Current trends in the pipes, pumps & valves market by Dr Jean-Patrick Leger from Vesconite Bearings As times of uncertainty prevail amidst a global health pandemic, the CEO of Vesconite Bearings shares his opinions on trends in the pipes, pumps and valves market Tell us a little about yourself and your professional background My father started Vesco in 1958, the year I was born. I grew up hearing stories about bushes - as a child I thought my parents were discussing small trees! As a teenager wanting to earn money to build a canoe, I helped test the wear performance of various formulations for the early Vesconite grades. Today this polymer bearing material is used globally by many OEM pump manufacturers. My own background includes chemical engineering, so I have continued the tradition of developing low friction polymers and investigating new applications in which they can be used. Interestingly, my first job (and masters in chemical engineering) was at South Africaâ€™s then National Institute for Water Research, which aimed to inform water decision making through science and technology, so South Africaâ€™s water industry has always been close to my heart. The water sector, and the pumps industry, is a vital and growing part of the Vesconite polymer business. We supply line-shaft bearings, bowl bearings, wear rings, as well as many new applications currently under development. How has your business been impacted by the current crisis and how are you navigating it to remain competitive in the market? Extremely challenging! Yet I have always believed, from our greatest challenges, come our greatest opportunities.
Dr Jean-Patrick Leger from Vesconite Bearings With all our sales and support staff working from home to reduce infection risks, we have had to think creatively about how to work and communicate with clients. A big part of this is persuading clients to engage face-to-face with video. Where clients are open to video we have done remote presentations. The result is that we have been able to share the latest technical developments exceptionally quickly, something which would have taken a long time previously. What are the biggest challenges facing the pipes, pumps and valves sector today? We have seen sales to our South African market shrink dramatically - in the last three months sales were down by 58%. With such a downturn, for many companies this is life threatening and will cause disruptions: many suppliers may not survive, having a domino effect. Many companies face supply-chain havoc as components are manufactured in countries badly impacted by Covid, and there are also the disruptions in air and sea freight. Importers and exporters continue to try and adjust logistics strategies to the different timelines for pandemic recovery in different countries. For companies that were not prepared for the crisis, their businesses slowed down as they tried to adapt to a new work style, including working from home where possible
Pipes, Pumps and Valves Africa - May/Jun 2020
Pipes, Pumps and Valves Africa May/Jun 2020