Why Hot Dipped Galvanized Barriers are Worth the Investment

by | Jun 18, 2012 | Features & Quality | 0 comments

The Key Takeaways of Hot Dipped Galvanized Barriers

  • Hot dip galvanized steel lasts four times longer than painted steel
  • Galvanized barriers can remain corrosion and rust-free for 40 years
  • Painted steel will corrode from both inside and out when exposed to moisture or corrosive elements
  • Galvanizing forms a metallurgical alloy as zinc flows inside the tubing as well as outside
  • A zinc coating is applied to the steel by immersing it in a bath of molten zinc (at 850 degrees)
  • Barriers are carefully cleaned prior to galvanizing to ensure 100% coating
  • Molten zinc naturally reacts with the surface of the steel to form a series of zinc-iron alloys that protect the underlying steel from corrosion

As crowd control barricades are frequently used in outdoor settings, concern about their ability to withstand rain and cold and remain rust-free is a significant factor when events or venues are evaluating a purchase of this crowd management tool.

These concerns become a non-issue when the barriers in question have been hot-dip galvanized.  While most reputable and established suppliers of steel barriers only offer hot-dip galvanized product, there are some imitation or “look-alike” barriers on the market that are only painted, not hot-dip galvanized.

Crowd Control Barriers being Hot Dip Galvanized

This article will discuss the results and benefits of the hot-dip galvanizing process as it applies to steel barricades, and detail the reasons why specifying such barricades is a necessity in terms of product quality and cost-effectiveness.

Steel’s Best Friend

Hot-dip galvanizing is a proven, cost-effective, and durable corrosion protection.  In the hot-dip galvanizing process, a zinc coating is applied to the steel by immersing it in a bath of molten zinc (at 850 degrees).  The molten zinc naturally reacts with the surface of the steel to form a series of zinc-iron alloy layers that protect the underlying steel from corrosive attack.  Even if the coating is subsequently scratched or otherwise damaged, the galvanizing will continue to provide protection to the exposed steel.

An example of barriers destroyed from rust and corrosion.

The Tamis Corporation, manufacturer and supplier of Blockader crowd control barriers, recently communicated with a site that was looking for replaceable bases for some of their barriers.  They were not Blockader barriers, but Blockader’s bolt-on replaceable bases can often be used with other barriers.

In this case, the replacement bases were not able to be successfully affixed.  The original conclusion was that the bases were not compatible with the frames.  But further analysis showed that the reason the bases didn’t fit was because the barriers were seriously rusted at the place where the base would bolt onto the frames.  No replaceable bases would have worked.

Their barriers were not hot-dip galvanized, only painted.  Rust was inevitable.  These barriers can no longer be used.

No rust or corrosion

Hot-dip galvanizing protects the steel from the inside out, and allows you to permanently leave or store barriers outside without danger of rusting.  Because of the way steel barriers are used and handled, scratches and “dings” are unavoidable.  If a barrier is not galvanized, steel that becomes exposed will inevitably begin to corrode.  But, because galvanizing forms a metal bond between the coating and the underlying steel, the alloys formed during the process continue to provide protection to the exposed steel.

Long-Term Value

While there are short-term costs associated with including hot-dip galvanizing in the product development process, the hot-dip galvanizing process significantly pays off in the long run by increasing the product’s life span.  Steel that is hot-dip galvanized can last up to five times longer than steel that is merely painted.  Galvanized steel can remain corrosion- and rust-free for 40 years.

Hot dip galvanized steel lasts four times longer than steel which is merely painted.

Hot dip galvanized steel lasts four times longer than steel which is merely painted.

Advantages over Painting

Steel that is painted, but not galvanized, will corrode from the inside when exposed to moisture or other elements.  The paint is only a cover.  It will chip and peel.

While painting is not a viable alternative to galvanizing, painting over galvanized steel does provide extended corrosion resistance.  This can add even more years to the lifetime of the product, according to the American Galvanizers Association.

The Process / Details

The process for the hot dip galvanization of industry-standard steel barricades (such as Blockader steel barriers) displays the supplier’s commitment to quality.  It actually begins before galvanizing, with the selection of high-quality steel.  Barriers should be carefully cleaned prior to galvanizing to ensure 100% coating.  Barriers should be dipped into the galvanizing bath, and then withdrawn, in a careful, professional manner.

Technical Details

The American Galvanizers Association (www.galvanizeit.org) provides a wealth of information about the galvanizing process, its benefits, and its history, including a fact sheet and an FAQ page on its website.  Anyone wishing to learn more about the life-cycle costs of galvanized vs. non-galvanized products will find numerous statistical studies cited.

Conclusion

Given the initial cost of steel crowd control barricades, and the nature of their use, hot-dip galvanizing is an essential step in the process of manufacturing a quality product.  Barriers that are only painted will have a pleasing look for a very short period of time, but will soon lose not only their attractiveness, but their effectiveness, as rust and corrosion will quickly render them unusable.  Barricades that are hot-dip galvanized can remain in use under any weather conditions and will remain a cost-effective long-term investment.

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