PHOTO: Production of the new Watertainer Tuff Tanks on the 2800-ton Haitian machine is underway at the Braymould Plastics site in Cato Ridge, KZN
THE barrier-breaking ‘Tuff Tank’ water storage system development by Watertainer – one of the biggest ventures in the injection moulding sector in Africa in some time – is taking shape in KZN in a project that has the potential to revolutionise domestic rain water harvesting.
The first of three massive injection moulding machines is already operational at the Watertainer site in Cato Ridge.
A unique water storage system, Watertainer’s 1500-litre barrel-shaped Tuff Tank offers some real advantages in the urban environment where, in South Africa particularly and quite probably in many countries around the world, there is an increasing need to store water at home to counteract water supply interruptions.
Watertainer is the brainchild of David Bray and Trevor Britland who have coupled the multi-million capex project together, including the setting up of the totally new Braymould Plastics factory at Cato Ridge, just off the N3 between Durban and Maritzburg, and the purchase of the machines and moulds along with other ancillaries. The 2800-ton Haitian machine is one of the biggest machines installed in the country in recent times, although not the biggest.
The Tuff Tank is designed for rainwater ‘harvesting’ by positioning alongside urban dwellings or any roof structure where gutter or drainage systems can be fed into the tank, or tanks for that matter – as the tank is small enough to be relatively easily accommodated (each tank being slightly over 1,5m³) alongside dwellings.
“We were looking at what we could do that is different,” said Britland, and hence the change to injection moulding these tanks. “We saw this shift in manufacturing technology as the opportunity to offer a better solution for manufacturing water harvesting tanks.”
The new company, Watertainer SA, was established in 2016.
Advantages of the Tuff Tank include the fact that the individual compartments of the tanks can be nested inside each other and then nested tanks can be stacked on top of each other, a major advantage for transport to market as just a third of the space is required to move the three parts to supply outlets.
This is also a plus for the purchasing consumer as the nested Tuff Tank easily fits on to small bakkies and SUVs. The individual parts can be carried through larger doorways, and even up and down stair wells.
Weighing in at just 32kg in total, the pre-assembled Tuff Tank can be moved with relative ease.
The containers are injection moulded, which means significantly faster production times than those offered by either blow or rotational moulding. Just one size is currently being produced, the 1500-litre container.
The product is extremely strong offering consistent 4mm wall thickness through all sections, said Britland.
The tanks are manufactured from a polypropylene co-polymer, which offers high impact resistance – and the material is also locally manufactured.
Just two standard colours are currently available, Light Grey and Sand.
“We’ve been convinced from feedback that there will be substantial demand for the Tuff Tank,” said Britland, adding that the Watertainer team was very sensitive to pricing and aware that the product would only develop demand if the selling price received market acceptance.
Britland and Bray previously owned and developed the Perma Products brand of household DIY items. This very successful brand was recently sold to Permoseal.
‘Jupiter’ series machine
The large 2800-ton Jupiter II series machine from Haitian, supplied by Cabletech Marketing, is a two-platen space saving, full-servo system which includes a number of energy-saving features.
“The Jupiter machine is well suited to large dimension moulding,” said Pierre Jurgens of Cabletech, which also supplied the ‘Hilectro’ full servo robot, also manufactured by Haitian, as well as the moulds. Cabletech supplied the entire production cell, including the chiller as part of the brief from the customer for a full turnkey solution.
Haitian manufactures the toggle series machines under the Mars banner which ranges from 60 to 3300 tons; the all-electric series under the Venus and Zeres banners for clamping force from 40-650 tons as well as the Jupiter series for two-platen performance from 450-6600 tons clamping force to name just the basics.
Haitian further manufactures its own robot systems, drive systems and control systems in multiple factories measuring 1,200,000m² in total and still growing. It is little wonder then that Haitian is the leader in the manufacture of injection moulding machines worldwide.