A West Midlands-based galvanizing firm is the driving force in future-proofing classic vehicles for a local car enthusiast.
Edward Howell Galvanizers Ltd, part of Wedge Group Galvanizing Ltd, is assisting part-time Formula 1 Contractor, Rob Sapinski with the restoration of his classic car collection, endeavouring to overcome the frequent challenge of rusting components.
Rob said: “When I’m not working, I enjoy building Land Rover Defenders in my workshop. When restored, they’re incredibly fashionable, sought after, and only increase in value due to dwindling numbers. Plus, I’m doing my bit for the environment – I won’t be discarding it as soon as the engine is faulty or it’s done too many miles. Instead, there’s endless possibilities to change, restore, and update it. With the help of Edward Howell Galvanizers, and other local companies who have helped, I’m restoring these Land Rovers so that they can stand the test of time.
“I’ve completed many of these projects to date, but often my biggest obstacle is rust. A few months ago, I contacted Edward Howell Galvanizers for help, and I’m incredibly grateful that a firm of their stature agreed to accept my Land Rover’s very intricate steel parts – as others have previously been unable to handle the delicate pieces.”
The major steel components – including the chassis, bulkhead and axles – are acid dipped at local business, Surface Processing in Dudley, before Edward Howell Galvanizers collect and galvanize them.
During the galvanizing process, the parts are dipped in a large bath of molten zinc at 450oc, which provides them with an estimated rust-free lifespan of more than 70 years.
“Jim and the team take great care when galvanizing to prevent the thin steel from buckling, and this precision and attention to detail is really appreciated,” Rob continued. “But my latest project consists of parts that are very small. Luckily, another galvanizing plant in the Wedge family, B.E. Wedge Ltd, specialises in centrifuge galvanizing and was able to handle these. Centrifuge or spin galvanizing follows the same process as general galvanizing except that the work is placed in baskets to be galvanized and rapidly removed from the bath before the zinc on the work solidifies. The basket is placed in a centrifuge and spun for several seconds to remove excess zinc from the surface and prevent items from sticking together, ensuring a smooth finish.
“After galvanizing, the parts can also be powder coated or painted as specified, to further protect them from the elements. Unfortunately, as many car fanatics like myself will understand, the production quality of this particular vehicle declined significantly in the early 2000s, causing them to deteriorate quicker, before the original model was discontinued completely in 2016. While new models are available, many like myself will agree that these originals were the best 4x4s ever made, and we must preserve them at all costs.”
Jim Lindsay, Sales Manager at Edward Howell Galvanizers, added: “It’s a privilege to be supporting Rob again with his latest Land Rover Defender project – it’s fantastic to see alternative and exciting parts come through the plant. And, what a thrill it is to see the finished product, knowing that thanks to the galvanizing process, these cars have been given a new lease of life so they can be enjoyed for many more years to come. We can’t wait to welcome Rob back and see what he’s up to next!”
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