Archive for the ‘FrontNews’ Category

State-of-the-art factory officially opened following R12-million upgrade

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

11 November 2013

Polyurethane expert UMP has substantially increased its existing production capabilities, while expanding into engineering and fabrication services, as a result of its advanced new R12-million manufacturing facility in Johannesburg.

The upgrade of the ISO 9001 accredited factory – which was opened at a ceremony hosted by the company in November 2013 – has resulted in UMP’s scope of polyurethane supply expanding to include rubber lined, ceramic and fibreglass products, in addition to the fabricated steel components.UMPs Newly Upgraded Factory

UMP director Trevor Carolin says: “In the past, complex moulding required the client to supply steel inserts for their polyurethane. These inserts are now fabricated and machined on premises, before being cast with a specific urethane or rubber-lined, then bolted, assembled and crated for delivery.”

Carolin highlights the fact that the factory upgrade also forms part of UMP’s ongoing plans for expansion in South Africa and beyond. “The expansion has resulted in the UMP factory more than doubling in size from 2 300 m2 to 5 000 m2, which has allowed for the creation of additional workshop space and new machinery for the polyurethane and engineering divisions.”

According to Carolin, the UMP engineering and fabrication division is now able to service considerably larger projects. “We now have the ability to lift components that are up to 12,5 tons in weight and up to 10 m in height under one crane. In the past, these types of projects would have been outsourced, as a result of our limited capacity. We are in a position to manufacture anything from machines to structural components.”

Carolin reveals that UMP’s increased capacity offers clients a value-added service offering, as everything is completed according the company’s exact specifications under one roof. “Improved  internal manufacturing capabilities lowers the cost of production thanks to an increase in volumes, while improving quality control, as a result of all processes remaining entirely in-house.”

Carolin states that UMP will increase its focus on pipelines as well as expanding into the export markets across Africa, North America and South America. “UMP is currently in the process of establishing a dedicated North American branch in Ontario, Canada, to service the well established mining sector in the region. With development taking place in the South American mining market, I believe that UMP can gain market share in the region by consolidating on its success in Canada.”

From a local point of view, Carolin points out that the South African market remains relatively subdued, despite showing signs of recovery.”Africa has been identified by UMP as the most prospective market for new projects and growth possibilities. As a result, we will continue to place a high emphasis on expanding our reach in this market moving forward,” he concludes.

UMPs Newly Upgraded Facto

UMP develops a first-of-its-kind polyurethane lining for pipe bends

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

17 September 2013

Polyurethane specialist UMP has successfully developed the world’s first polyurethane lining technology for 3D and 5D pipe bends, as part of its US$2-million contract with Turkish-based construction company Tekfen Construction & Installation.

The project, which was officially signed in February 2013, involves the supply of several specialised polyurethane linings for pipe bends, ranging from 350 nominal-bore (NB) to 900 NB, for a throttling plant at a phosphate project in Morocco. UMP director Trevor Carolin notes that this was a challenging task, due to the fact that the company was required to design specialised tooling to line the pipe bends to 12 mm thickness, as per the client’s request.

“Following a number of unsuccessful attempts with other manufacturers from around the world, the client approached UMP to develop a solution that offers good abrasion resistance against the slurry, which is transported at a pressure of over 120 bar. UMP manufactured special casting tools for the project, and also invested around R2,8-million in the manufacture of a complex tooling system to get a mould in and out of the bend. As a result, we successfully developed this new lining technology, which has placed us as an international leader in the supply of polyurethane lining,” he explains.

Carolin reveals that the large pipe fittings also made the installation more challenging. “Each pipe on average weighs about 3,5 tons and some are as high as 6 m. With the new technology for the lining, UMP had to provide a solution that would be easily maintained on site and, with the current polyurethane lining supplied by the company, the pipeline should last at least 20 years.”

