Wayne Plastics field testing Africa's first PU gumboots
Johannesburg (SA) – Wayne Plastics will be conducting field testing of the first batch of PU gumboots made on its newly acquired Desma machine, and expects full production to start mid-year.
The 10-station Desma machine will be capable of producing about 200 000 pairs/year and is 1 of a handful of PU gumboot machines operating internationally.
“This project demonstrates Wayne’s commitment to technological advances,” said marketing manager Mike Lithgow. “It’s actually not Wayne’s first foray into PU. 5 years ago it imported a small consignment to test the market, and conducted trials at a few selected mines.
“At that stage, PU gumboots cost 3 times as much as their PVC equivalents. New technology has brought that down quite substantially, and that makes the price-to-durability equation a lot more interesting.”
Under most circumstances, PU is expected to last “at least” 3 times longer than PVC, “and the initial trials indicated a life closer to 4 times longer”, he said.
Nonetheless, Wayne still expects most of its business to come from exports initially, while gaining local acceptance. PU offers the best insulation against heat and cold, and can be lined in accordance with the specific application.
“It’s a simple equation: although PU gumboots are approximately twice the price of heavy duty PVC gumboots, they’re at least 3-4 times more durable, and far more comfortable. Once local users and buyers have experienced the improved comfort and durability, they will stick with the new product.”
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