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Products and solutions, 2006-10-24, 09:00 AM

Writing wine history with Agozal DoubleDip®

Clemens Busch, a winegrower in the German town of Pünderich, is currently breathing new life into a wine area that was regarded as one of the most valuable on the River Mosel in the 19th century. Rothenpfad is the name of the extremely steep vineyard, over one hectare in size, where Busch is now intending to plant vines for a superior Riesling. Neuwied-based Agozal Oberflächenveredelung GmbH is ensuring that the vines will have the stability they need over the coming decades.

Clemens Busch will start clearing the overgrown site this fall, and the vines will be planted next year. The winegrower, who is committed to organic methods, is already looking forward to the fruits of his labors: "The vineyard faces south-west, and the soil is red shale - ideal conditions for producing a first-class terroir wine." Terroir is the French term used by experts to describe the combination of natural factors such as soil quality and climate which influence the character of a wine.

It goes without saying that for such an ambitious project, only the best is good enough. When it comes to the stakes, for example, the organic winegrower decided to use steel with an Agozal DoubleDip® coating. The stakes support the trellising to which the vines are fastened. Clemens Busch needs exactly 1,060 of them for the Rothenpfad vineyard. Compared with batch or conventionally galvanized products, Agozal DoubleDip® stakes offer improved corrosion protection and thus significantly longer lifetimes.

Agozal produces the coating on a unique hot-dip galvanizing line in which steel strip can be passed optionally through one or two zinc pots. When the strip runs through two zinc pots, the Agozal DoubleDip® coating is produced. The steel strip first passes through pure zinc and then through a bath consisting of 95 percent zinc and 5 percent aluminum. The coating created in this way can be up to 70 micrometers thick on each side of the strip.

The material used for the vineyard stakes has a coating at least 45 micrometers thick. The corrosion protection effect is twice that of zinc-only coatings. The process has also proved superior to batch galvanizing, which provides a coating which is thicker than Agozal DoubleDip®, but is uneven, less elastic and with inferior adhesion. For example, batch-galvanized vineyard stakes frequently lose part of their corrosion protection when they are driven into the soil, as some of their zinc coating may chip off in the process.

The fact that more and more winegrowers are deciding in favor of Agozal DoubleDip® is also due to the quality of the steel used. The starting material for the vineyard stakes is a 1.5 millimeter thick, high-strength steel strip with a strength of 350 megapascals. This makes the stakes stronger than conventional products, which are frequently made from sheet only 1.2 millimeters thick.

The coating is enjoying success not only in the winegrowing sector but also in the truck, construction and agriculture industries. Steel with the Agozal DoubleDip® coating is now used to make truck chassis parts, cable support systems and high-bay storage racks. The coating saves customers costs as well as the work involved in batch galvanizing, powder coating or electrocoating.

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