Apart from being heavily committed to educating various industries on the benefits of using high-quality branded and approved products, engineering supplies specialist Incledon also strives to remain abreast of the latest trends and developments in the industry by remaining competitive.
Incledon national plastics product manager Phillip Bawden asserts that the company supplies all types of plastic pipes and fittings across different sectors. “We directly and indirectly supply our products to the mining industry and civil contractors, as well as service plumbers through merchants and the irrigation industry through the farmers’ cooperatives. As a result, Incledon is a key ‘master distributor’ for foreign and local supply chain partners.
“What gives Incledon the leading edge in a highly competitive market is the fact that it represents top brands, the longevity of the company, and the active role it assumes in the industry by supplying the pipe, fittings, valves, nuts, bolts and gaskets as a complete package,” he comments.
However, Bawden notes that a global issue at the moment that could impede industry success is that customers are slow to commit to new capital investment, as they are looking to obtain the best perceived value and, in many cases, this means buying cheaper, inferior imported products.
He says this impacts heavily on the local market, which is committed to upholding all the necessary South African Bureau of Standards benchmarks as the industry minimum. He adds that, in some instances, it is found that unbranded products are brought and distributed into the country. This means there is no traceability when the products fail.
Owing to this, the local industry is not only losing out on significant revenue, but also has to contend with a myriad of problems when these cheaper products begin to fail or the end-user encounters problems.
Therefore, Incledon focuses on offering its diverse client base a complete ‘basket’ of products related to their specific requirements, supplying everything, even down to the jointing materials.
“Clients approach us and procure everything that is needed for a particular piping project. Incledon even supplies related products such as manhole covers and frames, in addition to ancillary pipe equipment such as pipe cutting tools, threading tools and wrenches. While our core product range and competencies is pipe, fittings, jointing and valves, we have the necessary flexibility to be able to meet a range of requirements and specifications,” he points out.
Bawden highlights that the company stays abreast of national developments initiated by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation and the Department Public Works.
Further, Bawden points out that, with the large-bore water distribution tenders being made available across the country, it is evident that the water infrastructure segment is definitely growing, which means more business opportunities. He adds that the ongoing drought will mean that more water reticulation systems will have to be installed to supply water to the population.
“This means that our growth will come from any expansion of existing townships, or building new areas. While we are a fairly young country, unlike Europe, even our current infrastructure is starting to fall into disrepair. Asbestos cement pipe laid 40 years ago is starting to fail, for example. This has meant large-scale rehabilitation work in major cities like Cape Town and Durban,” comments Bawden.
He says that large metropolitan areas having to rehabilitate their reticulation networks has resulted in a trend toward far less disruptive pipe-laying technologies. The current emphasis is therefore trenchless technologies, which involves pulling a new pipe into an existing one.
Bawden points out that technology is also very advanced at the moment, with the majority of the pipe used across industry being high-density polyethylene, as it is such a strong product. In addition, the necessary connections are relatively simple to install, especially when using Plasson ElectroFusion fittings, for example, which is one of the most well-known brands available from Incledon.
Plasson ElectroFusion fittings are designed specifically for reliability, high-performance and long-life pipe jointing systems. It has been proven to be one of the most reliable systems, owing to the low potential for operator error, says Bawden.
The main advantages of these fittings are deep penetration depths and fusion zones, which ensure high-quality joints, and the fact that Plasson is an integrated system, which entails significant cost savings for the end-user, in addition to a guarantee of quality and a long-service life.