Singapore: A leading manufacturer of marine fenders has warned the industry of the risks of buying cheap products.
“Many fender traders are undercutting the genuine manufacturers by using poor quality rubber and fillers, whilst representing their products as meeting the same design criteria and standards as those with a higher percentage of natural rubber,” said Richard Hepworth, business unit president at Trelleborg Marine Systems.
Singapore-based Hepworth said Trelleborg had conducted a lot of research into the long term effects of the use of recycled rubber and cheap fillers used in fender rubber compounds.
“Essentially, if rubber is very cheap,” Hepworth explained, “it tends to be recycled and use cheap fillers.”
The life expectancy is drastically reduced for these fenders, Hepworth said.
“Whilst this may be accepted in some low cost markets as normal practice,” the Trelleborg boss said, “we are seeing these fenders being accepted into many other markets with clients not understanding or not being made aware of the longer term maintenance issues they will face.”
It has already been a busy start of the year for Trelleborg with the acquisition of Sea Systems Technology (SeaTechnik), a company which designs and manufactures systems for safeguarding the transfer of liquefied natural gas between LNG carriers and shore terminals.
In addition to developing, manufacturing and supporting systems for the safe handling of LNG, SeaTechnik has a growing share of products and solutions that monitor and can actively manage the operating performance of ships, the aim of which is to significantly reduce both emissions and fuel costs.
“The LNG sector represents a critical growth area for us – and we’re committed to growing our business in this market. The acquisition of SeaTechnik really bolsters and expands on our berthing, docking and mooring offering for LNG clients,” Hepworth said. [11/02/13]