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The Cavatorta recyclable steel cable

The LIFE European programme was born with the following objectives: to fund environmental safeguarding projects and biodiversity projects and to raise awareness of topics relating to climate change and Cavatorta has participated in the Life project for many years. We aim to reduce the environmental impact of production processes and offer useful data and information within the industry, enabling innovations elsewhere.

Our latest project in the Life programme is M&M Man and Metal. We have advanced our research with SACME, a software packages company, and the University of Padua to refine an innovative eco-compatible metal rod.

THE LIFE M&M MAN AND METAL PROJECT

Galvanisation is a technique to protect metal rod from galvanic corrosion. This process is extremely delicate the final fundamental stage of which consists in the immersing the cable in smelted zinc at 445°. Hot galvanisation is a process that has environmental impact, as it requires heavy zinc consumption and produces high CO2 emissions.

The aim of the project is to develop the production of an eco-compatible metallic rod where hot galvanisation is substituted by another process that coats the cable with protective light metals (mainly waste aluminium and zinc alloys from production processes). The result is a recyclable rod giving high performance and durability.

The four phases are:

1. ALLOY
Refinement of zinc-aluminium alloys with a high aluminium content, using recycled aluminium and zinc. Preparation for thermal spraying and recycling of the overspray.

2. COATING
Study of the thermal spraying process that covers the steel rod evenly and a method that recovers the overspray.

3. DENSIFICATION
Design of a blasting system for coating, using thermal spraying with the aim of making the alloy more dense and non-porous, and therefore more resistant.

4. DEMONSTRATION
Producing the new coating and comparison with traditionally galvanised products. Defining the recycling method and assessing of the life of the new material.

Our tests have provided excellent results: the welding tests for rod coated in lightweight alloys were successfully passed. Corrosion tests carried out at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia on material made using thermal spraying have confirmed the competitiveness of the new products compared to the same products that have been galvanised using the traditional method.

Finally, the University of Padua is monitoring the environmental impact and sustainability of the project. An analysis of the life of new products is also reaching its conclusion with performance compared to traditional methods.

The new method for producing a truly eco-compatible steel rod that is recyclable and delivers high performance offers many advantages – ecological production, cost optimisation and expert innovation of the processes themselves.

For more information regarding the Life M&M Man and Metal project and the results that have been obtained, we invite you to read our dedicated page, which explores the project in more detail.

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