Galvanizing Giant Ditches Toxic Chemical, Embracing Sustainable Future

After years of research and investment, Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd has successfully transitioned to using a non-chrome alternative for the passivation process in their galvanizing operations across all 14 of their UK plants. This proactive move allows them to be fully compliant months ahead of the upcoming 2024 EU regulations banning the use of chromium trioxide. The new chrome-free process has been well-received by customers, providing a consistent quality finish while being safer for workers and more environmentally sustainable.

As part of their ongoing mission to become a truly sustainable business, a national galvanizing company has successfully become completely Chromium Trioxide free.

After dedicating several years and significantly investing into the research, development and trials of alternative chemicals, Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd is proud to have completely removed Chromium Trioxide from their processes – months ahead of the latest legislation set to govern this industry-wide.

David Nobes, Technical Services Director at Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, said: “Over the past few years in particular, we’ve made a conscious effort to reduce or remove high-risk and non-sustainable chemicals and metals from the galvanizing process – to ensure it’s safer for our team, compliant with legislation, and in line with our sustainability targets (and that of our customers too).

“With no direct equivalent to Chromium Trioxide available, it’s challenging for businesses – like ourselves – who 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 galvanizing. It creates a protective surface on the galvanizing 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 galvanizing.

But as of September 2024, the European Union’s REACH legislation is banning the use of Chromium Trioxide in most manufacturing processes (including galvanizing). Due to this, the leading UK supplier will cease manufacture of the chemical ahead of this upcoming deadline.

David added: “This isn’t a new phenomenon to us and so we’ve luckily been unaffected by the regulation change. We’ve 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’ve 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’re delighted that the transition to using a chrome-free process has been smooth. We’re 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 Ltd is the largest hot-dip galvanizing organisation in the UK with a history dating back over 150 years. With 14 plants strategically placed across the country, the firm offers a truly national galvanizing service.

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