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Factory Visit: Sustainable hot-dip galvanising

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Hot-dip galvanising is a technique that is more than 200 years old, yet it remains highly relevant to modern building

Factory Location More than 60 locations throughout the UK and Ireland
Telephone 0121 355 8838

Hot-dip galvanising is a technique that is more than 200 years old, yet it remains highly relevant to modern building. It is being used in landmark projects such as the Snowdon Summit Visitor Centre by Ray Hole Architects (AJ 16.07.09) and the new Wembley Stadium.

It also plays an important role in sustainable construction, explains Iqbal Johal of the Galvanizers Association (GA). ‘Galvanising steel provides long-term durability and protection from corrosion, eliminating repeated on-site maintenance and offering a lifespan of 50 years or more.

The materials used are also recyclable, and modern galvanising plants employ sustainable techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and reusing heat generated by the process,’ he says.

Modern galvanising plants employ sustainable techniques

While the process of coating steel with zinc is relatively simple - the material is chemically washed and then dipped in molten zinc, producing a metallurgical reaction that bonds the coating to it - preparation is crucial. GA works closely with fabricators and architects to ensure that the steel is correctly fabricated and receives a thorough coating of zinc, and that applications and designs make the most of galvanising’s qualities.

Close contact with galvanisers makes use of their expertise and GA also offers an RIBA CPD seminar to help designers understand the process and its benefits. In addition, a sustainability guide is available for architects and a full carbon impact trail can be provided.

The capacity of a typical modern galvanising plant such as the one featured on the following pages is 10,000 tonnes per year, and the technique can accommodate steel from the size of a washer to 29m sections. There are more than 60 plants in the UK and Ireland, many situated close to the steel industry’s traditional centres.

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