Galvanization involves coating steel parts with a layer of zinc to protect against rust and corrosion. This coating offers a barrier to shield against various corrosive elements, ensuring a high-quality and long-lasting steel product. Galvanized steel offers increased strength, enhance durability, and formability, making it a very popular material choice for various metal fabrication applications.
Common Considerations in Galvanized Steel Metal Fabrication
Galvanized steel metal fabrication has shown itself to be a cost-effective and easily accessible process for ensuring a long-lasting steel product with much greater aesthetic appeal than bare metal. Even so, multiple considerations must be taken when preparing metal for galvanization:
- Bending Steel. When bending steel, careful consideration must be made as to when the steel should be bent. If steel is bent after galvanization, the risk of cracking becomes much greater. However, this cracking can often be repaired.
- Bolts, Nails & Fasteners. Because bolts, nuts, and fasteners are integral to the integrity of a project, galvanization is a much stronger choice than simply coating steel for this purpose. Galvanization ensures a complete-coverage coating that is critical to the longevity of steel fasteners.
- Dulling. One of the appeals to galvanization is its shiny initial appearance. Although this shine can dull over time, many people prefer the duller appearance of galvanized steel that has been weathered for a period of time. This finish can be achieved as part of the initial process if desired.
- Masking. In some situations, you may not want to galvanize a steel part’s entire surface. This is easy to achieve through masking with special tapes, paints, pastes, and greases. Though simple, masking is not foolproof, and some grinding may be required to return to the original steel product.
- Material Handling. Determining if lifting points are needed in the design is an essential consideration before galvanizing steel. Lifting points allow coverage to be completed without leaving unwanted marks behind.
- Moving Parts. When moving parts are part of a project, each piece should be galvanized separately and then assembled. Otherwise, moving parts may freeze in place or bond to each other.
- Surface Condition. Starting with adequately prepared steel is crucial to the success of the metallurgical bond achieved during galvanization. Cleaning steel by immersing it in a chemical pre-treatment bath is the usual preparation method. Abrasive blasting may also be needed when sand, welding slag, or paints are present.
- Warping & Distortion of Steel. Design serves an important role in the prevention of warping and distortion of steel during the galvanization process. Having surfaces with symmetrical designs and similar thicknesses can reduce the risk of warping. When galvanizing surfaces with asymmetrical or thin-walled designs, temporary bracing can help protect against distortion and warping.
- Welding. The best way to ensure even galvanization is to galvanize after welding. However, occasionally, this simply isn’t possible. In those cases, all welding materials must be well-monitored for compatibility with the base steel for a quality weld.
Benefits of Galvanizing Steel
Galvanized steel offers a wide range of benefits, including:
Quick to process and dry, galvanization only requires one dip and one day to set. Other coating methods need to be sprayed or painted, which takes significantly more time
Galvanization is a life-long treatment. Its corrosion protection is permanent and requires no upkeep. Its appearance also endures over time, along with its strength.
Galvanized steel does not require the use of harsh chemicals to prevent corrosion or maintain the steel. The only maintenance it needs is a few wipe-downs per year to ensure optimal appearance and functionality.
Easy Inspection Process
With a continuous coating that’s clearly visible, any flaws can quickly be addressed, and there are no concerns about what may be hidden beneath. This allows ease of inspection and quicker fabrication.
The matte-gray color of galvanized steel is a universal match for almost any environment. However, if a color change is desired, powder-coating makes for a simple color transition.
Galvanized steel is a low-cost, quick process, thereby saving money on both the process and labor. Because of its longevity and ease of maintenance, the cost savings continue long past production.
Contact PDF, Inc.
Galvanized steel offers longevity, speed, low maintenance, and more, making it highly beneficial for use in metal fabrication applications. If you’re ready to get started on your galvanized steel fabrication project, PDF, Inc. has the necessary skills and experience to create quality fabricated products. To learn more about our capabilities, contact us or request a quote today to get started.