The vast hose industry, which comprises both small and significant players, is undergoing a phase of consolidation, says specialised hose and coupling supplier Jachris COO Warwick Bouwer.
He adds that finding the right balance between product quality and price, as well as safety, is crucial.
Bouwer notes that cheap product imports are having a significant negative impact on the industry.
“Cheap imports from the Far East have resulted in the presence of countless small players selling poor-quality assemblies that comprise hoses and fittings from different manufacturers,” he says.
Bouwer urges end-users not only to place strong emphasis on product quality and safety but also to insist that hoses and fittings used in an assembly are from the same manufacturer.
To promote the use of high-quality products and accelerate growth, Jachris obtained the sole distribution rights, in 2009, to market US hose manufacturer Gates’ range of hydraulic hoses and fittings in most of Africa.
The components are used in the manu- facturing of assemblies that are used in earthmoving equipment, drill rigs, forklifts and most hydraulically powered machinery to safely transfer hydraulic oil at various pressures.
In terms of the distribution agreement, Jachris is entitled to financial assistance, linked to sales targets, from Gates. The funds are directed towards human resources and advertising.
Gates products are manufactured in various facilities in the US, Europe and China. Jachris supplies them through its six branches in South Africa and one in Ghana.
Bouwer notes that the Gates range uses one-piece-fitting technology, in which the fitting and ferrule are one, unlike other manufacturers whose products use a two-piece fitting, where the ferrule is separate from the fitting.
In keeping with its reputation for innovative products, Gates developed a Roughneck System to assemble high-pressure drill hoses. The system was developed for distributors that deal with the needs of oilfield customers and use Gates products, such as the Black Gold Rotary assembly and the Vibrator Drilling Hose assembly.
The Roughneck System also delivers a full line of industrial hoses, hydraulics and belt drive systems, all of which are designed, manufactured and tested to improve uptime and keep rigs drilling faster and more safely for longer.
Meanwhile, Jachris has commissioned what it believes is the most modern cus- tom- or hand-built rubber hose plant in Africa, where production is slowly being ramped up to meet increasing demand.
“We are running six building tables with one autoclave on two shifts, with a maximum output of about R3-million in products a month. We are also adding four new building tables, as well as another autoclave, which will increase our capa- city to R5-million in products a month on two shifts, says Bouwer.
The plant, which is situated at the company’s head office, in Springs, was commissioned in November 2010. Jachris invested R10-million in the plant and will invest another R7-million on Phase 2.
“Custom- or hand-built rubber hoses are used primarily in the mining and agriculture sectors and are made to order in a fairly labour-intensive process,” explains Bouwer.
To provide a steady supply of products in remote areas, Jachris deployed fully equipped containerised hose workshops that serve as mini branches for project sites to meet the needs of mines and contractors.
Hydrostatic hose testing is performed at each of these workshops and at the company’s main branches to ensure that product safety, productivity and reliability standards are met.
The company also supplies the Gates GlobalSpiral and MegaCrimp couplings ranges.