Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Rifi An Enterprise Consultancy Unit

Case Study: Preventing the corrosion of a gland used in systems built for the dairy industry

Objective: To test and recommend alternative corrosion and abrasion resistant materials for the design of a particular rotating component in a system which sterilises the cow teats after a milking operation.


  • ADF Milking supply dairy famers with milking systems which automatically sterilise and protect the cow teats against infection after milking operations.
  • A particular component in the system, (a milking gland made from austenitic stainless steel 316) was prematurely failing due to a combination of corrosion by teat dip solution and abrasion caused by an O-ring.
  • ADF wanted to test a range of materials before selecting a suitable alternative for the design of their new gland.
  • What we did

  • State-of-the-art non-contact optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to identify the type of corrosion experienced by the gland.
  • A bespoke corrosion test methodology was designed to simulate crevice type corrosion.
  • The corrosion tests were carried out over 3 months under controlled conditions to replicate the actual operating conditions of the gland during service.
  • RIfI ranked each material relative to its performance measured/observed during the testing.
  • Leading experts from nCATS also provided some material performance-critical interpretations of the test results to reinforce RIfI's recommendations.
  • Impact

  • RIfI/nCATS recommended material which could significantly reduce crevice type corrosion during service.
  • ADF Milking Ltd implemented this material in the design of their new gland and have since not experienced failure of the gland.
  • The advice and recommendations reported by RIfI/nCATS have been deployed by ADF Milking for the design of other components.
  • Typical gland components
    Typical gland components
    3-D optical image of a typical 'pit' from a crevice corrosion attack
    3-D optical image of a 'pit'
    3-D colour map optical image of a typical 'pit' from a crevice corrosion attack
    3-D colour image of a typical 'pit'

    We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.