Owing to the use of cheaper, often lower quality steel products, which are copies of high-quality products, across industry, serious consequences, and even lead to fatalities, can result, says manufacturer of gratings, flooring and handrailing, Vital Engineering.
As a result, there is a high demand for safe steel-related products, to which Vital Engineering responded to. It was the first in industry to manufacture square gratings rather than riveted types, ball-type handrails in tubular and solid forged structures, as well as serrated expanded metal conveyor walkways to reduce slipping incidents.
“We also supply clip-related products, such as the patented reusable locating pins that prevent panels slipping off steelwork during the erection or installation phases of projects at mines, and particularly power stations,” says Vital Engineering MD Dodds Pringle.
He further notes that Vital has developed a range of handrail and kick/toe plate fixings that can be fitted to the hand-railing units around floor perimeters. This allows for the more economical transporting of grating panels and easy maintenance.
“The kick/toe plate fixings also reduce the handling weight of the gratings and reduce imbalances that occur on the panels when the kick/toe flat is attached to the grating. The systems we have developed are easy to install, maintain and change as and when required, for access to platform areas either during or after construction,” Pringle explains.
The handrails can be preassembled with the kick/toe plates attached, which offers substantially reduced cost of installation, welding, painting and other associated site costs. The standard handrail prefabricated panels are available in 2 m, 3 m, 4 m and 6 m sections with the kick/toe plate attached, enabling quick installation on site.
Vital has established a reputation for quality and service in the manufacturing of all types of gratings, stair treads, pressed floors and safety handrails, according to Pringle. This has been noticeable in the company’s supply of its products since 2007 to the Medupi and Kusile power stations currently under construction.
The Medupi and Kusile power stations, in Lephalale and Witbank respectively, represent the largest supply contract in Africa requiring grating, handrail and stair-tread supply. Vital has supplied 200 000 m2 of grating panels, 70 km of handrailing and 8 000 stair treads. To date, 500 000 Vitaclamps have been supplied to the power stations.
Vital has developed and patented Vitaclamps. These patented top-fixing grating panel units are intended to save grating installation crews and their clients costs by improving installation time, reducing costs associated with having to hire scaffolding and improving safety by allowing the unit to be tightened from the top rather than the traditional clip, which is fixed underneath. Vitaclamps are available in three ranges – light, medium and heavy – depending on the type of application and environment in which it is to be used.
“Key features of Vitaclamps are the improved, secure fixing of grating panels to the steelwork for various applications. Vitaclamps are also stronger and more robust than other options currently available on the market,” says Pringle.
In addition, it offers quick and easy maintenance and replacement of floor gratings. It can be colour coded, which makes it easier to do safety checks. Vitaclamps are simple and easy to use, with good grip features and torque for tightening.
“All our Vitaclamps are branded with the Vita grid trademark, to ensure that the client gets an original-equipment manufacturer product,” says Pringle.
He highlights that the product is a safer option for floor grating fixings and he alerts clients to the lower quality copies available on the market that do not have the characteristics of Vitaclamps.
“The differentiation resulted from multiple clients’ assessments of our products and selecting a superior fixing which suited their needs and applications,” Pringle concludes.