New state-of-the-art performance asphalt testing facility opening in Pretoria

19th October 2022


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Transport and mobility are a key part of today’s society. Roads must be durable and safe otherwise they present a danger to their users and the environment, as well as increasing repair costs. 

However, as they are exposed to varying (and extreme) conditions it is not easy to construct and maintain strong and durable roads. Further, the quality of components in road products, especially bitumen, can vary widely.

Matrolab was established in 1972 as one of the largest civil engineering materials testing laboratories in Southern Africa. Nico Engelbrecht was appointed MD of Matrolab in 2004, becoming chairperson of the board in 2013. 

It was under Engelbrecht’s watch that global road construction services firm SGS, which tests and assesses the performance and durability of road materials and products, acquired Matrolab in 2016, joining the SGS Group in South Africa and contributing to a global network of over 500 laboratories in 130 countries, with 96 000 employees. 

As business manager for SGS Industrial & Environmental, Engelbrecht says that their service experience across the majority of South Africa’s major projects over the past 20 years has given SGS the ability to customise solutions to the market in the most cost-effective and practical manner.

In the current South African climate, skills are one of the challenges most companies face. To overcome this challenge, SGS Construction Materials Training Academy develops the required local skill set for this specific industry. 

This offers SGS the advantage to establishing on-site testing laboratories anywhere in Southern Africa, at short notice, where trained staff can then transfer their skills to new upcoming learners.

SGS civil engineering and material testing services enable its clients to understand the behaviour of road materials in relation to expected loads and deterioration mechanisms. “We offer the full circle service to the civil engineering construction materials industry,” says Engelbrecht.

The addition of a new state-of-the-art performance asphalt testing facility was a strategic decision to complement the latest Sabita Manual 35 requirements, which focus on performance of asphalt mixes. 

Advanced technologies assess fluxural creep properties of bituminous binder using a bending beam rheometer.

The laboratory is currently undergoing method validation and will be operational in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Tel: +27 12 800 1299



Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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