In the marine and offshore environment, metal corrosion is a major cost and safety factor. Steel gratings, stair treads, pressed floors and safety handrails manufacturer Vital Engineering offers a range of products designed to counter the effects of corrosion in maritime environments.
“The increased oxidation which occurs when metal is exposed to salt water leads to corrosion and, ultimately, can weaken steel structures,” says Vital MD Dodds Pringle.
The company manufactures its products from mild steel, various stainless steel grades, and aluminium, which are coated with galvanised or epoxy-type finishes to protect against corrosion, allowing for lowered life cycle costs and increased safety.
Vital also markets a range of fibreglass products. “These products are not only impervious to corrosion but offer a very good combination of lightness and strength,” Pringle notes.
While walkway products made of galvanised mild steel have been traditionally used in the marine and offshore environment, increasingly, the trend has been to use Vital’s Vitaglass fibreglass grating and handrail products to reduce the rate at which these items need to be replaced.
“In the marine environment, there has been a marked improvement in the life of walkway components, since this change, with replacement cycles being extended and replacement costs being reduced,” he points out.
Vitaglass products are available in a variety of resins, which include ultraviolet and fire-retardant inhibitors in their formulation.
The applications for Vital products in the offshore industry include ship walkways, access to container stacking and inspection areas, as well as cranes and conveyors, stairs and walkways in buildings or storage areas and trench covers.
Pringle highlights that Vital works closely with clients to meet their requirements and offers consultation services when required. “We welcome the opportunity to consult as it gives us the opportunity to supply our customers with the best solutions possible.”
He adds that this approach avoids many of the typical problems faced by buyers of walkway systems, such as unethical specification changes and the use of poor-quality products from nonoriginal-equipment suppliers or manufacturers.
Once proper planning and assessment has been completed, the Vital team assists with rapid, well organised installation to ensure seamless completion of projects, on time and within budget.
“Provided we have the opportunity to discuss the project requirements, we have a high success rate in meeting short turnaround times. It simply boils down to good practice, being proactive and excellent communication,” Pringle concludes.