Every winter we hear from a small number of customers concerned about what they consider to be the premature degradation of their new trailer's aesthetics, sometimes after only a few weeks. Brian James Trailers, along with the majority of other trailer manufacturers in Europe, provides a steel chassis protected from corrosion by an almost pure Zinc metal coating.
This process takes place at around 400°C and is known as hot dip galvanising. Zinc is bonded to the steel forming a mechanically tough, very long lasting coating. Hot dip galvanising has been used for well over 150 years and is one of the best value protections against long term steel corrosion available. Some components on our trailers are electro-plated, also with Zinc. Electro plating produces a thinner coating compared to hot dip, but the finish is more uniform and therefore pleasing.
Our trailer's galvanising surfaces, along with the UK galvanising industry comply to BS EN ISO 1461:2009 ensuring that the highest standards are achieved.
However, the 'elephant in the room' so to speak is that Zinc is a highly reactive sacrificial component, giving itself up to oxidation and 'corrosion' in order to protect the steel. The most obvious time to see this process happening is just after galvanising when the surface has a bright and shiny finish. Quickly, over perhaps a few months (depending on the environment it contacts), this shiny surface becomes more dull and with less lustre. The months of winter are important in this as the roads in Northern Europe are almost always covered in anti-freeze chemicals such as road salt. A solution of salts and pollution quickly reacts with newly exposed Zinc and will deteriorate the surface aesthetics rapidly, but underneath the steel remains fully protected as it is intended to be. To reduce this chemical change in the surface finish we recommend regularly rinsing the surface with fresh water. Certainly never leave these materials in contact for more than a few hours. Once the surface has begun to 'weather' there is no returning to bright and shiny!
In the gallery below we present a few images of newly galvanised Zinc surface and the effects of various aggressive, corrosive chemicals as a precautionary tale.