Company claims a UK first with lead-free galvanising
18 Feb 2019
Leading corrosion protection firm Wedge Group Galvanising is celebrating the end of its 10-year project to eliminate lead from its plants across the UK.
MD Chris Wooldridge believes the move is a first for the industry in Britain. It will apply to all of Wedge Group’s 14 sites.
He said: “The amount of lead used in a traditional galvanising process is very small but we wanted to remove it from our processes completely and made a firm commitment to do that 10 years ago.
“The fact we believe we are the first galvanizing company in the UK to run a lead-free operation is a fantastic achievement.”
The firm says its efforts were particularly timely given the 2018 reclassification of lead massive contained in REACH – the EU regulation for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals
Technical services director David Nobes explained: “The reclassification could turn into a major headache for some of our customers, who might have to meet exceptionally tight tolerances or demonstrate exacting procedures. Some might even review the use of any process that involves lead as a result.
“Despite the challenges we’ve been running a lead-free galvanizing process in our plants for some time and we are very pleased with the results.
He added that it took a lengthy period for background levels of lead to be removed from existing baths, but levels are monitored regularly.
“The fact we now achieve indicative levels of less than 50 parts per million (or 0.005%) within the bath melt means we can proudly claim our process is lead-free.”