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ENGINEERING: Industry galvanised by Vitagrid fully serrated grating


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Industrial and mining environments are often harsh on products. Designing and engineering products with this in mind is a key factor in the longevity and reliability of a product. Experience, knowledge and expertise regarding these industries and their specific requirements, are critical in developing hard-wearing and durable products and equipment.

Dodds Pringle, Managing Director of Vital Engineering and Angus McLeod, says that manufacturers should never rest on their laurels when it comes to the manufacturing of high-quality products. “Meeting the fluctuating demands of industry requires ingenuity and constant effort to improve on current offerings. Vital Engineering’s range of Vitagrid fully serrated gratings, stair treads, and Vitex expanded metals patented and trademarked systems have been developed and refined over many years.

“Acceptance in the local and international markets does not happen overnight. Our technical team has expended time and energy to gain recognition for the brands. Our goal is to lead the market by example in the manufacture of safe, high-quality, acceptable gratings and product systems that conform to the ever-changing needs of the market and clients’ safety demands,” says Pringle.

Vital Engineering uses 350WA mill drawn material in the production of its Vitagrid products. “This ensures a sound, economical and definable design base for all our clients’ loading requirements. It also guarantees a high galvanising quality with a lower maintenance cycle than commercial-quality mild steels,” says Pringle.

Pringle points out that all Vitagrid and Maclock products are suited to hot dip galvanising. “An advantage with Vitagrid products is that all the material used is mill dressed, giving a rounded edge on the bearer bars. This allows hot dip galvanised coating to adhere without chipping or corner damage. Slit material that is not properly de-burred or dressed will result in chipping at the sharp edges and have less coating adherence in these areas. This causes transportation and erection damage in addition to earlier corrosion and wear. The net result is high-maintenance cost.  

Vitagrid’s specialised Maclock handrail tubular system design allows full hot dip galvanising both on the inside and outside of the stanchions and their accessories, giving the client peace of mind that no uncoated areas will be exposed to corrosion.

The release of Vital Engineering’s latest version of its interactive product, design and detailing Vitagrid CD makes specifying, using and managing the product range very easy.

There is a specific emphasis in the CD on ensuring that the special coating integrity is maintained during manufacture and after the construction phase has been completed.

“Easy to understand design, interactive visual suggestions, erection recommendations and training areas on the CD ensure that any site rectifications or changes are kept to the absolute minimum,” says Pringle.

Pringle explains that the high level of welding employed to AWS D1.1 standards ensures that porosity is kept to the minimum on fully banded products. “This ensures that critical items, such as stanchions, are welded to provide conformance to safety regulations.”

As an alternative to tubular handrails, Vital Engineering developed the Maclock solid forged stanchions in 1940 in South Africa. These high-quality ball-type stanchion units are a single forged unit and are not welded together at the ball joints. Many of these units are still in existence today in older buildings.

“The copyrighted slotted base plate makes fitment and replacement of any existing type of stanchion holing simple when clients wish to change existing, non-conforming products for either the tubular or solid forged systems,” says Pringle.

“The patented Maclock angle section ball stanchion now allows clients to replace all their current site-fabricated angle stanchions with a new, safer alternative that allows a free hand passage along the handrail. This was not possible with the older systems,” says Pringle.

Pringle points out that the older systems required ‘hot work’ on site for their installation. “This resulted in plants being shut down to make sensitive areas safe. The Maclock angle ball stanchion can now be installed and erected without welding on site and it will maintain its corrosion integrity. This saves end-users considerable production shutdown and maintenance costs, and allows them to maintain a high level of safety in these replacement plant areas.

“Vital Engineering is the only ISO9001 – 2000 design-registered grating, expanded metal and handrail system manufacturer in South Africa. Therefore we are   able to ensure that all our products conform to recognised standards and have been properly designed to meet the requirements of our clients,” Pringle concludes.


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