNC Machine needs.

Making Sure The Plans For Your CNC Machines Don’t Rust

If you have CNC machines and you need to keep them maintained for your business, do everything you can to prevent them from getting corroded, galvanic corrosion or otherwise, because it can be expensive and time consuming to replace parts and deal with losing one or more machines to rust.

Keeping Galvanic Corrosion at bay by using only the best CNC machine tools like those on , is one of the best things you can do for the longevity of your CNC machines, and your business.