PROFILE: Cathodic Anodes Australasia

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CAA’s 320 panel solar array consistently achieves energy savings of between 25% and 30%.
CAA’s 320 panel solar array consistently achieves energy savings of between 25% and 30%.

Australia's largest manufacturer of anodes is harnessing the power of the sun.

Cathodic Anodes Australasia (CAA) is Australia’s largest anode manufacturer, using Australian raw materials cast at the company’s foundry on the Sunshine Coast.

“We have been casting anodes since 1984,” explained CAA general manager Ross Gorfine. “Over that time our range has expanded to over 550 types of anodes.”

“We like to keep our stock levels high, because in our industry timing is critical. If a boat is on the slip, the last thing you want to do is wait for your anodes. We have built our business on providing efficient service. With over 35 years of experience, we have a pretty good idea of which anodes are the most popular and how many to keep in stock at any time.”

The Sunshine Coast averages 7½ hours of sunshine per day, making it the perfect place to harness the sun’s energy. CAA’s 320 panel solar array consistently achieves energy savings of between 25% and 30%, a significant amount given the energy required to produce anodes.

“Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, reducing our carbon footprint and decreasing our overall impact on the environment were key factors in our decision to go solar. In terms of cost, we did the maths and the economic benefits quickly became evident. Some people say it is a progressive move, we saw it as an opportunity to do the right thing and it also makes good business sense.

“As far as we know, we are the only anode manufacturing foundry in the southern hemisphere utilising clean solar energy. It is good to know that a large proportion of our anodes are manufactured using the power of the sun.”

The right chemistry

Anodes are not just blocks of aluminium or zinc. Corrosion scientists and engineers have undertaken years of research to formulate the chemical compositions that offer the most effective level of protection against corrosion. Their research forms the basis of standards which are recognised within Australia and internationally.

“To make a good anode, trace elements need to be added in the right proportion. These elements are activators which allow the anode to do their job,” explained Gorfine. “It is also critical that no foreign material enters the alloy during casting, as this can stop an anode from working effectively. A clean foundry with tightly-controlled manufacturing processes is a must.

“We also have an Optical Emission Spectrometer in our laboratory, which allows us to monitor the chemical composition to ensure that each anode meets the required standards.

“Our anodes protect billions of dollars worth of vessels and infrastructure. We take this responsibility very seriously. Our manufacturing processes are strictly controlled to ensure that our anodes operate according to the requirements of Australian and internationally recognised standards. We are ISO 9001 accredited by LRQA. The quality control systems that we have in place are critical tools that ensure consistent anode quality.

“As well as supplying anodes for all types of commercial and pleasure craft, we are a preferred supplier to the Department of Defence. Without a robust quality management system, we would not be able to fulfil our obligations as a manufacturer.”

This article was first published in the June-July 2016 issue of Marine Business magazine.

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