The initial quotation for the project was signed in August 2012, and UMP received an order for the trial product in November 2012, before the contract with Tekfen was officially signed earlier this year. In addition to the polyurethane lining, UMP also supplied high-density polyethylene lining for the project’s test loop.

The Tekfen project is still currently being undertaken, with the majority of parts being completed to date. A number of the components have been shipped and received in Morocco, and Carolin adds that he is optimistic that the project will be completed within budget by the end of October 2013.

With focus on UMP’s international breakthrough in polyurethane lining technology for pipe bends, Carolin is confident of the prospect of measurable growth for the company moving forward. “I believe that this groundbreaking technology will open up avenues of growth for UMP particularly across Africa, North America and South America. Bearing this in mind, we are already in the process of establishing a division in Ontario, Canada. This will be the first step  in a long line of proposed expansion opportunities for UMP,” he concludes.

The advantages of Polyurethane

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

3 June 2013

Local industries can substantially reduce the unpredictable downtime periods and delays on overall return-on-investment caused by premature plant abrasion, by making use of wear protection products manufactured by polyurethane expert UMP.

UMP director Trevor Carolin notes that the properties of polyurethane, its chemical composition and its suitability to applications are often misunderstood.”Polyurethane is often wrongly perceived as a plastic, which it is not. It is an organic polymer containing the urethane group that is core to the chemical structure and is grouped with rubbers, due to the fact that both are elastomers and made from reacting a polyol with a diisocyanate,” he explains.

Carolin highlights the fact that chain extenders are added to increase the molecular weight of the pre-polymer in order to form a usable elastic polymer. “Polyurethane wear solutions are among the most effective of these, helping to not only meet the plant’s projected time to break even, but also substantially reducing the expenditure required to operate the plant.”

According to Carolin, the variations of polyurethane composition make it suitable as an abrasion resistant and load bearing material for the mining industry and, due to its chemical resistance, as a versatile material for the chemical industry too. “The major advantages of polyurethane include; tensile and tear strength elongation, in addition to rebound, chemical and solvent resistance.”

When production chemistry is scientifically matched to the application, Carolin points out that polyurethane can play a key role in assisting plant managers and maintenance engineers in protecting the plant from downtime due to either erosive or abrasive wear.

Pipeline protection

With process plants today being designed for higher throughput, the life expectancy of modern mining plants has ultimately shortened, says Carolin. “Equipment is being designed for a certain life expectancy and no more. For this reason, engineers are moving away from traditional rubber lined steel pipes, and towards more cost effective lining alternatives. It is, however, important to realise that rubber lined steel pipes still have a place in plant sectors that have a short life expectance i.e less than 5 years and energy consumption is not an issue.

Carolin states that polyurethane has been proven to be cost effective in terms of proofing the pipe against abrasion and energy efficient due to it low coefficient of friction, up to 5 times better than rubber. Through better engineering design one can ensure that the pipeline achieves the required durability that correlates with the projected life of plant. “The most cost effective lining material on the market today is polyurethane, but for the lining to meet expectation, its composition and the actual lining of the pipe must be undertaken by a competent company.”

According to Carolin, high density polyethylene (HDPE) is the major competing material against polyurethane in the local market. “When applied correctly, a polyurethane lined pipe can outperform its competitors by a factor of three when conveying mine tailings and other process media. A test conducted at a phosphate plant in South America with 16mm ore pumped at 3m/s, revealed that polyurethane lined pipes in this application outlasted HDPE by factor of 24,” he continues.

Carolin suggests that if a steel polyurethane lined pipe commands a 41 percent premium over its closest rival, HDPE, the total life cycle cost over a given period would work out to approximately 47 percent to that of HDPE. “This assumes that polyurethane is a minimum of three times more wear resistant and does not take into account polyurethane’s superior performance with regards to high velocity, large particle sizes and bends. UMP’s branded Redline polyurethane in particular allows for a thinner lining and a range of thicknesses to suit either the internal pipe diameter or the specific wear protection required. What’s more, it delivers benefits that include shatter proofing and immunity to thermal and external shocks,” he adds.

