How to Safely Weld Galvanized Steel
HOW TO SAFELY WELD
Welding galvanized steel is an important and valuable technique in the metal fabrication process — especially when producing galvanized steel wire cloth or galvanized steel gratings — but people are shying away from it lately due to the toxic fumes that welding galvanized steel produces. There is also concern about how to deal with the coating of galvanized steel and what to do about corrosion.
Fortunately, the right approach to welding galvanized steel can manage all these issues effectively.
Safety With Welding Galvanized Steel
If you take the proper personal protection precautions, you will be much safer when coming into contact with the toxic fumes. Different facilities may use different protection equipment, although gloves, welding helmets, steel-toed boots, and sometimes leather jackets are often part of the uniform.
One protection device that is non-negotiable, however, is the respirator. You absolutely must use a respirator when welding galvanized steel to avoid inhaling the potentially deadly zinc oxide fumes that are produced. Even when using a respirator, you should weld in a well-ventilated area.
Coating Issues With Welding Galvanized Steel
Another one of the challenges of welding galvanized steel is that zinc coatings can make it impossible to do a clean weld, interfere with fusion and lead to porosity and inclusions. You will need a skilled welder to weld galvanized steel successfully, and the ideal method is to remove the zinc coating from the area where you are welding. If you can’t do this, use a filler material on the zinc-coated portion of your welding area.
You will find it easier to weld steel that has been galvanized using electroplating rather than hot-dipped or thermal-sprayed steel, as the latter two have a thicker and less uniform coating and, thus, more challenging zinc to deal with when trying to weld.
Corrosion Issues With Welding Galvanized Steel
Corrosion resistance is a problem that is encountered when welding galvanized steel. The whole point of galvanizing is to prevent corrosion, but you need to remove the galvanizing zinc around the welding area, exposing those areas to corrosion. The only thing to do about this is to re-galvanize after the weld is complete. However, while time-consuming, this is an effective way of preserving the corrosion-resistant integrity of the piece.
Correctly welding galvanized steel takes some attention, but it can be done. Be sure to make sure any of your galvanized steel welders understand all the safety rules and regulations — especially regarding protecting themselves from toxic zinc oxide fumes. Make sure there is a standard approach to welding the galvanized steel and that all of your welders know to follow it and know how to do it.
If you set clear rules and guidelines for the most safe and effective way to galvanize steel, you should have no problem with this important metal fabrication process.
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The information provided in the above content is not to be used for legal or medical advice. The intention of the content is to provide information about welding galvanized steel as a general overview. You should consult advice from experts before welding galvanized steel.