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Retirement of Jan Kruger

With knowledge and expertise in the glass fibre reinforced (GRP) piping sector that is unmatched, Jan Kruger is a well-known figure in this industry. He retired from Fiberpipe at the end of March and is now putting his expertise back into the sector through a training company that he has established known as GRP Pipe Support (Pty) Ltd. Jan has been involved in the industry since the inception of GRP pipes in South Africa.

His all-round understanding of the product from a technical perspective, has given him knowledge that is unsurpassable by anyone in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of the first positions he held after completing his studies was at Denel, which Jan says was very good technical experience. In his position of project manager he was involved in the manufacturing of a motor for a satellite, which was made of composite, which is where his interest in composites started.

Jan was part of the team that established the very first GRP pipe manufacturing company in South Africa in 1992. The pipes were manufactured and sold in South Africa, under a licence agreement with Sarplast, an Italian company. The South African pipe product was branded Vectus, a Latin term meaning “carried”. In terms of selling GRP pipes, Jan says “the fulfilment is in knowing that you have a good product, and I always knew the potential of GRP, right from the very start. I have had the opportunity to work through the entire process involving the technical, sales and marketing facets which has given me an excellent understanding of the product from all angles”. On discussing the challenges facing the water sector, Jan says that firstly there is a huge backlog in piping infrastructure in the country that needs to be undertaken. Then there is the issues relating to ageing infrastructure because most of the pipes in South African were put in during the 1970s and 1980s and at that stage they used pre-stressed concrete as the material. These are now in urgent need of replacement. The expertise involved in the design and installation of the pipelines is also a very important aspect. Fiberpipe is now trying to improve supervision on-site by offering the services of their field engineers and representatives.

With the know-how that Jan has gathered during his career, he says he would like to try to give this back to the industry. There is a requirement and need for more knowledge and information. “I will be focusing on training, not only of engineers but also technically orientated people and managers in the municipalities and water boards, to provide a full understanding of GRP as an industry”. The course Jan has written is an IMESA accredited CPD course which will be offered throughout South Africa. Jan says: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that I have worked with for their contribution and role in my career. Everything in the work environment is achievable through a team, this is more important than anything else. I have throughout my career had a professional team of people to work with”.

Fiberpipe takes the opportunity to wish Jan all the best for his future venture. Jan can be contacted by eMail jan.kruger@grppipe.co.za or Cell No: 082 881 2597.

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