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
Fabrication, refurbishment and engineered solutions provider DCD Venco helped prevent further delays on the Blast Furnace N5 Reline Project at steel giant ArcelorMittal South Africa’s (AMSA’s) Newcastle Works facility in KwaZulu-Natal, in August last year, after it...
Considering culture differences is critical when trying to localise company machine tools and company divisions to suite different regions, states engineering and machine tools manufacturer Fatek marketing manager Matt Yen.
In October, industry body the Southern African Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (Sappma) announced changes to its board of directors as well as the winners of its 2014 Merit Awards. The announcement was made during Sappma’s tenth annual general meeting (AGM),...
Updated 7 hours ago TSX-listed Oando Energy Resources (OER) announced a $238-million prepayment of certain loan facilities, which it used for the $1.5-billion acquisition of the ConocoPhillips Nigerian Oil & Gas Business in July 2014. The company, which is focused on oil and gas...
Updated 7 hours ago More than half CEOs surveyed as part of the latest Merchantec CEO Confidence Index, said load-shedding was negatively impacting businesses, as it lowered productivity and raised costs. The index, released on Wednesday, showed that 76.2% of CEOs felt that...
Recent Research Reports
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...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 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 network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
This Week's Magazine
Eqstra Holdings was going to reduce its exposure to contract mining, but it was not yet ready to sell the troubled business, said CEO Walter Hill on Tuesday. He said Eqstra would not sell its contract mining business in a “depressed market”. He said it would be...
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year. The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.