Chrome-free galvanizers


Following several years of research, investment and development trials of alternative chemicals, Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd has now completely removed chromium trioxide from its processes.

In September this year EU REACH legislation will ban 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 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. 

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.”