Mar 02, 2012
Association says quality of locally made plastic pipes could be betterBack
© Reuse this
Speaking to Engineering News, Sappma CEO Jan Venter reports that the results of the second round of random sampling undertaken by the association, which sampled pipes from a number of sources, showed that there were a number of discrepancies in the manu- facturing of plastic pipes in South Africa.
“As there is a wide range of pipe standards, we only focus on four standards – SANS 1601, SANS 791, SANS 4427 and SANS 967 – which evaluate pipe stiffness, wall thickness, length and diameter respectively. The tests are conducted by an independent laboratory and huge discrepancies and a significant nonconformance factor was found,” he adds.
“Sappma works very closely with the SABS in a joint effort to weed out inferior- quality plastic piping systems. It is our vision to create absolute quality, trust and integrity throughout the value chain of the Southern African plastic pipes industry,” he notes.
As the plastic piping business is a strategic industry, hardware needs to be reliable for extended periods. Long-term product quality is, therefore, fundamental and high-quality plastic pipe should be good for a minimum of 50 years, according to industry standards.
“However, the plastic pipes industry finds itself in an increasingly difficult position, owing to economic pressure. In a situation such as ours, where supply continually exceeds demand, manufacturers are looking for ways to cut costs, which often impacts negatively on product quality,” Venter explains.
He adds that a toll was taken on the industry during the world financial crisis. “The pipes industry works closely with the civil works industry. Our demand will increase as this sector increases but, at the moment, it is still very slow,” he adds.
To ensure compliance and high standards throughout the industry, Sappma launched a sampling exercise of a selection of pipes obtained at random from various stocking merchants at the beginning of 2011. The dimensions and stiffness of these pipes were tested at a certified independent laboratory in terms of the relevant SABS standards.
“The results were rather shocking. We selected 18 samples of PVC pipes at random from eight different manufacturers, all of them carrying the SABS mark and clearly identified by trade or company names. Of those pipes tested, at least 56% of those produced by non-Sappma members failed, while none of those produced by Sappma members failed,” he notes.
After the results of the first round of tests had been released, Sappma repeated the survey at the end of 2011, again acquiring pipes at random, although a much bigger sample size was used.
“We have found that a considerable number of the pipes tested still fell short of the industry standards. However, we are pleased to report that there seems to be a significant improvement since the previous survey,” Venter adds.
While Sappma does not claim that all pipe produced by its members will be 100% faultless all the time, Venter points out that the results of the first round of tests do seem to indicate a trend in the setting of and adhering to industry standards.
“We hope the problems picked up are only neglect and ‘night-shift’ problems. Some problems might have occurred as some companies are trying to save on materials and costs, purposefully using less material than is required to manufacture pipes. If you cut down on your wall thickness, your costs go down and you can compete, which creates an uneven playing field,” he notes.
Meanwhile, Venter explains that Sappma has a strict code of conduct, which the CEO of a company needs to sign on becoming a member of the association, while pipe manufacturers need to sign a letter of undertaking. “We also perform factory audits, while unannounced sampling keeps our members on their toes. There is great peer pressure in the association to conform to standards, and this differentiates Sappma members from non-Sappma members,” he adds.
“In the interests of the consumer and the long-term integrity of the infrastructure, Sappma will continue with these market surveys. We are confident that independent tests such as these will increase the public’s awareness of quality issues, which will ultimately raise the level of responsibility of manufacturers,” Venter concludes.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
Other News This Week News
Updated 53 minutes ago Up to $2-trillion in petroleum and coal projects will not be needed if the world takes action to limit warming of the planet to 2 degrees Celsius, according to a report released this week ahead of a global climate summit in Paris. The report adds to a string of...
Updated 1 hour 11 minutes ago The South African government will use instruments such as tariff hikes to protect jobs in sectors threatened by imports, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said on Tuesday. Addressing scores of delegates at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)...
Recent Research Reports
Water 2015: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2015 Report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context but also in the African and global context in terms of supply and demand, water stress and insecurity, and access to water and sanitation, besides others.
Input Sector Review: Pumps 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2015 Input Sector Review on Pumps provides an overview of South Africa’s pumps industry with particular focus on pump manufacture and supply, aftermarket services, marketing strategies, local and export demand, imports, sector support, investment...
Liquid Fuels 2015: A review of South Africa's liquid fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2015 Report examines these issues in the context of South Africa’s business environment; oil and gas exploration; fuel pricing; the development of the country’s biofuels industry; the logistics of transporting liquid fuels; and...
Road and Rail 2015: A review of South Africa's road and rail sectors (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2015 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail infrastructure and network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and...
Defence 2015: A review of South Africa's defence sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Coal 2015 report examines South Africa’s coal industry with regards to the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local demand, export sales and coal logistics, projects being undertaken by the large and smaller participants in the...
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
This Week's Magazine
Additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing, has the potential to completely change the relationships between individual consumers, professional designers and manufacturers. So argued Loughborough University Reader in Computer Aided Product Design Dr Ian...
Airbus Defence and Space: Military Aircraft has highlighted that its A330 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) has significant commonalities with the Airbus A330-200 commercial airliner, upon which it is based. The South African Air Force (SAAF) once operated a fleet of...
Financial services provider Nedbank launched the second edition of its Carbon Footprinting Guide earlier this month, which is aimed at demystifying carbon footprint approaches and help readers grasp the main concepts of carbon measuring, monitoring, reporting and...
This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of Caterpillar’s first backhoe loader. This also coincides with the worldwide release of its latest-generation F2 series backhoe loader, which was launched at supply chain services company Barloworld Logistics’ Big Dig Day in...
A shortage of software engineers is leading to fewer information technology (IT) projects in private and public sector organisations. This also places a dampener on the economy, as IT is an integral part of business and civil service, says University of Witwatersrand...