Industrial Maintenance and Repair: The Ongoing Challenge of Reducing Wear

    February 8, 2016

With industrial equipment, when surfaces in motion come in contact with each other or harsh environments, there is often progressive damage that results in loss of material from exposed surfaces. This is classified as wear.

By definition, wear is the removal of the material from the surface of a solid body as a result of mechanical action of the counter body.

Wear also manifests itself in a wide range of physical and chemical processes, including micro-cutting, micro-ploughing, plastic deformation, cracking, fracture, welding, melting and chemical interaction. 

Can it be completely eliminated? No one has figured that one out yet. But there are a number of factors that impact the occurrence of wear, from surface geometry to applied load, to the properties of the surfaces and the environmental conditions. The more that is known about these variables, the easier it becomes to find wear-resistant products that may limit its negative impact. 

Types of Wear

Wear can be broadly categorized into the following types:

wear factors

Abrasion: Abrasive wear occurs when a harder material of significant size rubs against a softer material.

Erosion: Erosive wear is caused by the impingement of smaller particles (solid, liquid or gaseous), which remove fragments of materials from the surface due to momentum effect.

Friction: Frictional wear occurs through relative motion between metal surfaces. This is typically recognized by linear grooves that are generated from a reciprocating or unidirectional contact.

Heat: High temperatures lead to softening of metals and degradations of material properties that result in surface wear.

Corrosion: Corrosive wear is caused by degradation of a material surface due to a reaction with its environment. It can be accelerated by a wide range of factors.

Impact Wear – As the name suggests, impact wear occurs from the material loss/damage produced by a solid surface repeatedly impacting against another surface. Such collisions of moving material causes damage over time.

Cavitation: Cavitation is a special form of impact wear in which vapor bubbles in fluid form in low-pressure regions and then collapse (implode) in higher-pressure regions of a fluid system (such as a pump). These continuous implosions can be powerful enough to create holes or pits on the surface.

Most industrial equipment must contend with several wear factors simultaneously in equipment that must run reliably, or risk significant downtime for repair or replacement.

Surface Engineering Solutions to Address Wear Problems 

The only wear type that can be managed by lubrication is friction. Other wear types require higher quality materials or enhancement of material surfaces to withstand wear phenomena. 

Henkel has developed Loctite® surface engineering solutions to provide enhanced properties to component surfaces subjected to wear in industrial environments. 

If you’re charged with reducing wear in your plant, here’s a handy guide: 

Wear Factor

Recommended Loctite® Products

Application areas in Power Plants


  • Stacker reclaimer

  • Ash handling pumps

  • Chutes and hoppers


  • Coal mill internal parts

  • Pulverized fuel lines

  • Vacuum pumos

  • Dry ash handling pipes/lines

  • Coal burner tips

  • Induce draft fans


  • Not recommended against friction due to metal to metal contact of two surfaces.



  • Metallic structures in coal handling areas

  • Demineralization plant chemical handling equipment and vessels


  • Chutes

  • Crushers

  • Belt conveyors


  • Coal mill parts

  • Pulverized fuel lines

  • Flue ash lines

  • Coal burner nozzles

  • Coal burner tips


  • Circulating water pumps

Work With an Expert

If you don’t want to go it alone, our team of experts can work with you. We offer in-plant Surface Engineering Workshops that can help you address wear factors. This workshop can help you improve reliability, safety and efficiency, as well as reduce maintenance costs. One of our experts will visit you onsite to conduct an evaluation, develop an improvement plan, and train staff. Visit our website to request your free evaluation. 

Over to You

What are your greatest challenges with wear prevention? Let us know in the comments, or on Twitter (Loctite_NA).

About the Author, Pradeep Klair

Pradeep is a global market development manager for Henkel providing support for the power segment. He has over 15 years of experience in MRO and has worked in multiple global regions in various roles ranging from sales management, business development, and global market development. Pradeep holds a bachelor of technology degree in mechanical engineering and has received a “mini MBA" from Rutgers University.

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