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Hereford company’s new technology could give it 30% of world market

Hereford based company Zinco UK Limited are launching new technology which could enable it to take 30% of the world-wide market in testing the performance of zinc galvanizing equipment.

Zinco UK Limited and Sonemat Limited have signed an agreement to launch new ultrasonic probe technology developed from research which was first conducted at the University of Warwick. The new probe technology can conduct safety critical testing inside galvanizing equipment while that equipment is still loaded with 450°C molten zinc.

Zinco UK limited, based on the Westfields Trading Estate in Hereford, was established in 2007 to provide advanced technical services to the hot dip galvanizing industry. The hot dip process provides steel products with corrosion protection by immersing them into a “kettle” of molten zinc at a temperature 450 degrees. These kettles need to be checked periodically to monitor rates of corrosion throughout the equipment in order to avoid a catastrophic molten zinc spillage. Those corrosion wear rates vary depending on volumes, dip sizes and the amount of production at each plant.

Previous monitoring techniques required galvanizers to actually drain the zinc from the kettles to another hot storage device and the kettle was then left to cool to the point at which relatively crude physical sampling of the kettle surface could be undertaken.

In 2014 Zinco UK established a new relationship with the Sonemat Limited - a spin-out company from the University of Warwick to explore how ultrasonic technology first developed at the University could be used be used to test the kettle’s integrity while still loaded with molten zinc. Sonemat was formed in 2005 by two University of Warwick scientists: Dr Mark Potter, and Professor Steve Dixon who are specialists in non-contact ultrasonic nondestructive testing.

Professor Steve Dixon of Sonemat and the University of Warwick said:

“Sonemat created a solution. We devised a new Zinc Immersion Probe (ZIP) which was then manufactured and successfully trialed to provide accurate thickness measurements of kettles even though the probe is immersed in 450°C molten metal

Zinco Managing Director David Watkins said:

“We have now used the new ZIP probe technology to measure galvanizing kettles in Africa, Malaysia, Middle East, Scandinavia and Europe. We are confident that this new resource will lead to us serving at least 30% of the world-wide market this safety critical testing. There are around 3,000 galvanizing kettles around the world that can potentially benefit from significant efficiency savings by deploying this new probe. “



For further information please contact:

Professor Steve Dixon , Director of the Centre for Industrial Ultrasonics, Department of Physics and School of Engineering University of Warwick – and Director of Sonemat Limited
Tel: +44 (0)2476 573 877 email: web:


David Watkins Managing Director Zinco UK Limited and Sonemat

Tel: +44 (0)1432 376137 email  web

Press office contacts here

PR901 PJD 19th June 2017