Galvanizing - The Environmentally Sound Coating Solution
15 May 2012, News release from Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd
Galvanizing has long been used within the construction industry to protect steel from corrosion, not only because of its ease of application, cost effectiveness and long-term durability, but because of its inherently sustainable qualities.
Ongoing technological advances and new product developments have made galvanizing an increasingly environmentally-friendly finish, one which can be incorporated into a variety of construction projects, both large and small-scale. Trevor Beech of Wedge Group Galvanizing, the UK's largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation, outlines some of the key benefits of galvanizing and its sustainable qualities, as well as highlighting a newly developed paint which has been produced specifically for use with galvanized steel.
"Steel is a vital raw material in the construction process, but unfortunately it's highly prone to corrosion. In fact, figures suggest that approximately 4% of the world's GDP is lost each year due to corrosion, with one tonne of steel turning to rust every 90 seconds - for every two tonnes of new steel produced, one is made simply to replace metal lost due to rust.
The process of galvanizing involves clean steel being dipped into molten zinc at temperatures up to 450˚C, where a series of zinc-iron alloy layers are formed to create a protective coating which can provide up to 60 years of maintenance-free life.
As a process, galvanizing results in minimal waste, as any zinc that doesn't instantly form a coating on the metal, remains in the galvanizing bath and is subsequently reused. Indeed, zinc's non-ferrous characteristics enable it to be recycled again and again without any loss of its physical or chemical properties. Of course, galvanizing really comes into its own as a sustainable finish because of its one-off nature - the process only needs to be carried out at the beginning of the construction project, but results in an effective and long-lasting protection against corrosion. There's no need for the process to be repeated, and there's no requirement for time and cost-intensive maintenance, while galvanized products, once constructed or installed, can also be removed, re-galvanized and re-used, as well as being easily recycled with scrap created in the steel production process.
The industry has also taken significant steps over the past few years to enhance the process to reduce its overall environmental impact, moves which Wedge Group has helped to lead the way. As a company, we have implemented a number of highly-innovative elements to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency. For example, we have introduced sophisticated rainwater harvesting and sustainable drainage systems at the majority of our 14 plants across the UK, which has minimised the reliance on mains supply.
Once steelwork has been galvanized, there is often a preference - or in some cases even a requirement - to add colour to the finish, perhaps to complement a company's existing branding. This can lead to major issues with adhesion, as most types of paint simply cannot bond adequately to the surface and will consequently run off, peel, or flake prematurely. To ensure that the paint remains on the surface of the steel, the paint must be compatible with the galvanized coating, a combination that will provide unparalleled corrosion protection.
Wedge Group Galvanizing is currently the sole UK distributor of Galvacoat, a two-component polyurethane-based paint system which has been specifically designed for use on galvanized steel. Galvanizing provides an ideal primer for the paint, which is available in all RAL and BS colours at different levels of gloss, allowing the end contractor a huge degree of design freedom. Once applied to galvanized steel via its one coat system, Galvacoat can last for a minimum of 8-10 years, eliminating the need for repeated on-site maintenance and replacement costs. It has already proven to be a popular solution for specialist signage manufacturer ASG, who recently used the paint on steel gantries installed on the forecourts of every Tesco petrol station in the UK."
For further information please email Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd