Aug 03, 2012
Quality of pipes, regulation of industry important – industry bodyBack
Construction|Gold|Africa|Mining|Pipe|Pipelines|Pipes|Plastics SA|Platinum|System|Training|Waste|Water|Welding|Africa|South Africa|Equipment|Maintenance|Pipes|Products|Telecommunications|Fabrication|Infrastructure|Jan Venter|Mike Smart|Waste|Water|Pipe|Pipelines
© Reuse this
Sappma CEO Jan Venter points out that pipelines are at the heart of a country’s infrastructure and should, therefore, be functional and reliable for many years.
He stresses that water distribution, waste disposal, irrigation and telecommunications all rely on pipelines to function and adds that more than 50 years is not an unusually long time for pipes to function.
“It stands to reason that the products should be of a high quality and comply fully with the relevant standards. Most customers insist on pipes and fittings that have the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) mark of approval; however, the regulating system is not always water- tight,” Venter says.
He adds that thousands of metres of piping finds its way onto the South African market every month, noting that, under- standably, it is difficult for the SABS to regu- late all the products.
Budget constraints most likely restrict the SABS from increasing its monitoring in the market and this might be one area that needs the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry, says Venter.
To support the industry in promoting high-quality products, Sappma assists the SABS in matters of standards and quality through the implementation of various quality-assurance measures and initiatives, as well as demanding additional good practice measures from its members.
One such initiative is the welder identification system, which Sappma affiliate, the Installation and Fabrication Plastics Pipe Association (Ifpa) has implemented to ensure the consistent high-quality welding of pipes.
The system requires that the welders of all Ifpa members be issued with identification stamps, which track them to every welding task they perform.
This ensures that members continuously adhere to the high standards of plastic pipe fabrication and installation.
Ifpa chairperson Mike Smart says welders were required to be recertified before they were issued with their stamps.
“The yearly recertification of welders was instituted in 2000 by a representative of the South African plastics industry, Plastics SA, to further ensure the high quality of practical work.
“However, in September 2010, it was decided that Ifpa members would be able to recertify their welders once every three years, while non-Ifpa members would be required to certify their welders yearly,” says Smart.
Every Ifpa welder has been issued with a unique number printed on an identification card, which includes his or her photograph. Every Ifpa member company is required to follow the system of traceability with the use of the stamp on each weld, displaying the Ifpa company number, the welder’s number and the Ifpa logo.
“Sappma fully endorses and supports this programme, which proves our commitment to go further on the quality value chain. This move has also been welcomed by customers, who appreciate the level of transparency and accountability that Sappma tries to introduce and maintain,” says Venter.
Nevertheless, the pressure and rising input costs that the gold and platinum mining sectors are facing are also affecting the pipe industry.
Meanwhile, to increase output and efficiency, the industry is continuously upgrading production machinery and investing in laboratory test equipment.
But the industry needs skilled people, such as polymer technologists and extrusion operators with a proper work ethic. Plastics SA is tackling this problem through a range of short training courses that can be applied in the pipe industry.
However, Venter says government also needs to deal with problems that result from skills shortages.
“It is important that every citizen has access to clean water and that waste is properly disposed of; therefore, the expansion and maintenance of piping infrastructure in South Africa should be a high priority for government because the plastic pipes industry is able and ready to do its part to achieve this goal,” says Venter.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Construction News
International consulting engineering company Royal HaskoningDHV (RHDHV) has appointed Salani Sithole as South African MD, effective March 1. Sithole has been with the company for six years and, prior to joining RHDHV, held various positions in engineering consulting,...
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
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.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
In a recent letter to the editor that I sent to Engineering News (Concerns regarding South African portion of Square Kilometre Array) and in a follow-up article elaborating further (We must start preparations to build our own synchrotron light source), I stated my...