General protection

Polyurethane wear protection also plays a fundamental role in chutes and other steel channels with rectangular or multi angular sections. Carolin explains that wear protection for these shapes is achieved by making use of UMP’s range of Armadillo protective chute linings, which delivers a life cycle cost advantage of more than 30 percent.

“Armadillo can be installed as a chute liner at the UMP factory and onsite, or it can be fabricated as a drop-in liner for ease of replacement. The major benefits of Armadillo include; resistance to impact and abrasion, excellent tear and cut properties and a low coefficient of friction in chutes and bins,” Carolin adds.

Despite the distinct advantages of polyurethane as a wear resistant material, Carolin warns that it is of the utmost importance for plant managers to deal with an experienced wear protection company that acts as a consultant, rather than just a seller.

“Users should remain alert to the fact that polyurethane is a chemical with numerous variants, and that the incorrect grade of material will have disastrous consequences. They should also work to narrow down the choice set of possible polyurethanes, and then undertake field tests to determine which one will deliver optimum results. The customer can benefit substantially by applying the best solution for its particular application,” he concludes.

Increased demand prompts multi-million rand expansion

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

6 May 2013

Polyurethane specialist UMP has expanded its production capabilities into the field of engineering and fabrication, responding to increased demand from its customers operating in the mining, infrastructure and engineering sectors of South Africa and beyond.

UMP delivers a diverse range of cost effective wear solutions that specialises in polyurethane lined piping and process equipment. The company is now incorporating a wider scope of products for the mining and mineral processing markets, and is setting itself apart from the competition – thanks to expertise in both niche and mainstream applications.

UMP director Trevor Carolin explains that the company started the expansion of its Edenvale facilities in 2011 after acquiring machining specialist All-Round Engineering.”The acquisition has enabled us to target a mix of small-to-large enterprises looking for precision engineered components such as flywheels, shafts, stub axles and bearing housings.”

The second phase of UMP’s expansion began early last year, when the company’s fabrication capabilities were improved through the purchase of equipment worth R1,5-million. By the end 2012, UMP expanded further with the purchase of a new property worth R7,4-million in Edenvale, Johannesburg.

In the first quarter of 2013, UMP invested R6-million for further expansion, creating additional workshop space and new machinery for the polyurethane and engineering divisions.  This substantial refurbishment is to expand capabilities and enable both divisions to double their turnover. Carolin notes:  “In terms of extra space made by the expansion, UMP is effectively more than doubling in size from a 2 300 m2 facility, to one that is over 5 000 m2. The expansion and unveiling of the newly revamped premises is due for completion by July this year.”

According to Carolin, the recent expansion resulted in the company’s scope of polyurethane supply expanding to include rubber lined, ceramic and fibreglass products, in addition to the urethane steel composites. “In the past, complex moulding required the client to supply steel inserts for their polyurethane. Today, these inserts are fabricated and machined on premises, before being cast with a specific urethane or rubber lined, then bolted, assembled and crated for delivery.”

He states that in order to keep up with increased demand, the company is aiming to increase the UMP workforce in all functions of the company. “We are confident of substantial and measurable growth for UMP. With a strong and healthy order book, UMP will be looking at further acquisitions of new machinery and equipment during the course of 2013.”

His optimism is clearly justified, after recently signing a US$2-million contract with Turkish based construction company, Tekfen Construction & Installation Co. Inc. “Our scope of work involves the supply of a specialised lining in bends and fittings for a phosphate project in Morocco. This assignment has proven to be technically challenging, as we had to design specialised tooling in order to line these components ranging from 300 NB to 900 NB,” says Carolin.

He adds: “Globally, we are one of only a handful of companies that is able to execute a project of this size. The size of these pipes and fittings are the largest diameter polyurethane lined piping that we have encountered. These fittings weigh between four and nine tons each and measure up to five metres in length – making it challenge to handle. Despite this, the project has been running smoothly and we expect to hand over the completed components to Tekfen by the end of May 2013.”

