R/€ = 13.28
R/$ = 12.14
Au 1188.45 $/oz
Pt 1116.50 $/oz
Apr 23, 2004
Foreign imports on the agenda for Sapma–DTI meetingBack
© Reuse this The South African Pump Manufacturers Association (Sapma) reports that it plans to approach the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to indi- cate its concern and awareness of unlevel trading conditions in the international arena.
This compromises the competitiveness of South African pump manufacturers, due to barriers and incentives given to other countries and, conversely, cheap pumps being dumped in the South African market from abroad.
The decision to approach the DTI was the result of several discussions held with Sapma members and the approach is scheduled to take place during the next six months.
“It is relatively simple to obtain ISO-accredited pumps from China and India, costing less than the production costs of the same products in South Africa.
“The result is that many of these pumps and components are sourced from abroad, thereby supporting offshore employment.
“This is a serious problem in the industry, and should be resolved to create a level playing field for local pump manufacturers, so that they can remain competitive,” executive member Roger Daubeney tells Engineering News.
He adds that the association would like to participate in any initiatives set out by the DTI to curtail this problem, including World Trade Organisation negotiations on tariffs and duties on imports.
Another solution to the problem could be the implementation of incentives for international companies interested in manufacturing product in South Africa.
Manufacturing under licence would enable local pump manufacturers to compete for exports and imports.
According to Daubeney, this is one of Sapma’s goals for the next few years.
Moreover, the association plans to collaborate with a range of other industry associations facing the same challenges to create a united front.
Despite the dumping of product, the local pump industry is vibrant, with much business in the market supported, until recently, by the large number of projects in the mining and water-reticulation sectors.
“The only sector that is still showing signs of struggle is the agricultural sector, which has been battling for the last two years,” says Daubeney.
He adds that the increase in projects had been due to mine expansion, especially among platinum mines, with almost all pumps sourced locally.
Moreover, mining pumps’ requirements have changed slightly, due to the fact that there has been a decrease in the number of new shafts sunk and an increase in the number of surface plants developed.
This has benefited the slurry-pump industry enormously.
On the other hand, Daubeney adds that other sectors have been stagnant in terms of pump demand, since many large projects, such as power stations and industrial complexes, have been completed.
“Business is constantly changing, resulting in pump manufacturers having to find new markets and introduce new products to remain competitive.
“Moreover, local manufacturers have been influenced significantly by mergers and international ownership of large pump companies, with the small manufacturers left to feed on niche markets requiring specialised pumping equipment.
“Mergers and international ownership have become part of the South African pump industry, with about five of the biggest companies owned by international companies.
“Companies can either grow organic- ally or through acquisitions,” says Daubeney.
He comments that, despite the growth prospects, the industry faces several challenges, including the quality of castings, lack of training programmes and counterfeit products.
“There is currently a high reject rate in locally-manufactured castings, which comprise 90% of pump material.
“This is of great concern to the association, since there are many new good-quality raw materials on the market.
“Moreover, high reject rates result in longer lead times,” Daubeney notes.
He adds that foundries should decide whether they wish to participate in the local pump industry or not.
One of the factors contributing to the poor quality levels of castings is the lack of trained employees, as a direct result of new technology and the shortage of artisan-training programmes.
“The lack of training stems from the pressure for companies to reduce costs so that they are able to maintain growth margins.
“This, coupled with new machinery, has shifted the focus away from shop-floor skills to automation.
“The new machines require a different kind of staff; therefore the staff complement remains the same but they are performing different jobs,” Daubeney explains.
Sapma has been active in training people in the industry, by presenting a yearly pump course, which is scheduled to be held in July this year.
The course, which attracts over 50 delegates each year, is delivered by specialists in the pump industry.
This year, the association has gone a step further by offering a practical training bursary to a technikon student for six months between semesters.
This bursary, which provides on-site training for the student in a factory of one or two of the association’s members, is expected to create interest in the pump industry from technically-qualified people and allow the association to identify future pump specialists.
“We currently have a student working at one of the member companies on a trial basis.
“The current bursor’s six-month practical will be completed by July, enabling us to provide feedback on the project to all association members at the pump course.
“Moreover, we intend to make this a yearly event, and possibly expand it to two students a year in the future,” says Daubeney.
He adds that students are chosen on academic achievements in hydraulic-related subjects.
The association also continues to be concerned that counterfeit pump components are more readily avail-able in the industry than in the past.
These components, being produced by people without the registered designs and responsibility for the products, tend to be selected only from lucrative pump components.
Moreover, the quality of the com-ponents is often good.
However, they are not always dimensionally accurate and, therefore, are often unable to perform the function that the original product can perform.
Further, the suppliers of these counterfeit components are unable to provide the technical advice required by customers if problems arise.
“Counterfeit products are detrimental to original-equipment manufacturers’ reputations.
“It has presented a problem for the industry over many years, but has been exacerbated by more people jumping on the bandwagon,” Daubeney explains.
Looking ahead, he concludes that the local industry needs to attract international pump companies to increase its competitiveness in the import and export markets.
In order to do this, the industry needs to promote itself as a high-quality low-cost production market, where these companies are able to manu-facture their products.
“If South Africa is able to place itself in this category, international com- panies will manufacture products locally for both domestic and global consumption.
“This would benefit South Africa significantly in the long term,” says Daubeney.
He notes that the economy also plays a vital role in the pump industry, explaining that if the economy is in good shape and inflation is controlled, then costs could be kept low.
However, if an economic disaster occurs and inflation runs wild, a large quantity of products will have to be imported, resulting in job losses locally.
Daubeney adds that, in spite of the current barriers, many companies have been able to increase their exports.
However, in the main, the rand remains too strong for exports in relation to the cost base.
He foresees steady growth in the South African pump industry, and a thrust towards supplying products to Africa.
“South Africa is well placed com-mercially and technologically, to take advantage of any projects taking place in Africa,” says Daubeney.
Sapma is also now in its fortieth year and, during this period, membership has remained fairly constant despite the mergers and takeovers in the industry.
Edited by: zeena isaacs© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Pumps News
Heavy-duty industrial valve manufacturing and services provider Flowrox has launched the Flowrox Expulse flexible pulsation dampener, which is designed to assist during pump and dampener maintenance by reducing noise and vibration, which can lead to pipe damage that...
The global pumps and valves manufacturing industry is showing renewed interest in this year’s Pumps, Valves and Pipes Africa Expo (PVPA), which is taking place at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, from May 20 to 22, says event organiser Exhibition Management...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
This Week's Magazine
Updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago While strongly welcoming the promulgation of the new Part 101 of South Africa’s civil aviation regulations, governing the commercial operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs) in South Africa, the Commercial Unmanned Aircraft Association of Southern Africa...
Updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago LSM Distributors has contracted engineering consultancy WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa to undertake the R100-million restoration of the 54-year-old Kyalami racetrack, situated in Midrand. The restoration will assist in re-establishing it as a venue for...
Updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has expressed the hope that the defence budget will be significantly increased over the next five years. She did so while addressing the media in her recent budget vote media briefing. The 2015/2016 defence...
Updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been an implementing agency for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) since 2008. The relatively young portfolio has 28 projects over 30 countries on the continent according to the 2014 AfDB and GEF annual report released...
Updated 2 hours 9 minutes ago Investment in South African youth through apprenticeships and learnerships will not only create direct benefits for businesses but will also contribute significantly to job creation and socioeconomic transformation in the country.