State-owned Transnet Freight Rail (TFR), in April, placed a R1.8-mil- lion order with precast concrete products manufacturer Rocla for 600 units of its Alfabloc concrete walling product.
TFR required a solution that would prevent cars and pedes- trians from crossing a 1.2 km section of railway tracks in Virginia, in the Free State.
Rocla proposed its 1.2-m-high Mini Alfa concrete product as an alternative to the 0.8-m-high product that was originally requested. The extra height and continuous steep slope of the product provides extra protection against pedestrians crossing the tracks.
The product also features threaded inserts, on top, to attach additional elements such as electric fencing or barbed wire, if required in the future.
Rocla will undertake weekly deliveries of the Mini Alfa units over a five-month period from its manufacturing facility in Virginia to the TFR division in the same area.
The short distance between the points of manufacturing and delivery is an advantage because it lowers the transport costs that will, in turn, reduce Rocla’s carbon footprint.
“With nine factories nationwide, our network enables us to transport products anywhere in the country, rarely having to exceed a 200 km radius,” says Rocla sales and marketing director Craig Waterson.
He adds that, to date, this contract is one of a number of TFR contracts awarded to the company.
Rocla has, in the past, supplied TFR with culverts for stormwater drainage, wingwalls for storm- water directing, as well as tractional masts for overhead railway- track equipment, says Waterson.
He says the company’s product offering has positioned it to supply more Alfabloc units to the Transnet group throughout its planned R300-billion Market Demand Strategy (MDS), which will be carried out over the next seven years.
Transnet reports that R201-bil- lion of the total capital expenditure of its MDS will be allocated to rail projects and an extra R4-billion for rail engineering works.
“We are excited about Transnet’s plans to expand and upgrade its rail infrastructure. Our hard work over the past two years has ideally positioned us as a supplier with which Transnet could collaborate.
“Rocla is currently engaged in tendering its products for the MDS,” says Waterson.
Rocla hopes to increase its market presence with its walling products, such as the Alfabloc, Lbloc and Shuttabloc systems, which were launched mid-2011.
The product range and its capabilities opens up new markets for us, says Rocla sales engineer Justin Kretzmar.
“We aim to discover new markets and applications for the Alfabloc product, which was initially used as a retaining-wall system for coal, grain and aggregate storage,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Rocla’s relaunched traditional masts, which are an integral part of the business’s product line, were recently awarded the CEE 0159.98 certification for masts, as required by TFR.
The certification tests and confirms, among other aspects, the maximum load the mast can resist without failure, the bending moment capacity and its deflection capacity.
This certification will enable Rocla to tender its masts to com- panies involved in the ongoing rail infrastructure upgrades.