Wire ropes are a staple in rigging and lifting applications across industries. Whether mechanical power transmission or lifting and hoisting in cranes and elevators, you will see wire ropes everywhere. They offer safety and strength for lifting and rigging applications.
As a galvanized wire rope supplier, we often come across the question – of electro galvanized vs hot dipped galvanized, which one is better?
For many business owners, considering hot-dipped galvanized vs electro galvanized can be daunting. But you will have to make this choice often, which is why you must understand what electro-galvanized and hot dipped mean, their advantages and disadvantages, and which one is a better choice.
1. Why Is Galvanizing Done?
Galvanizing or galvanization involves applying zinc coating to steel or iron objects. The primary goal of galvanization is to prevent rusting. Galvanization can prevent rusting in different ways, including:
- The zinc forms a barrier that prevents corrosive substances from reaching the iron or steel layer.
- The exposed steel or iron will remain protected even if the coating gets scratched. As zinc acts like a sacrificial anode, it offers better protection. In other words, the zinc will corrode before the iron or steel.
- The zinc coating also reacts with water, forming a patina that is rainwater insoluble. This results in better protection in a corrosive environment.
As a wire rope distributor, we recommend galvanized wire ropes because they last longer. It offers you a better return on your investment. But it also provides additional benefits, like:
- It reduces the burden of repeated maintenance of steel structures, such as cleaning and painting. That’s why galvanization is very cost-effective.
- It’s a proven process that offers guaranteed protection. There is no better way to protect steel wire ropes.
Unlike paint coating, galvanizing is highly reliable. The galvanized coating becomes a part of the steel itself. It’s more than just a chemical or mechanical bond.
Most importantly, galvanizing offers complete protection. That’s why your galvanized wire rope supplier is also likely to recommend only galvanized wire ropes. And when it comes to electro-galvanized vs hot dipped galvanized, the difference lies in the process. Let’s understand both these processes and their advantages and disadvantages.
2. What Are Electro Galvanized Wire Ropes
Electro galvanization, as the name suggests, is the process of zinc electroplating. This is an electrochemical process where zinc gets electrically and chemically bonded to the steel or iron wire ropes.
This process involves immersing steel wire ropes in a saline or zinc bath. The electricity gets passed through the bath. The electrochemical reaction occurs as the electricity passes through the zinc bath. It moves electrons from the zinc (anode) and bonds them to the steel wire ropes (cathode). This builds a layer of zinc over the steel wire ropes.
Once the process is over, the steel wire rope will have a uniform coat of zinc. This drip-free and shiny layer is not only aesthetically appealing but also uniform. That’s what makes electro-galvanized wire ropes more popular.
What Are The Benefits Of Electro Galvanized Wire Ropes
- Aesthetically pleasing appearance.
- Uniform coating that offers 360-degree protection.
- Cost-effective process.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Electro Galvanized Wire Ropes
- Relatively less durable. The zinc coating may start eroding after a few months or years, depending on the usage.
- The process offers a relatively thin zinc layer.
- Exposure to harsher environmental conditions can speed up erosion.
3. What Are Hot Dip Galvanized Wire Ropes
Although the aim of hot dip galvanizing is the same, the process is different. In this process, steel wire ropes get immersed in a bath of molten zinc. That is the fundamental difference between electro galvanized vs hot dipped galvanized wire ropes.
It’s a three-step process.
Surface Preparation: In this step, the wire ropes get thoroughly cleaned. This includes degreasing, pickling, and fluxing. In the process of degreasing, steel wire ropes get cleaned to remove dirt, oil, and organic residues. The acid pickling bath removes mill scale and iron oxide, while fluxing will coat the wire ropes with a protective layer.
Galvanizing: Once the surface is ready, the wire ropes get immersed in a bath of at least 98% molten zinc. Hence they are called hot dip galvanized wire ropes. The metallurgic reaction between the steel rope surface and the zinc solution creates a durable protective layer.
Inspection: In this step, a visual inspection checks the quality of the overall zinc coating. Depending on the requirements, manufacturers may also use a magnetic thickness gauge to measure the thickness of the zinc coating.
What Are The Benefits Of Hot Dip Galvanized Wire Ropes
- It offers longer service life compared to electro galvanization because the coating can be ten times thicker.
- It results in an iron-zinc alloy layer on the wire rope surface, which offers strong protection. This alloy is highly resistant to abrasions. As a wire rope distributor, we recommend using hot dip galvanized wire ropes, especially for applications where grazes are more likely.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Hot Dip Galvanized Wire Ropes
- Although more durable, hot dip galvanization lacks aesthetics. The coating finish is usually dull, contains drips, and can be streaky. So, most galvanized wire rope suppliers will not recommend using hot dip galvanized wire ropes for aesthetic applications.
- It is also much more expensive compared to electro-galvanization.
- Lastly, the zinc coating can be unevenly thick across the surface. For many applications, this can be a big hurdle.
4. Electro galvanized vs hot dipped galvanized: Which Is Better?
Although both galvanization processes aim to provide protection, they offer different benefits and disadvantages. It’s no surprise business owners or site managers often have to compare hot-dipped galvanized vs electro-galvanized wire ropes.
The short answer is neither is better than the other. Using hot dip galvanized steel wire rope makes sense when you need better protection, long service life, and appearance is not a concern. As your wire rope distributor, we recommend you use these cables for applications in corrosive environments.
On the other hand, you should use electro-galvanized cables where harsh environmental elements are less likely to be present. In short, you can use these cables for indoor applications. However, despite the risk of faster corrosion, many people use these for outdoor applications because they are less expensive.
Choosing the right type of steel wire ropes can be a daunting task. The most common dilemma you will face is hot-dipped galvanized wire ropes vs electro galvanized wire ropes. Hopefully, this post will help you understand the difference between the two and their benefits and drawbacks. This will help you make an informed decision.
Are you looking for high-quality steel wire ropes? You have come to the right place. Elite Sales is a leading galvanized wire rope supplier in Miami, Dyer, Tampa, and Houston. Reach out to us to know how we can help your business thrive.