Provincial presence benefits company

20th July 2018

Geosynthetic products manufacturer and supplier Fibertex SA’s local operation plant in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, is well positioned to meet growing demand for geosynthetic products, not only in Africa, but also from countries in Europe, Australasia and Asia, and is the largest plant in Africa that manufactures geotextiles from virgin polypropylene (PP).

Fibertex SA is part of the global Fibertex organisation, which is headquartered in Denmark.

“The Hammarsdale facility – one of seven Fibertex factories globally – manufactures an extensive range of nonwoven geosynthetic products, in line with stringent international and local quality, safety and environmental specifications,” says Fibertex SA CEO Clive Hitchcock.

“Fibertex UV stabilised virgin PP geotextiles are the only nonwoven geotextiles produced in Africa with certification for durability of over 100 years, in accordance with the latest EN standards. This feat is completely dependent on the basis of the materials of construction and that they are based on virgin polymer. To our knowledge, no product based on a recycled material has ever been proven to meet this standard, nor will ever be able to do so, based on the inherent variability of recycled feedstock.

Moreover, Fibertex SA was awarded an ISO 9001:2015 quality management system certification at its Hammarsdale manufacturing plant. Hitchcock indicates that the KwaZulu-Natal plant successfully completed a rigorous audit, following which it is now certified to ISO 9001:2015 requirements. “Fibertex SA was awarded the coveted CE marking in 2016 – a mandatory certification for products sold within the European Economic Area, with certain products being certified to exceed 100 years durability.”

He indicates that PP has specific application in areas where the textile may be in contact with alkaline conditions; noting slimes dams and waste sites as an example. He acclaims that Fibertex PP geotextiles offer a high level of chemical stability under a wide range of environmental conditions and have advantages in installations where the cost of failure may be extreme, in both financial and environmental terms. He says this is a notable contrast to an alternative polymer, polyester (PET), as this decomposes in alkaline conditions, through a chemical reaction called “hydrolysis”, which causes the polymer to disintegrate and lose strength.

Hitchcock highlights that the Fibertex team is committed to building business enterprises in KwaZulu-Natal, and the company works closely with local municipalities, engineers and contractors to provide locally manufactured products for local projects.

As part of the company’s pledge to create sustainable employment in the region, Fibertex offers skills training to ensure every step in the quality control of production and during installation is in accordance with the company’s “impeccable” standards, says Hitchcock.

Fibertex has completed many local projects in KwaZulu-Natal recently, including the installation of geosynthetic sand containers (GSC Bags) at coastal rehabilitation projects in Umdloti and Ballito. GSC-Bags were also successfully used as an alternative to concrete block walls in a prestigious landscaping project in Umhlanga Ridge.

Local projects enable Fibertex to create valuable job opportunities in KwaZulu-Natal and specifically in the Hammarsdale region, which was once a thriving textile industrial hub.

The Fibertex geosynthetics range encompasses nonwoven and woven geotextiles, gabions and mattresses, drainage pipes and fittings and erosion control and cellular confinement solutions. The company also supplies soil reinforcing products, including geogrids and geocells, as well as geosynthetic clay liners as part of composite lining systems in modern landfills.

These woven and nonwoven geotextiles play an important role in diverse sectors, including mining, civil engineering, construction, waste and environmental fields. The company also offers solutions to automotive, filtration, furniture and flooring industries.

The company’s continued focus on quality and customer needs has led to the expansion and improvement of business operations. Coupled with this, global support guarantees the edge on product design, impeccable manufacturing standards, cost efficiency, safety and reliability of every material.

The Fibertex group celebrates 50 years of business this year.