• 1940

    A second continuous hot dip galvanizing line, capable of zinc coating strip up to 1,070 mm wide, operating at 32 metres a minute, is installed at Hawarden Bridge Works. The maximum coil size is 12 tons.

    New national association

    The Galvanizers Association UK is formed as a representative body for the hot dip galvanizing industry in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It provides advice and information and organises competitions with awards in three categories, namely architecture, engineering and sustainability.

  • 1939-1945

    Hawarden Bridge Works operates at full capacity throughout the Second World War to produce 2.2 million tons of black and galvanized sheets.

    Even before the official declaration of hostilities, the works had moved into the production of galvanised sheets for Anderson garden air raid shelters, producing them at the rate of 50,000 a week. Made of curved corrugated steel sheet, the shelter saved many lives during the German bombing of major UK cities. Designed by the British Steelworks Association in early

    1939, the structure was 6ft.6 in. long, 6 ft. high and 4 ft. 6 in. wide and was made of 14 gauge galvanized steel sheet. It was sunk into the ground to a depth of three feet.

    Because of a shortage of steel and zinc, the Anderson shelter was replaced in 1941 by the Morrison indoor shelter, made of 10 gauge steel.

    There were over 100 wartime uses for Hawarden Bridge steel.

    Electro plating development

    Development work on a process for electro galvanising steel sheet and strip is undertaken at British Coated Steels Limited in Battersea, London,

    Coincidentally, John Summers and Sons start to investigate new steel coatings including electro plated finishes such as tin, zinc, nickel and cadmium.

  • 1945-47

    Richard Thomas and Co. merge with Baldwins Limited to create Richard Thomas and Baldwin (RTB). The new company has twenty plants including Ebbw Vale Works, near Tredegar.

  • 1946

    Wolverhampton Corrugated Iron Co., Ellesmere Port, becomes a subsidiary of John Summers and Sons Limited.

  • 1947

    John Summers and Sons acquire an electro galvanizing sheet line from British Coated Steels Limited for installation at their Ellesmere Port subsidiary.The line produces sheets up to 35 in. wide and the new product is marketed under the trade name, Zintec®. Unlike the spangled finish of hot dip galvanized material, Zintec® has a smooth matt surface ideal for forming and painting. The zinc coating does not peel, flake or crack.

    The first use of the product is for a range of kitchen units with the electro zinc plated steel being painted after assembly.

    The Steel Company of Wales(SCOW) is formed by the British ( GKN & Baldwins)Iron and Steel Company, RTB, Lysaght Works and Llanelli Associated Tinplate, to modernise the South Wales sheet and tinplate industry.

  • 1949

    RTB Limited’s product range includes light alloy and galvanized corrugated sheets.

  • 1950

    SCOW’s Abbey Works at Port Talbot includes flat and corrugated galvanized sheets in its product range.

  • 1952

    A third continuous hot dip galvanizing line, capable of zinc coating strip up to 1,250 mm wide, operating at 32 metres a minute, is installed at Hawarden Bridge Works. The maximum coil size is 15 tons.

  • 1954

    Construction of a new strip steel works for Colvilles at Motherwell in Scotland commences. It is to be known as Ravenscraig Works.

  • 1955

    Three Zintec® electro plating sheet lines are transferred to Hawarden Bridge Works from Wolverhampton Corrugated Co. at Ellesmere Port.

    Mild steel cold reduced sheets between 36-54 ins.wide are degreased and pickled before being passed through a series of plating cells each containing pure zinc soluble anodes. The electrolytic process deposits a thin layer of zinc on one or both sides of the sheet.

  • Circa 1955

    A continuous hot dip galvanizing line incorporating the Sendzimir process is installed at SCOW’s Port Talbot Works, to process strip up to 1,350 mm wide in a gauge range of 0.35 – 200 mm. In time it will become the primary supplier of substrate for paint coating at RTB’s Bryngwyn Works, near Swansea, and also a supplier of basic galvanized steel for general engineering. The surface quality is never good enough for the automotive industry other than for parts such as brackets. The line, which had a capacity to produce 5,000 tonnes a week, was sold to India in 2002.

  • 1956

    The Steel Company of Wales (SCOW) has an electrolytic galvanizing sheet line at Port Talbot. It never achieved commercial viability.

  • 1957

    Steel merchant, W.E.Hughes, buys the controlling interest in Coated Metals, a small firm at Bridgend in South Wales specialising in dipping steel sheets and components in a bath of molten aluminium.

    Plastic coated steel

    A pilot line for the bonding of plastic to uncoated or zinc coated steel sheets is installed in the Coatings One Department at Hawarden Bridge Works. The new product, Stelvetite®, is cold reduced or electro zinc coated strip laminated with poly vinyl chloride (PVC) approx. 0.014 in. thick.

    Much of the development works involves investigations into suitable pre-treatments and adhesives to ensure a sound and permanent bond between the steel substrate and plastic

    The finished product offers strength, ductility, corrosion resistance and colour and a national advertising campaign brings 6,000 enquiries with manufacturers experimenting with the material for everything from backing hairbrushes to lining tunnels.

  • Circa 1958

    A unique hot dip galvanizing line is installed at RTB’s Bryngwyn Works, near Swansea to zinc coat black tinplate strip up to 36 inches wide in a gauge range of 0.12-0.66 mm operating at a line speed of 70 feet/minute. Its most unusual feature is the American Cook Norman Process. The full hard steel feedstock is alkali re-dressed and acid pickled to remove any mill scale before passing through a flux of aluminium chloride. Unlike the Sendzimir lines, with their non-oxidising anneal units, the zinc bath had no aluminium. The entire line product was shipped to China for roofing.

  • 1958

    No.1 hot dip galvanizing line is commissioned by Richard, Thomas & Baldwin at Ebbw Vale Works. It is the largest of its kind in the UK and incorporates the ARMCO-Sendzimir process. It is capable of producing 1,000 tons of Speltafast galvanized sheets a week. The maximum width of processed strip is 48 in. within a gauge range of 0.0095-0.078 in. Furnace operating speed is up to 250 ft. per minute.

    Installed in the former sheet mills section of the works, the new line enables the company to produce improved galvanized sheets for new markets for cold formed sections.

    The sheet galvanizing line installed by Richard Thomas and Baldwin Limited’s Ebbw Vale Works in 1913, is dismantled, having been transferred to the top end of the Hot Strip Mill ie Hot Sheet Finishing in the early 1950s.

  • 1959

    A new steel strip rolling mill is commissioned at Colville’s Ravenscraig Works.