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.
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.
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.
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 70 years.
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.
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.
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.