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Galvanization can protect steel for decades, but it takes a real specialist to protect it in transit

Corrosion costs the US almost half a trillion dollars a year, that’s over 3% of US GDP. Which goes some way to account for the fact that the global hot dip galvanizing market is predicted to grow at 5.1% CAGR up to 2025 from a current base of over US$69 billion. The Golden Gate bridge demonstrates the benefits of galvanizing perfectly with estimates suggesting that, had it been galvanized instead of being painted, it would have saved the government over a billion dollars since its opening in 1937.

Hot dip galvanization (HDG) is a tough, sustainable treatment with ever-increasing uses in global Industries from construction to automotive. By immersing clean steel in molten zinc, HDG causes a series of layers to form by a metallurgical reaction between the two. The result is a coating that is integral to the steel and can remain maintenance free for over seventy years. But scratch the surface of a galvanized product, and you compromise its integrity allowing corrosion through its protective layer.

So, it may come as a surprise that many shippers of galvanized steel products still use steel banding to secure their loads. The issue is two-fold: the steel used for the banding will oxidize readily and the resulting rust can stain and discolor the zinc surface of the galvanized steel; secondly the edges of the steel banding are extremely sharp and can easily cut through the softer zinc coating to the bare steel below. This can often result in rejection from buyers concerned about the effect this will have on the long-term integrity of the finished product.

This is all the more remarkable when you learn that there is a solution which allows you to safely secure even the very heaviest steel components with a material that is not only easier and safer to apply but which will actually protect their galvanized surfaces. Cordstrap’s polyester strapping provides HDG plants with a non-abrasive solution that will not damage galvanized products in the way steel does - and does not oxidize.

In addition, Cordstrap applications are easier, quicker and safer to apply than steel, with a range of low-cost, low-maintenance and durable tensioners. This is especially important in the challenging and hazardous environment of an HDG plant where high temperatures must be maintained and in which the heavier equipment needed to secure steel banding is a serious encumbrance.

These high temperatures also present an additional problem with steel banding. Steel contracts and becomes increasingly brittle when moved from a hot to a very cold environment. This raises the tension of the banding and increases the risk of the banding failing during transit or springing off at its final destination which represents a real danger to handlers at every stage of the journey.

Many of the world’s leading galvanized steel producers are already Cordstrap customers but, if you are shipping galvanized products anywhere in the world, you should ensure that your logistics teams are no longer using steel banding. If they are, you are risking not just your and your customers’ employees’ safety but also your cargo and, ultimately, your brand reputation. Here, our cargo protection expert, Mike Fowler discusses  why the switch to polyester strapping is essential.

Steel banding is not the only risk to galvanized products during transit. Wet storage stain is an unsightly white or gray powdery deposit that can develop on newly galvanized articles. It is caused by moisture getting trapped around the cargo and can result in loads being rejected. So, protecting galvanized products is about much more than securing them safely. As part of a holistic approach to cargo protection, Cordstrap has developed a comprehensive range of Moisture Control solutions that enable you to mitigate the risk of wet stain damage to galvanized shipments. 

Cordstrap have a global sales and support network that can provide training and tailored advice to ensure that your operatives are fully protecting your products and operating more efficiently. All of these will have a beneficial impact in lowering the total cost of ownership of galvanized steel products which is increasingly critical in a highly commoditized and competitive industry. Contact your local team to find out more.

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