BASF polyurethane products are used to make high-quality, insulated and structural panels at the M Projects manufacturing and assembly plant in Durban.
At M Projects’ state-of-the-art manufacturing and assembly plant in Durban, the company manufactures high-quality, insulated, structural panels for the assembly of prefabricated modular structures. M Projects is a leading local manufacturer of mobile units and has been operating under the guidance and ownership of Marty Lodetti since 1986.
These structures range from instant work and living spaces to cold rooms, mortuary enclosures, mobile ablution, insulated roofing, chicken hatcheries and any customised designs. Utilising the latest drafting software, the M Projects drawing office creates bespoke designs with optimal functionality.
Using polyurethane materials from BASF, the panels produced at the M Projects plant set the benchmark for the industry. These panels are bug, rodent and fire resistant.
According to M Projects plant manager, Rowan Rutherford-Smith, the BASF polyurethane system, used as a binder in the panel production process, is amazingly strong. “It effectively bonds the wood, and even on thinner panels it doesn’t come apart at all. Thanks to the fast curing and shorter drying time, it also sped up our manufacturing process, enabling us to manufacture 50 panels in an hour, saving us time and money. What’s more, it doesn’t contain any formaldehyde or CFCs,” he states.
While BASF’s polyurethane systems are primarily intended for insulation purposes, the thickness of the foam enables M Projects to achieve about 43% density in packed format, resulting in a structurally sound system. The product is tested twice a day to ensure consistency and guarantee quality.
“This is extremely important since polyurethane is very reactive to temperature and moisture. Without testing to ensure staying within the specification, one will only realise that something is wrong after installation when delamination happens. And with no official regulation of the industry, it is important to ensure that the process is conducted properly.”
Quality in, quality out
For the production of the panels, FSC® certified wood is locally procured form Bracken, near Greytown, while high-quality steel is sourced from Taiwan. BASF is the only chemical supplier.
“I’m a bit of a stickler for consistency and procuring from a reputable company such as BASF, which offers stable, quality and environmentally friendly products, backed by research and development, together with providing sound technical backup and expertise, we know what we’re going to get,” says Rutherford-Smith.
M Projects has its own transport operation to deliver and remove structures across the country and Africa. The company can either deliver completed, volumetric units or provide the panels in kit form which can be assembled on site.
In addition, its Multi-Slice mobile range allows individual units to be added or removed as needed. “You can absolutely do anything with these panels, they are very versatile,” Rutherford-Smith adds.
The units can be put together very quickly and don’t require many hands. From basic to luxury insulated structures are possible with almost any finish available. Thanks to the rigidness and strength of these panels, the roof also requires less structural elements.
M Projects further offer a rental option on a selection of standard units locally. Other services include maintenance and refurbishment, erection and assembly of buildings as well as site preparation and civil works.
Since its panels are long-lasting and durable, M Projects also refurbish and sell second-hand units.
“South Africans are used to brick and mortar buildings, and find it difficult to imagine something different,” states Rutherford-Smith. “I wish people would be more open to using the new technologies that are available today.”
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