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Galvaniser announces that it is chromium trioxide-free

Posted on 19 Jun 2024. Edited by: John Hunter. Read 432 times.
Galvaniser announces that it is chromium trioxide-freeAs part of its ongoing mission to become a truly sustainable business, Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd has announced that it is no longer using chromium trioxide in its operations. After dedicating several years and investing in research and development, as well as trials of alternative chemicals, the company has now completely removed chromium trioxide from its processes — ahead of new legislation set to take affect from September.

David Nobes, technical services director at Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, said: “Over the past few years in particular, we have made a conscious effort to reduce or remove high-risk and non-sustainable chemicals and metals from the galvanising process – to ensure it is safer for our team, compliant with legislation, and in-line with our sustainability targets, and those of our customers too.

“With no direct equivalent to chromium trioxide available, it is challenging for businesses like ourselves that want to not only adopt new procedures ahead of changing rules and regulations, but who want to also discover innovative, sustainable, and safer solutions.”

Chromium trioxide is traditionally used in the passivation process during galvanising. It creates a protective surface on the galvanising coating that keeps the surface bright and shiny for up to 12 weeks, and minimises wet storage stain on the coating for the immediate period after galvanising.

But as of September 2024, the European Union’s REACH legislation is banning the use of chromium trioxide in most manufacturing processes, including galvanising. With this deadline looming, Wedge Group Galvanizing has ceased the manufacture of the chemical ahead of time.

Mr Nobes added: “This isn’t a new phenomenon to us and so we have luckily been unaffected by the regulation change. We have spent many years searching for an alternative solution, and one product in particular stood out to us as it works in a similar way alongside existing equipment and processes. Since 2020, we have been successfully trialling this non-chrome product at several of our plants, and it became common practice across all 14 at the end of April.

“To date, our customers have been pleased with the results – with the majority not even able to notice the difference, and we are delighted that the transition to using a chrome-free process has been smooth. We are working tirelessly to ensure we continue to achieve a consistent, quality, and aesthetically-pleasing finish for all that complies with legislation, and is kinder to our team and our planet.”

Wedge Group Galvanizing is the largest hot-dip galvanizer in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years. With 14 plants around the country, the firm offers a national galvanizing service.