In terms of additional projects, Carolin notes that UMP will focus more strongly on pipelines as well as expanding into the export markets in North Africa, North America and the Middle East. “Clients require complex polyurethane mouldings, which forms a major part of our offering.  We have the in-house capabilities to manufacture the majority of the moulds, where more complex and high precision work is undertaken by our affiliates. Where necessary, UMP advises its clients of the selection and suitability of the required polyurethane which is tailored to each application.”

As part of its extended service offering and depending on the nature and size of the requirement, the engineering staff can undertake the work either at its Edenvale factory or at the client’s location. UMP has the capacity to handle projects entailing complete sourcing, manufacture and wear lining of pipes, chutes, dead boxes and feed boxes. “After a challenging period, the South African market is starting to show some sign of recovery, but it is still quite subdued. There is a lot of activity in surrounding regions, and as a result, Africa has been identified as the most prospective market for new projects and the greatest growth possibilities,” Carolin concludes.

Dual Products International and UMP launch new range of urethane sleeves for Knife Gate Valve range

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

29 April 2013

Dual Products International produces valves for the mining, sands, steel, power, chemical and paper industries worldwide and exports valves to more than 50 countries. UMP is one of the most established polyurethane moulding companies in South Africa and is recognised as one of the largest urethane pipelining companies, with over 200 km of urethane lined pipe being supplied since 1980.

UMP director Trevor Carolin points out that the two companies have invested R1,5-million in developing the unique valves lined with polyurethane sleeves, which were officially launched in South Africa in April 2013. “These innovative products are a breakthrough in valve technology and are exclusively available through Dual Valves – making it the only company in the world to supply urethane sleeves for the dual slurry knife gate valve (flanges) DSKG. The sleeves have been tested up to a pressure of 40bar and will be used in the Dual High pressure Knife Gate Valve (DHPKG.”

Dual Products International director Stephen van Rensburg highlights the fact that the products have been tested at Matla power station in Mpumalanga, and on slurries in different mining applications, including gold and uranium, with positive results.

“Initial urethane vs rubber stroke tests were done in Finland using water to test the effectiveness and durability of the product over other materials. The results showed that the knife gate valve with a urethane sleeve could handle 75 000 strokes, compared to just 5 000 on a rubber sleeve. This is one of the main reasons why urethane was selected for the valves,” he explains.

Technical specifications:

Dual slurry knife gate valve
The valve is built with a cast SG Iron GR. 42 or fabricated body and features a heavy-duty stainless steel blade. Removable sleeves on either side of the blade provide a bi-directional bubble tight seal, with no metal parts in contact with the slurry (flanged).

Wafer slurry knife gate valve
The valve is built with a steel body and features a heavy-duty stainless steel blade. Removable sleeves on either side of the blade provide a bi-directional bubble tight seal, with no metal parts in contact with the slurry. When open, the knife-gate is fully withdrawn from the slurry flow (wafer).

Dual urethane lined slurry knife gate valve
The valve is built with a cast iron body and features a heavy-duty stainless steel blade. The one piece urethane liner is moulded throughout the body and chest area. A cut away in the urethane liner downstream side helps to clean out the seating area. The valve also features a high chrome/ urethane deflector cone that protects urethane seat from the main stream slurry flow.

According tovan Rensburg, the use of urethane in these products has opened up the potential for substantial growth not only in the South African market, but also in Africa and as far afield as North America. “The wear life of the valve and sleeves are one of the biggest selling points. What’s more, improved durability results in savings on maintenance, labour and replacements – factors that are becoming increasingly important in industries across the globe,” he concludes.

About UMP
UMP is today recognised as one of the most established polyurethane moulding and engineering companies in South Africa and remains as one of the largest urethane pipelining companies, with over 200km of urethane lined pipe being supplied since 1980. UMP manufactures and serves the local and global markets, including; base metals, gold, coal, diamonds, platinum and power generation.


Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Urethane Moulded Products has further expanded its engineering division, installing machinery worth some R2-million to increase capacity, extend capability and provide competitive advantage.

The latest expansion, completed in March, focused on the division’s fabrication arm and followed last year’s upgrade of the turning and machine shop.

General engineering and fabrication capabilities now include bending, guillotining, plate rolling and profile-section rolling.  They complement the milling, drilling, turning, boring and slotting capabilities of the machine shop.

UMP managing director Trevor Carolin explained that it was the division’s versatility that delivered its competitive advantage.

“The slotting capability by itself is quite rare, and we expect slotting alone to generate a lot of interest in the market,” he said.

“But our fabrication and precision engineering facilities as an entity can now make anything from structural steelwork through to complex hydrocyclone components and complete machines.”

As examples of the division’s work, Carolin pointed to shafts, tanks, launders, chutes and fabricated chute components, steel inserts for the rubber and polyurethane moulding industries, and the modification of bell housings and flywheels for large engineering companies.

“We recently executed a contract for generator sets from design right through to delivery of the completed products, so it is fair to say that our capability encompasses both technical and intricate work,” Carolin said.

In addition to the installation of engineering machinery, UMP has also recently invested in 3D modelling software to enable full design and finite element analysis.

“This gives us a comprehensive problem-solving ability, so that we have the resources and infrastructure to resolve any specific customer problem, design the product needed for the solution, and then manufacture it.

“I believe we are well positioned to expand our share of the fabrication and general engineering market,” Carolin concluded.


Thursday, February 9th, 2012

A local polyurethanes company is lowering the cost of operating slurry pipelines by lining them with Redline, a proprietary formulation that exhibits an abrasion resistance up to ten times higher than HDPE, and six times higher than rubber.

Cost savings are achieved through the extension of useful pipeline life, resulting in a return on investment within five years, and an actual lining life of ten years or more.

Although the use of abrasion resistant linings is common in mines worldwide, Redline’s manufacturer, Urethane Moulded Products (UMP), claims its own product to be unique because of its engineered properties.

Redline is characterised by an excellent chemical resistance, and by a monolithic composition that delivers a low coefficient of friction even after wear sets in.  This reduces energy consumption and pumping costs, and contributes to a lowest possible cost per ton of mined ore.

Hydrolytically stable and exhibiting excellent cut and tear resistance, Redline will not shatter or crack, and is unaffected by water hammer and temperature changes.

The product is suitable for process plant mill and flotation reticulation, tailings disposal lines, pipe and box launders, sand or gravel washing plants, cyclone underflow pipes, wet ash disposal lines at power stations, and for various applications in pulp, paper and sugar mills.

Redline has been applied to more than 200 kilometres of southern African pipes since the product was developed in the late 1980s, including some 2300 pipe lengths making up the 7 kilometres of backfill tailings pipes at Zambia’s Konkola Deep mine.


Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Urethane Moulded Products has acquired specialised company All Round Engineering, upgraded the business and expanded its product offering.

Rebranded as UMP Precision Engineering, the company will now supply component parts to UMP’s complex mouldings division in addition to targeting new business in the engineered components and general fabrication markets.

Announcing the rebranded subsidiary, managing director Trevor Carolin said that its fabrication capability would complement UMP’s traditional emphasis on polyurethane products.

“We have expanded fabrication machinery to include plate rollers, bending presses, ring rollers and plasma cutters,” said Carolin.

“On the engineering side, we have the capability to target a mix of small, medium and large enterprises looking for precision engineered components such as flywheels, shafts, stub axles and bearing housings.

“The upgrade and focus on cross-selling between the two customer bases has doubled subsidiary turnover in three months,” he said.

Carolin explained that there is a good fit between the subsidiary and its parent company, UMP, where the scope of polyurethane supply has been steadily broadened to include rubber-lined, ceramic and fibreglass products, as well as urethane-steel composites.

