Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the east coast of the US in late October and early November of 2012, devastating homes, businesses and personal property. As factories begin to clean up and get rolling again, they are finding that key electronic components have been ruined after days and weeks sitting in salt water and sand, a condition that is not friendly to electronic components.
We have been contacted by a number of companies looking to replace PLC parts, seemingly ruined by the storm damage. However, we have encouraged them to send the damaged PLC units to us for evaluation before they are thrown away. We recently received a shipment of almost 200 GE Field Control and GE Genius parts that were submerged in salt water in the NY area. We knew our technicians had the experience and tools necessary to make a gallant attempt at salvaging some of these units.
As you can see from these pictures, these GE Field Control parts were in terrible, terrible condition – worse than any parts that have been subjected to the dreaded wash-down while the panel door is open condition we see from time to time. Corrosion and rust are readily visible on all parts.
We first brushed all of the debris from each board, including sand and any loose components. We then put each unit through a cycle in an Ultrasonic cleaner; many parts had to go through a second or third cycle to remove all of the grime and corrosion. From there, each unit was put into a solvent/degreaser bath for 20 minutes. Once clean, the units were put into an alcohol bath to absorb liquid from the unit. The units were then dried for 12 hours, re-inspected and, if needed, run through the cleaning process again.
From there, each unit was tested in our Field Control testing lab where one of our senior PLC technicians tests each unit to factory specifications to determine if the part is functional, repairable or needs to be scrapped. Surprisingly, almost 50% of the units that we cleaned and tested actually passed the factory test!
Here are pictures of the finished units: