Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
Providers of corrugated stainless steel piping,
Easyflex SA, are certainly proof of that. With an inventive product and progressive plans for the future, Easyflex SA has hit the market in a big way.
Behind the Pipe
When the brain behind Easyflex South Africa, Dirk Vorster, at the time of solar geyser importers Solar Fusion and now one of Easyflex SA’s directors, brought in a solar geyser that came with a pipe he had never before seen, he immediately recognised its potential for use in the South African market. Vorster says: “As the world changes so do the products we use every day, and part of becoming a market leader is keeping up with this change before it even happens.” The pipe Vorster saw on that solar geyser fit the bill perfectly, and he started the process to bring this product into the country immediately.
What makes it so special? It’s corrugated stainless steel, so it’s flexible. “The corrugated stainless steel pipe was developed in the1980s for use in countries that experience earthquakes often. Because of the flexibility, it won’t crack like solid copper or galvanised pipes,” says Stef de Jongh, Easyflex SA’s
Sales Director. “Furthermore, it is very light – a 30m roll only weighs 3kg. This means you can transport and carry it to site by hand with no problems or hassle. It is also easy to transport. Another plus point is that it doesn’t have resale value compared to copper, meaning it’s less likely to be the target of thieves.”
“The stock we have available at this stage is stainless steel 304. On request we can import 304L, 316, 316L, and the supplier in South Korea prides themselves on providing the highest quality CSST piping available. These higher grades are more suited to industrial use, particularly where a higher working temperature and/or pressure is required. No matter the grade, each pipe is pressure tested three times before it is packed and shipped to us, and to date we have not yet received a single comeback. The pipe carries a 50 year guarantee.”
Probably the biggest draw card is that Easyflex SA’s product is fast and easy to install, adds De Jongh, saving you time, and ultimately, money. You simply cut it to size with a pipe cutter and then use normal Conex fittings with the patented Easyflex insert, and tighten. There’s no need for soldering or elbow fittings – you simply bend it by hand. There is no measuring, cutting, measuring again, recutting and accounting for rigid angles or using unwieldy tools in narrow spaces. It also allows you to forgo on mid line connections and bulky fittings, meaning you can install an entire water system using just one connection at each end. This cuts down on the time it takes to install general plumbing, water distribution systems, water heating systems, heat exchangers and fan coil units, and more in renovation, construction of new buildings and apartments and even when converting heating systems from central to individual. “It is ideal for the DIY guy. All you need is a pipe cutter and a shifting spanner; no special tools or talent. When it comes to connecting these pipes to other materials, the patented insert is made from PTFE and the O-ring is silicon. They form a perfect seal that separates the different materials from each other and is described in the new South African National Standards document.”
What’s more, Easyflex SA’s corrugated pipes can handle temperatures from -40°C up to 500°C and tested to 40 bar and with PTFE fittings will handle up to 250°C. The non-corrosive material means that no scales are formed in the pipe so there is also excellent heat efficiency. All of this adds up to a high quality stainless steel piping that keeps Easyflex SA’s customers more than happy. “One of our first clients has been Suntank Solar Geysers in Pretoria and they will recommend it to anyone,” says De Jongh.
Big Plans, great future
It took Vorster the best part of a year to track down the manufacturers of Easyflex piping in Korea and to then secure the sole import rights for this pipe, but once he did it was all systems go. “Our first container of corrugated stainless steel tubing products arrived in February 2013, and Dirk [Vorster] and I immediately started to test the market by walking from business to business
“About a year ago, I met with De Jongh and Vorster to look into investing in their new corrugated steel pipe venture,” adds Pieter Greyling, now Managing Director of Easyflex SA. “Because of the footprint RO Water Systems had established in the South African market during its ten years of business, we wanted look into the possibility of managing the wholesale and retail side of things for De Jongh and Vorster. However, after various dealings between all the role-players, which included me, De Jongh, Vorster, Francois Roets, Christa Greyling and Rene Vorster, we decided to start a whole new company – and that is how Easyflex SA was born. With the importing of CSST contracts in place, the whole team have been quite involved in the import, distribution and management of Easyflex SA. The management team has also established distribution centres across most of South Africa’s provinces and neighbouring countries by appointing reputable wholesale agents, with the head office and bulk warehouse both based in Gauteng.”
Easyflex SA is currently finalising an agreement with a Botswana-based company to become a sole distributer in Botswana, and this should be settled within the next two weeks. “To put it simply, we see very few challenges and unlimited opportunities for this product,” says De Jongh.
Easyflex SA believes it is now time to focus on expansion. Still a relatively young company, the company employs seven people and is growing fast. This positive growth is bound to make its mark on the South African industry. As the company’s core values of challenge, creativity and change attest to, Easyflex SA is all about bringing inspiration to the market to get the job done. They’re all about combining the latest in technology, with practical applications to make a difference to their customers.
“We plan to build Easyflex SA into a household brand. We want to move at least 20 000 metres per month for the first half of 2015 and have many more exciting products that we are going to start importing, like gas pipes, pipes for air conditioners and for sprinkler systems. Our aim is to eventually supply to all relevant users and to be the market leader in doing that.”