Towerco Maintenance and Cold Galvanising
As part of our global services, Delmec serves as chief structural advisor to several towercos. This means that we provide vital advice and recommendations on the structural management of portfolios. Our engineering team is constantly striving to find improved methods and state-of-the-art systems that will better serve our clients, wherever they are in the world. One of the latest improvements we’re trialling is film galvanising.
A key aspect of tower portfolio management is maintenance. It is generally recommended that a typical lattice telecom tower has a maintenance inspection carried out every five years, while sites located in corrosive coastal regions should arrange for inspections every two years.
Carrying out these routine inspections and subsequent corrective works may prevent catastrophic failures or expensive replacements when the corrosive problems become advanced. The standard towerco solution for rust prevention is topcoat painting; however, by ‘recharging’ the existing galvanising by means of film galvanising (sometimes known as cold-galving), the steel members’ lifespan is greatly increased.
Film galvanising is essentially powdered zinc with an added solvent. Unlike hot-dip galvanizing, film galvanising can be simply painted or sprayed on surfaces. ZINGA is a Belgian company that supplies a one-component film galvanising system containing 96% zinc (dust) in its dry film. It’s a metallic coating, not a paint. What differentiates film galvanising from other anti-corrosion methods is that it combines both passive and active protection in an easily-applied film galvanising system that not only delivers active cathodic protection but also provides a passive physical shield.
In Delmec’s experience, tower painting can sometimes be treated as a visual service by towercos, rather than a structurally functional service. Instead of replacing members, which is costly, structures can simply have their existing zinc protection ‘re-charged’ by applying ZINGA’s film galvanising to the rough surface after appropriate decontamination and salt removal.
As the majority of towerco structures are hot-dipped galvanized and topcoat painted, this new method could be particularly useful in the following areas: applied to freshly-fabricated steel during maintenance and strengthening works; used as re-charge coating for guy wires; and of course, applied to structures where the existing galve coating has deteriorated, leading to rust.
Structural corrosion is an ongoing challenge for many towercos, particularly those with locations on the West African coast, where very high salt concentrates pose a serious problem. At Delmec, synergy shapes success, and that means collaborating with other leading companies such as ZINGA to offer the latest technology and most cost-effective solutions to our towerco clients. Corrosion will always be a formidable opponent in the field of telecommunications, but our engineers are working hard to stay one step ahead, keeping our clients’ towers – and their customers’ connections – working well.