SCG has a designated storage yard that is sectioned in rows and spaces for incoming inventory. We photograph all incoming loads and archive each load under a unique work order number. The material is unloaded, tagged, and the receiving documents identify the storage location. This process ensures accurate inventory tracking for our customers. Once the material is unloaded, the receiving team will validate that the BOL matches the material that has been received. Any order discrepancy or damage that is not visible on the trailer is noted and the customer is notified immediately about any issues. A sequential work order is prepared for each shipment and that work order follows the material throughout our process. At the completion of each stage, the inventory is once again verified and matched with the original order.
In the preparation stage, the Steel Creek team loads the fabricated steel on the universal lifting rack or jig to allow for ease of movement through the galvanizing plant. An important part of this process is an inspection of the material for proper ventilation and drainage as well as other aspects of ASTM A385. Failure to properly vent or drain certain products creates an unsafe working condition and can lead to product damage. In the event that additional ventilation is needed, an email will be sent to the customer to request permission for our team to modify the structure to ensure that we achieve a high-quality final result. Once the rack is full and properly prepared for processing it is loaded onto a shuttle and sent into the pre-treatment – pickling area.
Pre-treatment is a series of chemical baths that prepare the steel for galvanizing. Cleaning is an important part of the process and begins with immersion in a degreasing tank to clean and degrease the steel. Immediately following this step is the pickling bath that removes rust and mill scale before the products enter a fluxing bath. The flux will protect the steel from corrosion prior to entering the kettle and will facilitate the galvanizing reaction. In between each of these processes we utilize a rinsing tank to keep the process balanced. As a part of our environmentally friendly design, the process liquids we utilize for the pickling bath are recycled and the by-products are provided to the micro-nutrient industry for recycling. Once the material is ready for galvanizing, it is placed in the pre-heating oven.
SCG has one of the few pre-heating ovens in the U.S. The preheating oven is a convection heating system that heats the steel to approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit prior to immersion in the galvanizing kettle. This pre-heating provides several advantages. First, pre-heating the steel to 300 degrees reduces the risk of heat shocking any welded material and reduces the risk of metal distortion while also improving the quality of the finished product. Second, pre-heating reduces heat sink in the galvanizing kettle, which in turn reduces the recovery time of the furnace and speeds up the process. The pre-heater is fueled by waste heat from the galvanizing process to reduce our dependence on natural gas.
Hot Dip Galvanizing
In the primary reactive part of the galvanizing process, our customers pre-treated steel is submerged into a molten zinc bath that initiates a metallurgical reaction between the pre-treated steel and the zinc. When the steel and the zinc interact they form a zinc/iron intermetallic layer on the inside and outside of the surface. An alloy produced from this process is bonded to the steel and resulting finish protects the product from corrosion and conforms to all pertinent ASTM A123 and other certifications. SCG utilizes special hi-grade zinc and other trace alloys to achieve optimal coating performance. All unused zinc residue is recycled.
Zinc is an important element in our environment and required for sustainability in humans, agriculture, and energy. We are committed to sustainability and we accomplish our sustainability objectives by using efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable material solutions for our galvanized steel. Metal corrosion costs have a negative impact on the United States economy and galvanizing provides a long-lasting and reliable protection for steel products. The galvanizing process saves energy and natural resources that would otherwise be required to produce and transport new steel. Hot-dip galvanizing is a completely renewable process and zinc and steel are both 100% recyclable.
Protecting the Environment
Steel Creek has gone to great lengths to be good neighbors and corporate citizens. Our commitment to environmental excellence is evident in the investment we have made in environmentally friendly, emission-free equipment. The design of our facility and the type of equipment that we use exceeds the standards required by the industry and also has lower emissions than are permitted by government regulation. As noted previously, we also recycle all of the byproducts of our galvanizing process. Working with Steel Creek our customers will benefit from our high-efficiency process and exceptional quality while also knowing that they have partnered with a company that is serving as a good steward of the environment in our region and helping raise the standards for the galvanizing industry in the United States.