US company brings fire protection systems to SA

4th October 2013

By: Carina Borralho


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Global producer of mechanical pipe-joining and fire protection systems Victaulic tells Mining Weekly that its full range of fire protection products from the US is available in South Africa.

The company specialises in grooved piping systems that combine fitness for purpose with ease of installation.

Recent product developments from Victaulic promise to deliver cost and time savings and space reduction, and include innovations like the FireLock EZ style 009N rigid coupling and the VicFlex flexible sprinkler drops line, consisting of braided and corrugated stainless steel flexible hoses and patented one-piece ready-to-install brackets designed to move with the ceiling grid.

The improved design of the FireLock EZ style 009N rigid coupling makes it easier to install than previous models, reducing installation efforts by 50% and improving impact wrench battery efficiency by 100%. The style 009N is part of Victaulic’s installation-ready product line and platform. It has all the same time-saving benefits as previous models and a housing design as well as a centre lip gasket for proper pipe positioning.

The company claims that the VicFlex offers fast and dependable installation and durable performance; it is cost-effective with regard to maintenance and retrofit applications – requiring fewer hours to install – while lowering shipping costs, as it is compact.

“When it comes to installing fire protection systems, choosing the correct grooved-end flexible and rigid couplings can significantly reduce installation time,” says Victaulic South Africa regional manager Barry van Jaarsveld.

“Victaulic looks forward to helping the mining industry build productivity and increase efficiency and profitability.”

The company notes that a Victaulic mechanical joint consists of four elements – grooved pipe, the coupling housings, a pair of nuts and bolts and the rubber gasket. “This gasket is pressure responsive and is encased by the coupling housing when it engages in the groove around the circumference of the pipe. The gasket then creates a seal unified joint that is enhanced when the system is pressurised,” explains Van Jaarsveld.

Couplings are classified as either flexible or rigid. The angled pad design provides positive clamping of the pipe to resist torsional and flexural loads. Flexible couplings allow for controlled angular, linear and rotational movement, which accommodates pipeline deflection, as well as thermal expansion and contraction.

Both types of couplings provide the security of full circumferential engagement of the coupling into the groove for high-pressure and end-load performance.

“The coupling method has not only stood the test of time but has also been used in some of the most innovative engineering projects in recent years,” he adds.

Further, Van Jaarsveld notes that a traditional welded system requires highly skilled workers and is labour intensive. “To repair welded piping systems, workers have to cut out a damaged pipe section, which is time consuming and can cause operational concerns and safety hazards, particularly at existing facilities and in occupied spaces.”

Victaulic highlights that specifying the right fire protection system has never been more important than in the current climate, where safety and efficiency are high on the agenda. “Victaulic offers a wide range of solutions that not only fit the needs of modern working environments but also save clients time and costs,” he says.

Meanwhile, over the last 90 years, Victaulic has had an impact on the development of the modern fire protection industry. “The grooved piping system, currently used in almost all fire protection systems worldwide, was invented by the company in 1919. In 1952, Victaulic released the first approved coupling for fire protection services,” adds Van Jaarsveld.

The full range of Victaulic fire protection systems is new to South Africa, but installation-ready couplings have been installed in fire water lines at, for example, the Northam Platinum Booysendaal mine in Steelpoort, Limpopo.

Located on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex, near the town of Mashishing, Booysendal is Northam’s second mine and remains the company’s primary driver for platinum growth.
Further, Victaulic adds that it continuously aims to innovate and invest in technology that improves fire protection system installations and the company offers total system solutions, including couplings, fittings, valves, automatic devices and sprinklers.

“Victaulic is growing its business in the mining and industrial markets worldwide, especially in South Africa,” says Van Jaarsveld. “The company continues to invest heavily in research and development at a time when many others are cutting back.”

Victaulic prioritises industry education and grooved-system training, as it plans to expand further into the South African fire protection market.

The company notes that proper pipe-grooving methods and correct product installation are simple, but critical.

“Victaulic systems are not only faster to install, but also allow for easy assembly to the benefit of a local workforce,” says Van Jaarsveld.

The company notes that a local South African crew, employed on a recent project in Sedibeng, Northern Cape Province, found learning to use the Victaulic grooving tools and couplings easy.

The Victaulic mechanical pipe-joining systems enable rapid assembly and disassembly, making tasks such as maintenance and system rerouting more convenient.

Van Jaarsveld notes that selecting the right fire protection devices is absolutely critical to safety management. “With growing demands being made on fire protection systems in terms of space, there are other factors to consider and functional suitability must go hand in hand with ease of installation and maintenance when it comes to system selection,” he concludes.

Edited by Megan van Wyngaardt
Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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