By: Gia Costella
26th October 2012
Industrial flooring specialist Concrete Laser Flooring (CLF) has been awarded a contract to complete a 42 000 m2 floor for sugar manufacturer Illovo Sugar’s new R354-million distribution centre near Sobantu, in Pietermaritzburg.
The 51 000 m2 distribution centre, including attached outbuildings, offices and workshops, will take 14 months to complete and is set to be completed by either the 2013 or early in the 2014 milling season.
The distribution centre will be constructed in partnership with Durban-based property developer Collins Group and will serve as a central distribution point between Illovo Sugar’s production facilities in the province and its retail and industrial customers in the country.
Upon completion, the distribution centre will be able to handle 17 000 t/y of sugar and will improve the company’s supply chain logistics and lessen its distribution costs.
CLF MD Peter Norton says the flooring project will start in November and be completed within 21 days. The company will pour about 2 000 m2 of flooring a day.
“Because Illovo Sugar will install high racking to about 8 000 m2 of the floor area in the warehouse, the floor flatness needs a high tolerance. “This is necessary to accommodate reach trucks with man-up turrets that will be used in very narrow aisle configurations in the future.
“The floor, with the kind of tolerance they are looking for, is called an FM2 special floor, as specified by the UK-based Concrete Society in its Technical Report 34, which deals with the importance of flatness in industrial floors,” he explains.
Norton adds that floor flatness is especially important when high racking is required, to ensure that reach trucks and forklifts are able to operate and lift products without bumping into the racking or wobbling on an uneven floor.
“It is a critical aspect of modern-day distribution to have a high-quality and high-tolerance floor.
“We use CLF laser screed machines to place the concrete to a high tolerance. “We have five of these machines that enable us to get the job done in a short time,” he explains, stating that CLF was the first company to bring this laser screed technology to South Africa, after first having seen this technology used in the US.
The company also uses power trowels, imported from the US, which are driven over the surface of the floor when it is almost dry to ensure the floor is completely flat.
Besides the current strike in the road transportation sector impacting on the delivery of materials, Norton says, CLF does not foresee any other challenges for the project.
“Current industrial unrest is of concern and, while we are sympathetic to the needs of workers, we must balance corporate social responsibility with corporate sustainability,” he says.
He adds that, if ports become congested, the company could experience delays in receiving imported product that will be used on the project.
“[Further, we] need to have a completely closed building to pour the concrete. “The contractor will have to ensure that the roof sheet is on, the side cladding is closed and all the walls are up before we can start.
“This is because environmental elements like the sun, wind and rain can affect the quality and tolerance of the floor,” he says.
Meanwhile, Norton reports that CLF has many projects in the pipeline for the next 18 months. It has also received enquiries from Zambia and Nigeria.
“We are also looking to improve our brand awareness and grow our business outside South Africa’s borders. “We have been engaging with potential clients in Nigeria, Mozambique, Namibia and Angola.
“We have secured product supply contracts into these territories and are now looking for growth in terms of direct contracting projects,” he says.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn