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Aug 03, 2012

Service delivery improved – pipe manufacturer

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Since March, there has been an improvement in the delivery of basic services in some of the provinces of South Africa, with various water projects being undertaken, reports steel tube and pipe manufacturer Robor Pipe Systems sales director Gavin Fait.

“We have seen a strong push for improved service delivery in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), the Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape and, through various projects, we see an increase in the delivery of basic services,” he says.

Robor is supplying the eThekwini municipality, in KZN, with products on a yearly supply contract.

Further, the manufacturer has also been involved in another project – a two-bypass- line project in Namaqualand, in the Northern Cape, where it replaced a failing 520 mm outside-diameter pipeline for water-service provider Sedibeng Water Board.

The bypass project was under- taken in March 2011 and was classified by the board as an emergency project because the pipe failure left communities in the Springbok region without water.

Robor supplied the project with 300 nominal-bore- diameter galvanised grooved pipelines fitted with a mechanical pipe-joining system manufactured by mechanical piping systems developer Victaulic. The supply also included all the necessary fittings and couplings.

The above-ground pipeline was chosen specifically for its ease of installation, and no skills were required to weld the pipeline because it is a groove system, which involves the grooving and manipulation of pipes without removing any material, says Fait.

According to Victaulic, the grooved piping system is up to three times faster to install and is also more reliable than threading or flanging and reduces installation costs.

The pipes are coated or galvanised and delivered to site using the bag-and-tag principle. This allows for easy installation and tracing of a product. A prelubricated gasket is installed before a coupling is placed between two formed machine grooves on either end of the pipe.

Since the project was commissioned in July last year, there have been no water shortages in the area, Fait states.

Further, he notes that training for the locally employed workforce was also provided during the project. A site agent trains contractors on grooved piping and coupling installations on site and then inspects the work carried out on the projects.

“The people who benefit from the water transfer should be involved in the project. “The training is based on pipe and Victaulic coupling installation, and usually lasts between one and three days, depending on the number of people being trained,” says Fait.

Mining Projects
Meanwhile, Robor is installing piping for backfill mining operations for mining giants Gold Fields and Harmony Gold.

The company is providing an underground backfill pipeline for high-pressure applications. The pipes are small diameter, seamless and welded using the submerged arc process.

Robor started supplying steel polypipe to platinum miner Zimplats’ Ngezi project, in June. The company expects to also supply pipes for a tailings facility and return water lines.

“The only major challenges on the project were the coating and durability of the pipes. Coating solutions company International Paint provided a warranty on the paint it supplied for the project. It also conducted an audit on our processes to ensure its warranty would not be compromised,” Fait says.

One of the company’s major projects was for Gold Fields’ South Deep expansion, where a new tailings facility was built.

Robor provided high-density polyethylene-lined steel polypipe product to link the South Deep plant to a new dam.

Epoxy-coated pipes were provided for the return water line.

The project began in February 2010 and was commissioned in July 2011.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
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