“A complex moulding two years ago would have entailed the customer supplying steel inserts for the polyurethane,” Carolin continued, “whereas today these inserts are fabricated, machined and drilled at UMP Precision Engineering, then cast with a specific urethane at UMP before being rubber lined, bolted, assembled and crated ready for delivery to site.

“We have become a one-stop source of supply for everything from moulded pipe sections to complex mouldings and wear linings in rubber and ceramics, as well as urethane compounds.

“I estimate that up to 40 percent of UMP’s turnover will come from non-urethane products by the end of this year, excluding turnover from UMP Precision Engineering,” Carolin concluded.


Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Urethane Moulded Products has commissioned a second Baulé polyurethane mixing and dispensing machine, increasing factory capacity and the company’s specialised capability in large and complex casts.

The new machine, one of the most sophisticated yet installed in South Africa, will be applied to the development of new products specific to wear applications in mining and general industry, and parts for process equipment.

It has an output capacity of between 5 and 42 kg/min.

Cast polyurethanes are high performance polymers characterised by elasticity combined with exceptional toughness, tear resistance and abrasion resistance.  A vast number of formulations can be drawn upon for any specific application, provided that the correct machine is available for mixing and dispensing.

UMP sales manager, Santosh Gunpath, explained that the Baulé would facilitate large component or sheet casts of polyurethanes having a quick gel (setting) time, which mix-and-pour hand-casting techniques are unable to process.

“The aesthetic quality of polyurethane castings resulting from the Baulé is also vastly superior, while maintaining the necessary fit-for-purpose qualities,” Gunpath said.  “This is important for UMP’s commitment to overall product quality.”

UMP managing director Trevor Carolin explained that the machine could accurately mix formulations with a curative component of just 2½ percent.

“This places our capability in a different league from polyurethane companies who rely on hand mixing, because it is not possible to accurately measure and mix, for example, just 25 grams of curative in a one-kilogram cast,” Carolin said.

The Baulé also dispenses a homogenous mix that is completely airless, with successive moulds of exactly the same quality as the first one.

“This applies even when using formulations with short gel times,” Carolin added.

UMP sales manager Santosh Gunpath appealed to the market to approach UMP with any applications for which hand-mixed polyurethanes had proved ineffective.

“The new Baulé is particularly suited to very large mouldings such as those involved with mine flotation equipment,” Gunpath said.

“Even if we don’t yet have a product that matches the problem, tell us what the problem is so that we can develop a formulation that does,” he concluded.


Friday, December 10th, 2010

Urethane Moulded Products (UMP) has successfully modified a complex polyurethane compound for scrubbing plant rollers installed at Letseng Diamond Mine, allowing the scrubber to operate at design throughput without excessive roller exchange.

The rollers support the scrubber responsible for run-of-mine ore preparation.

Extremely short roller life after plant commissioning in 2008 led management to approach UMP directly with a request to address the problem by developing a formulation that could increase roller life and prevent sudden failures.

To meet the requirement, UMP made use of technology perfected during development of its non-pneumatic tyre range.

This technology, which brings an increased load-bearing capability to the end product, involves a family of compounds characterised by short gelling times, and therefore involves a rapid pour into the mould.

For the Letseng rollers, these pours were facilitated by a dispensing machine installed at UMP late last year to deliver an air-free polyurethane mix for quick-gelling castings of up to 900kg.

The six new rollers, each designed to carry a load of 26 tons while rotating at 72 revolutions per minute, were delivered and installed at the diamond mine in July.

After running trials of three months, mine management reported that they were performing above expectation, and thanked UMP for taking ownership of the problem and developing a long-term solution in a relatively short space of time.

Letseng is the fifth diamond mine to which UMP has supplied rollers incorporating a polyurethane formulation tailored specifically to the requirements of the scrubbing plant.

UMP also supplied the rollers for Letseng’s first scrubber, in 2003.