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)
Other Pipes and Tubes 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...
Germany-based technology company Kobold Instrumentation has manufactured a polysulfone paddle switch (PPS) that can monitor flow for nominal pipe sizes greater than NW 32. Kobold develops, manufactures and sells instruments for monitoring, measuring and regulating...
Identifying a need to clarify the South African National Standards (SANS) organisation’s SANS 2001 pressure test regulations, plastic pipes manufacturer DPI Plastics in 2014 developed and published a guide on how to conduct the pressure testing of pipes.
Recent Research Reports
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.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
This Week's Magazine
Projected capital expenditure (capex) in the South African automotive assembly industry should reach a record R7.48-billion this year, says the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (Naamsa) in its 2014 fourth quarter business review. Capex...
After several years of navigating project-threatening red tape and currency fluctuations, the 4.4 MW Bronkhorstspruit biogas power plant, which will supply clean energy to a leading automotive manufacturer in Gauteng, is expected to enter production before June....
South African paper and pulp producer Sappi reported earlier this month that it would build a pilot plant for the production of low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils, or CNF (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.
The long-term outlook for Nigeria is a country that has the potential to be very strong. So affirmed International Monetary Fund (IMF) Nigeria Mission Chief and Senior Resident Representative Dr Gene Leon on recently. "But we are starting from a point of huge...
Poor infrastructure planning and inadequate maintenance are becoming increasingly problematic for new developments and the associated infrastructure required to support such developments. In many urban and rural municipalities, the state of infrastructure has been...