The Highly-Specialized Metallizing Process

The metallizing process, also known as thermal spraying, is a highly specialized coating process that CIP offers. It involves spraying a layer of molten metal onto a surface to provide corrosion protection and abrasion resistance. 

Metallizing Project in the CIP Paint Shop

Currently, truckloads of steel utility poles are arriving at our blasting and paint shop in Shelbyville, TN from a few of our fabricator clients in the Southeastern US. As you can see from the photo below, the poles are quite large and require heavy duty equipment and expertise to handle. However, size is not an issue for us; our shop is more than large enough to handle this project. 

At the time of the writing of this blog, we have coated over 50 utility poles in a period of two weeks. If you have a project requiring metallizing, please contact us by calling us at 615-790-8822 or sending us an online quote request

Preparing the Surface for the Metallizing Process

The process begins with the preparation of the surface. In this case, the utility poles are weathering which results in the rust you see in the photo below.  So, first we clean the rust off by abrasive blasting to meet SSPC-SP5/NACE NO.1 White Metal Blast Cleaning

Spraying the Surface

Then, we “thermal spray” the steel poles with zinc. The zinc solidifies upon impact, forming a dense and uniform coating as you can see in the photo below of this utility pole that is in process. 

Metallizing Process Results on Utility Pole

Zinc is the most-used metal for metallized coatings because it corrodes slower than ferrous metals such as steel. In fact, half of the zinc in production today is used for corrosion protection of steel.

The Benefits of the Metallizing Process

One of the primary benefits of metallizing is its ability to provide corrosion protection (as in the case of the utility pole project). Applying zinc to the utility poles significantly extends the lifespan of the poles. As an example, metallizing of off-shore oil rigs can withstand fierce ocean corrosion for as long as 20 years.  Therefore, metallizing saves money by reducing maintenance costs and downtime.  Additionally, metallizing is more cost-effective than traditional coating methods such as plating or painting.