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There is always a common misconception that any zinc coating can be termed as hot dipped galvanization but this is in fact not the case as pre-galvanizing is also a popular method to make galvanized steel. So what are the differences between them and which one possesses more advantages? Let’s find out below. 

I. Definition

First of all, we need to know how to define the 02 most popular methods to make galvanized steel: hot-dip galvanization & pre-galvanizing.  

1. What is hot dipped galvanization?

Hot dipped galvanization is a process where the metal is dipped into a molten pool of zinc. To make galvanized steel using this method, we need to follow 4 steps: clean the surface, fluxing, hot-dipping & cooling down. 

hot-dipped galvanization process

2. What is pre-galvanizing?

Pre-galvanizing is also known as the mill galvanizing. This process is very close to the hot dipped galvanization but performed at the very first stage of production. It always occurred at the steel mill on the materials that already have a specific shape or before being cut into sizes and processed. 

Pre-galvanizing involves some steps of hot dipped galvanization such as cleaning the surface, dipping into a hot zinc liquid bath combining with the recoiling process.

II. Differences between hot dipped galvanization & pre-galvanizing

1. Application comparison 

Hot dipped galvanization is an economical choice if you are finding a solution that can be executed on both simple and complex shapes. It is often used on objects that have been fabricated beforehand but yet to be galvanized and the hot-dipped galvanization plays as the last step.

Meanwhile, pre-galvanizing, as its name implies, is performed at the first stage of production. Hence, it mainly occurred at the mills, and the results of the process will be cut into size and fabricated later. 

2. Coating comparison

As making a protective coating for the steel and metals in the main object of the galvanizing process, we can not miss out on comparing the coating finish of the 02 methods to make galvanized steel. 

a. Coating thickness

Both methods result in a uniform thickness for the coating. However, the hot-dipped galvanization produces a thicker layer of protection than the pre-galvanization does. The minimum average thickness of hot-dip galvanized steel is of 45-85μm while it is between 20 and 30 μm for the pre-galvanized products’. \ \

pre galvanized steel

b. Coating continually

As hot dipped galvanization requires dipping the whole steel/metals into the molten vat of zinc, the galvanized steel coming out from this process has a continuous coating over the surface. Pre-galvanizing is performed at the first stage before the sheets are cut into sizes and pieces so the cut edges are not coated. 

c. Coating bond

The first steps of these 02 processes of making galvanized steel are both cleaning the surface, either mechanically, chemically, or both. Hence, the bond between the base metal (steel) and the protective coating is metallurgical and strong. 

d. Coating formability

Coating formability for these 02 processes is totally different. As pre-galvanizing is performed at the mills, any coating applied on its results can be done without damaging the layer. However, coating formability applied on hot-dip galvanized steel is not advised as it may damage the protective coating of the products. 

fabricated products made from galvanized steel

e. Coating appearance

The hot dipped galvanization forms a typically bright finish for the galvanized steel, though it can be also variable. As for the pre-galvanizing process, it produces a uniform bright finish for the coating. 

3. Abrasion resistance comparison 

After the hot-dip galvanizing process, there are 03 alloy layers end up being produced on the base metal. These layers are metallurgically bonded to the steel and become an integral part of the steel itself, which forms a perfect protective coating.

The pre-galvanizing process produces galvanized steel with thinner coating, which makes it a bit prone to corrosion. 

4. Sacrificial protection

The hot-dip galvanizing process protects steel in three main ways, but perhaps the most notable way is by acting as a sacrificial coating for the steel. The zinc in the protective coating plays as an anode for the steel. After experiencing hot-dip galvanization, the protection ability is enhanced as the zinc now becomes an integral part of the steel.

Meanwhile, as the pre-galvanized products have thin coatings and will be cut later to sizes and shapes, the sacrificial protection can be as good as hot-dip galvanized steel. 

FeatureHot dipped galvanizationPre-galvanizing
Coating thicknessThick coating with minimum average requirements of 45-85μm within BS EN ISO 1461The coating thickness may vary but is typically circa 20μm for sheets and 20-30μm for tubes and wires
Coating continuallyContinuous coating over the whole objectUncoated area at cut edges
Coating bondStrong metallurgical bond with the base steelStrong metallurgical bond with the base steel
Coating formabilityForming after hot dipped galvanizing is not advised as it may damage the coatingThin coating may be normally formed without any damange
Coating apprearanceTypically bright but can be variableNormally archieve an uniform bright
Abrasion resistanceThicker layer of hard zinc-iron alloy gives a high resistance to abrasionThin alloy layer with reduced resistance to abrasion
Sacrificial protectionOffer the highest level of sacrificial protectionReduced sacrificial protection due to thin layer coating and at some uncoated areas (cut edges)

Chinh Dai Steel – the reputed manufacturer of galvanized steel

Experiencing over 20 years of development in international markets and currently possess 03 factories with a production capacity of over 600,000 tons annually, Chinh Dai Steel produces and supplies galvanized steel products that tick all these boxes. 

Chinh Dai’s galvanized steel products

The galvanized steel products of Chinh Dai Steel (such as galvanized rolled steel coils, pipes, purlins and other fabricated products) are made from high-quality imported materials with the zinc coating from Z120 – Z275. Our products also meet international standards such as ASTM (A500, A53 & A513) AS / NZ 1163, JIS G3444, and EN 10219. You can easily check the origins of every product on its own labels with QR codes.

Final words

There are several differences between hot-dipped galvanization and pre-galvanizing processes. Knowing these differences will allow us to choose the best suitable method & products for your projects. Of all, it is always necessary to pick out the best galvanized steel products among various choices on the market. 

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