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Improve metallurgy studies, specialist urges

1 August 2017

Global maintenance expert calls for better metallurgy education

Global water, energy and maintenance solutions provider NCH Europe is calling for colleges and universities to put more focus on metallurgy studies in engineering degrees. The company believes that an improved education in metallurgical engineering will help the industrial sector effectively tackle the costly problem of rust and corrosion.

Metallurgy courses — which teach engineers to understand the behaviours, composition and properties of metallic elements and alloys — have declined in popularity in recent years. There are currently less than twenty metallurgy courses in the UK, run by only a handful of universities. Despite this, the understanding of metals is becoming increasingly important in combating a variety of industrial plant management issues, including rust.

The cost of corrosion damage accounts for approximately three per cent of every European country’s gross domestic product (GDP) each year, which would equal an estimated £186.3 billion in 2016 alone. This cost will likely increase in the coming years as a growing population drives a rise in mass-manufacturing and production facilities.

“We have seen for many years that rust is becoming an increasingly costly problem for the industrial sector,” explains Peter Crossen, VP of the Maintenance and Partsmaster Innovation Platform at NCH Europe. “Many of the costs associated with rust can be easily prevented with a thorough understanding of metals and solutions, yet most engineers have not received an effective education in metallurgy.

“NCH Europe regularly audits businesses to determine the root cause of persistent corrosion problems. We often find that plant and maintenance engineers are using ineffective rust prevention coatings for their applications, resulting in frequent occurrences of corrosion. Better teaching at a degree level will ensure that these incidents and the costs associated with them are kept to a minimum.”

The need for metallurgists is part of a much-discussed skills shortage in the engineering industry. In fact, a recent state of engineering report revealed that another 265,000 skilled engineers are required every year to meet demand. NCH Europe believes that a significant number of metallurgists are also required alongside this.

“Most calls for trained engineers are very general and do not clarify the kinds of skills that are most valuable,” continues Crossen. “The rising demand for engineers brings with it an increased relevance for a strong understanding of metallurgy. For engineering businesses such as NCH Europe, this skill set is critical in ensuring the long-term delivery of innovative and effective products.”

NCH Europe is currently undertaking a European recruitment drive for technical sales staff and service engineers. Engineers with a background in metallurgy can contact the company on +44 (0) 1902 510 200 or by e-mailing

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