|Piping solutions provider Incledon has expanded its portfolio of fluid conveyance products, such as pipes, fittings, flanges, couplings, valves and pumps, following the company’s recent acquisition of industrial valve specialist Valves Technology & Repair (VTR).
The symbiotic partnership forged between the two companies in March 2010, has enabled VTR to significantly expand the national coverage of its products, with the backing of Incledon, which in turn has gained exclusive rights to distribute automated control valves and actuators across South Africa.
Incledon commercial director Ray Steer notes that the acquisition of VTR brings two products under the spotlight in the South African industrial market, namely ValvTechnologies and Max-Air Actuators.
“One of Incledon’s strategic goals is to expand into value-adding opportunities that relate to providing customers with solutions. By acquiring VTR, we are able take their two existing brands, but deliver them on a much larger scale, thereby, taking both companies into new areas of business opportunities that provides a comprehensive solutions package to many industrial clients,” he says.
Incledon has also obtained exclusive distributorship of US-based ValvTechnologies, a global leader in the design and manufacture of severe-service ball valves, parallel slide gate valves and control valves. The products are manufactured from specialised materials, including Chrome Molly – a durable, low-alloy steel that can withstand high-temperatures and high-pressure applications of up to 4 500 bar.
Incledon VTR control valves MD Alli Alberts explains: “These valves are best suited to power stations and petrochemicals plants, and can be applied to high-pressure and high-temperature applications in the power market, such as steam applications, and steam and catalyst applications in petrochemicals plants. The major advantage of this technology is in its energy-saving capability - as ValvTechnologies offers a four-year ‘zero-leakage’ guarantee on steam applications - the only product in South Africa that provides this type of guarantee.”
Alberts believes that internationally recognised ‘integral seat terminology’ is what sets ValvTechnologies apart from its competitors. “Integral seat terminology differs from traditional floating and trunnion-mounted designs, as the seat is an integral part of the body and, therefore, has no cavity areas.
Valves range from 12,7 mm to 914,40 mm in size and are rated Ansi 150 to Ansi 4500, however, Alberts notes that any size valves can be custom-made to suit customers technical requirements. He points out that Incledon now has the largest stockholding of severe-service ball valves in South Africa, with stock currently standing at around 250 units.
Alberts believes that as the South African power grid continues to expand, ValvTechnologies’ ball valves will become increasingly recognised as the safest and most cost-effective industry option, as all products are Safety Integrity Level (SIL) 3 and SIL 4 certified – the highest safety certification and requirement for industrial plants.
He also notes that Incledon, in conjunction with ValvTechnologies, offers a total valve management package, whereby engineers are sent to a plant to undertake a comprehensive valve audit. “By means of acoustic testing, Incledon’s ValvTechnologies support team submits a full report detailing leakage, the associated costs of that leakage and how much the plant can save with the new package,” says Alberts. “The TVM package has been supplied to numerous customers worldwide, and has proven to create payoff for itself within four months.”
Alberts admits that although ValvTechnologies offers substantial benefits to the local market, there are still many challenges that have to be overcome. “The industry in general needs to realise the long-term benefits of these products - with regards to the zero-leakage guarantee, as well as our technical support and after-sales capability nationwide,” he explains.
“ValvTechnologies has to date not been suitably marketed in South Africa. It is a market leader in 17 countries globally and, with support from Incledon, we are confident that we can successfully roll out the product range nationwide.”
Cementing the range of ValvTechnologies severe-service ball valves is Incledon’s exclusive range of competitively priced Max-Air actuators, manufactured in Italy - with accessories that include switchboxes, solenoids and positioners. Max-Air Technology (Italy) provides cost-effective solutions of automating valves for the most complicated flow requirements in the diverter and multiport flow applications through its extensive line of 180° actuators.
“Max-Air actuators can be applied to any industrial plants that require valves to be automatically controlled. The products have already been installed in a number of large operations locally that have been looking to increase their efficiencies,” explains Alberts.
“Owing to Incledon’s large stockholding and nationwide distribution centres, actuators and accessories can now be delivered to any site in South Africa within a matter of days.”
Alberts admits that valve automation in plants may initially cost unskilled valve operators their jobs in the industrial sector, however, he points out that the product will ultimately demand skills upliftment, owing to the fact that the valves become operated through a central control system.
“Max-Air brings productivity and efficiency benefits that will ultimately support the industry as a whole to move forward technologically, ensuring that South African industries remain, or become globally competitive. Although in the short-term, this may result in potential job losses - the bigger picture is that industry will be more efficient, initial labour costs will be saved, job skills will be enhanced, and plants will become more efficient. This will ultimately result in sustainable growth and job retention within our vital manufacturing, mining and industrial markets of South Africa,” Alberts concludes.