Sonco Tube


Gatorshield® Steel Tubing

gatorshield galvanized steel tubingGatorshield® Advantages Are More Than Skin Deep

Gatorshield® is Allied’s superior, triple-layer rust and corrosion resistant product protection, used exclusively for all 50/55®, 60/75®, and RS 20 and R 40 structural steel tubing. Gatorshield® coated steel tubing has been the standard of excellence and the product of choice for outdoor structures for over 15 years.

Gatorshield® galvanized steel tubing is given superior corrosion resistance by our patented, in-line Flo-Coat® process. Coatings of zinc and chromate are applied, then a clear polymer topcoat seals the surface. The result is unmatched, long-lasting rust and corrosion protection. Gatorshield’s® bright, smooth and uniform surface retains its attractive appearance for an extended period. Aluminum turns a dull, dark gray as it ages.


Gatorshield® Can Make Structures 60% Less Costly

Gatorshield®’s advantages over aluminum add up. Lower material cost, less material required per structure, and less fabrication expense add up to a compelling cost argument in favor of Gatorshield® tubing as the material of choice for outdoor structures. And the much-reduced risk of post-installation failure due to welding and wind, snow, or ice loading is Gatorshield®’s “insurance policy” against expensive repair or replacement in the future. Also, the use of steel reduces theft and vandalism of structures… the scrap value of aluminum is more than 10 times that of steel.

Advantage: Greater Strengthgatorshield

Gatorshield®’s superior strength is the key to its advantage over aluminum yielding greater structural integrity and requiring fewer linear feet of material per structure. In turn, these advantages translate into longer life and lower costs for outdoor structures.

You’ll Need Less Gatorshield®

Gatorshield®’s higher strength permits the use of smaller sizes and/or lighter walls to achieve the desired design performance. Less Gatorshield® tubing is required than aluminum for any given outdoor structure. Less material and Gatorshield®’s lower material cost (approximately 50% savings vs. aluminum) give Gatorshield® a compelling advantage over aluminum.

Advantage: Superior Fabrication

A comparison of the requirements for fabricating outdoor structures of Gatorshield® and aluminum reveal major advantages for Gatorshield®:

  • Gatorshield® ductile steel tubing withstands the bending and forming required for custom awning designs, recreational equipment, etc. Common tempers of aluminum, however, continue to age-harden while in storage and can break during any fabrication process, causing costly scrap losses.
  • Aluminum loses approximately 50% of its strength in the weld area, which could cause post-installation failure if welds are not located in low-stress areas of the structure during its design. In addition, welding of aluminum, or using aluminum electrodes, which contain magnesium, can result in unsightly black deposits.
  • Steel structures require significantly fewer welds as indicated in the table below and the engineering drawings to the left. The result is lower welding labor costs for Gatorshield® structures. Welding Gatorshield® also requires less expensive equipment and materials. And, unlike aluminum, Gatorshield® can be easily welded in the field.
  • Gatorshield® steel tubing is easily and less expensively painted or powder-coated than aluminum, offering variety in color, texture, and sheen to enhance design possibilities and aesthetic appeal. Because Gatorshield®’s third coat has the same paint chemistry and surface consistency as costly primers, finish adhesion is excellent, providing a long-lasting, attractive appearance.

Advantage: Unmatched Durability

The higher rigidity of Gatorshield® structures means less bowing and deflection than aluminum structures under identical load conditions. This translates to a much more stable installation, with far less chance of damage to the fabric covers, graphics, and backlit illumination equipment of custom awnings and the roofs of structures. Gatorshield®’s superior hardness makes framing and support structures much more resistant to everyday dings and dents. And its approximately 30% greater load-carrying capacity than aluminum, size for size, is dramatically revealed as a Gatorshield® advantage in the test below which was conducted by Construction Research Laboratory, Inc. of Miami, an independent testing laboratory.

Wind Comparison

Both test awnings were 15’0″ wide by 3’6″ high by 8’0″ deep and identically attached to a supporting back wall structure. One awning frame was fabricated of Gatorshield® 1.050″ OD by 14 gauge and 0.815″ OD by 15 gauge welded steel tubing; the other from Schedule 40 1.050″ by 12 gauge and 0.840″ OD by 12 gauge 6061-T6 extruded aluminum pipe. Identical awning material was used for each. And each awning was subject to wind speeds increased in 10mph increments.

Looking for more on Gatorshield®? Contact one of our Sonco Tube professionals who are standing by to provide additional information or to provide a free quotation for your next tubing project.

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