As multinational corporations continue to make inroads into the South Africa market, the thermoplastic valves sector is finding it challenging to compete in an already difficult business environment.
This is owing to competitive pricing from these specific companies, as well as the influx of “cheap imports” from the Middle East being more accessible locally, says local valves distributor Astore Keymak product manager Francois van Vuuren.
This is exacerbated by a worsening economic state, which prompts “price conscious” South African valve users to rely on imports that are of “very inferior quality”, he adds.
However, Van Vuuren tells Mining Weekly that the company – having been around for many years – has established itself as a market leader in the industrial thermoplastic valves market.
Astore Keymak is also a subsidiary of automotive, industrial and electrical consumable products supplier Hudaco Industries.
“In partnership with our current suppliers, we undertake yearly improvements on existing products, as we like to keep up with global market trends. “ As a result, our suppliers are heavily engaged in research and development,” he adds.
Astore Keymak is the sole South African distributor of the Italian-manufactured FIP thermoplastic valves range.
The range, which also includes pipes and fittings, is suited to chemicals, textile, pharmaceuticals, food, electronic and mining applications.
FIP’s leading products in the valves sector comprise the polypropylene homopolymer (PP-H) range, the polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) range, unplasticised polyvinylchloride (U PVC) range and the chlorinated polyvinylchloride (C-PVC) range.
These ranges all include complete series of ball, butterfly, diaphragm and check valves, which can be used in the construction of process lines and service lines to convey industrial fluids at different temperatures.
The PP-H range operates at a maximum temperature of 90 ºC and its main properties and characteristics are high chemical resistance and optimal thermal stability.
PP-H resins guarantee excellent chemical resistance, particularly for halogens and alkaline solutions, and allow for constant optimal mechanical properties, owing to the use of special additives.
As such, these resins are also compatible for the conveying of raw and drinking water, demineralised water and spa water for therapeutic and kinotherapeutic applications.
The range guarantees “excellent mechanical and impact resistance” with high safety standards.
Meanwhile, the operating temperature of PVDF ranges from – 40 ºC to 140 ºC. Its main properties and characteristics are chemical resistance, thermal stability, fire resistance and purity.
The PVDF pipeline systems are ideal for all applications where high operating temperatures are required, with an extremely low level of fluid contamination, and optimal resistance to ageing under the effect of atmospheric agents and ultraviolet radiation.
Additionally, its resin is an extremely pure polymer, which, unlike other plastic materials, does not contain stabilisers, plasticisers, lubricants or flame retardants.
Consequently, it can convey ultra-pure water and chemicals where contamination-free properties are required in terms of the conveyed fluid.
Further, the C-PVC range can convey industrial fluids under pressure at a maximum operating temperature of 100 ºC. Its main properties and characteristics are chemical and fire resistance.
Thus, C-PVC also guarantees optimal mechanical resistance, good rigidity, very low coefficients of thermal expansion and optimal safety factors in service.
The U PVC, PP-H, PVDF and C-PVC ranges offer extended life without mechanical or physical deterioration based on service conditions.
Van Vuuren notes that mining, particularly, has been a growth area for the company, adding that FIP’s high-quality range can compete with “the very best brands globally”.
Moreover, he advances that Astore Keymak’s medium- to long-term goals are to further expand its footprint throughout Africa, which can be achieved through the company’s continued leveraging off Hudaco’s strength, as well as its associated companies.