Construction and fixing supplier Upat South Africa, the sole Southern African agent for fischer Fixings, has added its Duopower nylon expansion plug to its extensive range of fixings.
Made from two different types of nylon, Upat technical sales director and co-owner Kerry Kuhlmann explains that the two components complement each other, with one providing rigidity and the other providing flexibility. This enables the plug to expand where necessary and to knot up when required in hollow block applications.
The new innovative DuoPower plug can be used for numerous applications as it can be used for fixing into concrete, solid brick, hollow block, dry walling, ceiling board and any other material that is commonly used on building sites.
Kuhlmann notes: “it is a truly universal plug which does not compromise on holding power in whichever material it is used”.
The plug is not labour intensive; owing to the design of the plug, the effort required to install the plug is minimal – yet once installed it is highly efficient.
The user needs to drill a hole into the base material, insert the plug, select the correct diameter and length screw and put it through the material being fixed and screw it in. The screwing action requires no great effort.
“The market has responded well to this revolutionary new plug and our sales have increased exponentially. Unfortunately, it takes time for a product such as this in a very established market with the older type of fixings to get the kind of exposure that is required,” says Kuhlmann.
Another new development which the company is focusing on currently is the fischer range of frame fixings which can be used to fix wooden door and window frames into concrete or brick walls.
The fischer frame fixings allow for drilling into solid materials, as well as into block work owing to the fact that the plug will modify in a manner that will enable it to either expand in solid materials or knot up on itself in hollow materials.
The beauty of using a frame fixing in these applications with door and window frames is that the frame need not be built in but that a space can be left and the door frame or window frame put in afterwards and then by drilling a hole through the wood of the frame, it can be fixed into the building structure.
Kuhlmann highlights that the expansive range of fischer fixings, ranges from 4-mm-diameter nylon fixings, frame anchors, hammer fix nail-in anchors, a range of steel expansion anchors and importantly, an extensive range of chemical anchor bolts that can include bolts with 30 mm diameters.
Upat supplies a range of fixings for applications in the commercial, industrial, DIY and mining sectors. Kuhlmann explains that Upat also supplies the complementary Stabila, Milwaukee, Starmix and Eibenstock brands, which allows the company to offer its customers complete solutions.
Kuhlmann highlights that the building and construction industries are challenged by the lack of infrastructure. Big construction companies are in distress and are battling to keep operating, while companies are also cutting corners and opting to use cheap products which can be problematic. Using the wrong products and installing inferior or incorrect fixings could result in someone being injured, Kuhlmann notes.
He says that the focus should be on safety and not on the price of the fixing while people need to be educated on the repercussions of using cheaper products.
Upat hosts training sessions during which retail staff are taught the difference between the company’s’ products and cheaper products and on what advice they should give to customers to ensure a solid and safe fixing.
Meanwhile, Kuhlmann notes that the trends in the building and construction industries include using different building materials to contain costs, especially when building more affordable housing or accommodation.
In Johannesburg and other Metropolitan areas, for example, offices are being converted into accommodation using lightweight building materials such as gasbeton (lightweight concrete), dry walling and even polystyrene as opposed to using traditional concrete and brickwork.
“Companies using panel materials that weigh less won’t necessarily result in a direct cost-saving but the overall saving would be in the time it takes to construct the building,” he says.
Kuhlmann adds that, although the material may be more expensive, a contractor can put up ten walls in one day using panels as opposed to taking one day to erect a brick wall.
Upat not only supplies the fischer range of products, it offers four other major complementary brands that offer a complete solution, he concludes.