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American Air Filter International
American Air Filter International




Pulp and paper mill battles corrosion with SAAFShield technology

Discover how AAF helped protect a paper supplier against downtime.

The Filtration Situation

Pulp and paper mills constantly battle corrosion caused by sulfur compounds that are a byproduct of the manufacturing process. If corrosion occurs, it can lead to the failure of equipment that controls all mill processes.

This Michigan mill had more than two dozen control rooms full of electronic equipment, protected only by scrubbers and limited services from an AAF competitor. These services consisted primarily of placing traditional corrosion metal coupons to monitor corrosion and providing replacement gas-phase media for the mill’s scrubbers.

Eventually, the mill experienced electronic failures in several control rooms.

When the failed circuit boards’ manufacturer performed a forensic analysis, it found corrosion present in the form of silver whiskers. This is a common occurrence with circuit boards compliant with the European Union’s 2003 Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS).

Facility management asked AAF to review its air filtration systems and provide solutions for its control rooms, equipment and maintenance practices.


The AAF Solution

AAF recommended the facility install SAAFShield® technology within their control rooms, providing accurate sensing thanks to quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) technology. SAAFShield Reactivity Monitoring allows the user to monitor corrosion activity in real-time or on-demand to determine vulnerability to environmental corrosion.

The SAAFShield Detecting Unit works with the SAAFShield Reading Unit to display and trend corrosion data over time. This allows users to evaluate corrosion temperature and humidity at specific times. Ultimately, the data can be used to determine the effectiveness of operational procedures. Data can be logged continuously or periodically. A SAAFShield Reading Unit can store data for 500 detecting units.

Real-time monitoring Benefits

At the beginning of the audit, AAF placed a SAAFShield DU in a control room to establish a corrosion rate baseline. Additionally, an analysis of corrosion coupon and media life was conducted.

AAF determined that the scrubber was past its useful life and replenished the scrubber with fresh chemical media. While changing the media and performing maintenance on the scrubber, the SAAFShield DU identified increased levels of corrosion for both copper and silver.

When the scrubber was put back into service, corrosion levels were decreased to below those prior to the media replacement. Based on the high level of sensitivity and accuracy shown in this trial phase, the mill’s management decided to purchase SAAFShield Detecting Units for its remaining 24 control rooms.

Reduced Downtime With SAAFShield Technology

The cost of downtime is the most significant consequence of electronic equipment corrosion. In pulp and paper mills, corrosion can lead processes to shut down, resulting in lost production time. Reactivity monitoring is encouraged to determine air quality in control rooms and other areas with electronic equipment.

Control areas with corrosion rates over 300 Angstrom (Å) per month on copper or over 200 Å per month on silver may incur costly failures and downtime if not protected from gaseous corrosion through methods such as gas-phase filtration. AAF SAAFShield monitoring technology was an ideal solution for the mill, providing confidence that control rooms were now protected from costly unplanned downtime.

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