Geelong Galvanizing Turns 30!

December 1, 2021

Local manufacturer Geelong Galvanizing is celebrating its 30th birthday this month and promises there are plenty of initiatives still in the pipeline three decades after it was founded in 1991.

A brand new blast and paint facility upgrade that boosts capacity by a quarter and introduces the latest in blast technology is expected to be commissioned during the Christmas closure. It comes after a new galvanising Kettle and canopy was installed last year, with a state-of-the-art furnace control system for greater production efficiencies.

Founded in 1991, the business provides high quality surface finishes for steel products in the construction, landscaping and engineering industries, galvanizing steel components for superior corrosion resistance and durability. Applications including mining and infrastructure projects, transport, agriculture, farms and commercial sheds.

It has grown to run three sectors: galvanizing, Blast and paint and TetraWal, which supplies for use in retaining walls, and is the only operator in Victoria to offer galvanizing, paint over steel and Duplex — paint over galvanizing which reduces maintenance requirements and delivers a longer lifespan for the structure.

“Our brand is more than just galvanizing it is the full protective coatings offer,” GM David Chaston tells GMC. “We offer a one stop shop. We can pick up, galvanize it, send it to our shop and get it painted and then get it delivered.”

He shares that the team will celebrate its milestone birthday this weekend at Furphy Hall at Little Creatures, a fitting venue as it is named after J. Furphy & Sons of Shepparton, the original manufacturer of the brewery’s stainless steel fermentation tank and owner of Geelong Galvanizing after buying out of former partner Kingfield several years ago.

The 10-acre site includes a galvanizing kettle weighing around 32 tonne and holding around 260 tonnes of molten zinc heated to temperatures of up to 450°C. The kettle is used to immerse prepared steel items into the molten zinc.

The business, which employs around 60 locals, has installed hundreds of solar roof panels which is expected to cut reliance on grid electricity by as much as half. In other sustainability measures, the paint & blast building automatically recycles abrasives used in the steel preparation process.

Notable projects include the Frankston rail station upgrade, creating the striking curved frame station structure which required 150 tonnes of steel, finished with a crisp white paint finish.

Geelong Galvanising also supplied TetraWal hot dip galvanized steel retaining wall uprights at the $53 million Great Ocean Road upgrade project. Extension of the concrete retaining wall along the Wye River required hundreds of nails and a steel grid mesh system in an area exposed to salt air, wind and rain.

“The long-term corrosion protection of HDG steel ensures the safety of tourists and locals using the road to travel along the Victorian coastline,” the manufacturer says.

Locally, the team collaborated with poultry business Turi Foods – which brands including La Ionica and Bannockburn – to supply a protective coating for their egg turning stillages that are prone to rust and corrosion.

Every ten years or so, the team conducts a Herculean changeover of its galvanizing kettle. Last Christmas, over $1 million of molten zinc was pumped out of the old kettle and into ingot moulds, creating 30 cubic metres of zinc to save for later use.

When all the molten zinc was extracted from the old bath, evidence of wear and tear that occurs to the walls of the kettle over time was clear. Traditionally weak spots occur closer to the burners, which are constantly working to keep the molten zinc temperatures in a 445-455°C range.

“It highlights why our asset management systems are so important, which includes regular kettle inspections and integrity testing,” the firm says.

Mr Chaston says customers are located broadly from south eastern Victoria to Mount Gambier and up to Echuca and COVID has created a “stunning” level of demand for work in infrastructure, civil works and residential projects. A bumper crop year has also boosted demand from farmers.

“It is a perfect storm at the moment, and I think it is going to last for a little while,” he says. “We have a fleet of seven semi trailers and will go anywhere customers ask.”