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As fibreglass pipe manufacturer Advanced Composites begins an expansion drive across the Middle East, new general manager Raed Al Zubi outlines the firm's plans for the future.

Advanced Composites, INTERVIEWS, MEP

As fibreglass pipe manufacturer Advanced Composites begins an expansion drive across the Middle East, new general manager Raed Al Zubi outlines the firm's plans for the future.

What products and services does Advanced Composites (AC) provide for the region's MEP sector?

Advanced Composites (AC) is a solutions provider for the entire MEP sector. The firm provides solutions in the form of our fibreglass-reinforced plastics (FRP) piping for infrastructures and district cooling systems in particular.

We were among the first manufacturers to provide complete FRP pipe solutions for use in district cooling systems in the region and have since provided products for several major projects.

One of the main benefits of fibreglass reinforced plastics piping systems is that they need no special treatment or coatings [to cope with adverse environmental conditions] as opposed to other forms of pipework.

We also provide a manufacturing, installation and testing service for our pipework.

In which countries within the Middle East does the company operate?

Advanced Composites is located in the Hamriya Free Zone in Sharjah, having established a base here in 2000 as a subsidiary of Emaar Industries & Investments.

As a result of our location many of our projects are based within the UAE, however our success has led to contracts being won further afield and the firm is now in a position to distribute and install fibreglass reinforced pipework solutions all over the world.

We're currently contracted to provide a solution for a major project in Libya, for example. This involves the supply of well casing systems for the Great Manmade River project being undertaken by Al Jaber Energy Services.

When complete, the project will supply water across the country; work on the project began in 1984 and already includes more than 4,000km of pipeline.

This is a prestigious project from our perspective as it was identified and created by Muamer Gaddafi in the early 1980's.

What types of products does the firm produce specifically for the district cooling sector?

We produce FRP piping systems for the sector. Across our client base we've also supplied leading contractors in the UAE such as Darwish, NCTC, Black & Veach and SIXCO with products for use in drainage and sewerage plants.

What are the firm's expansion plans for the region and when will these be carried out?

Our current focus is to build our capacity and strength in the UAE. We are planning new operations in other Emirates and we're also looking to build further on our current facility. From these expanded facilities, we'll be able to service the region sufficiently.

As part of the expansion plans, in addition to my own appointment as general manager, Murali Ranganathan has recently been appointed as business development manager of the firm.

These appointments are aimed at driving the expansion of the company's position within the industry, with a focus on organisational and business development.

They are intended to delineate a clear business strategy to grow a successful model within the framework of the Middle East's construction and development industry.

The firm's solution caters to a continually growing and expanding infrastructure market. The key for our strategy is to provide value added piping solutions that give more longevity and peace of mind to those in the markets that we serve. Also we will continue to focus on process improvement for increased operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The aim is to tap into the vast potential on offer from the exceptional growth of the development and construction industry across the Middle East. Our products already provide numerous projects with efficiency in cooling and sewerage and we want to build on this success and subsequently our market share.

What are the main challenges to the fibreglass pipe industry in this region and how are you tackling these?

The main challenge from Advanced Composites' perspective is the increase in raw materials prices worldwide as well as locally.

Our approach is centred on continued improvement and to develop creative and cost-effective solutions to increase productivity and efficiency. This in turn will offset and counterbalance the issues surrounding raw materials prices.

Do the products need any special treatments or coatings to cope with the region's environmental conditions?

One of main benefits of fibreglass reinforced plastics piping systems is that they need no special treatment or coatings as opposed to other forms of pipework. They are exceptionally chemical resistant and have high mechanical properties that cope more than well with the climatic conditions experienced in the Middle East.

On what projects are the products currently being applied?

Our pipework solutions are being installed in a number of high profile projects including Dubai Festival City district cooling; the Great Manmade River in Libya; Sharjah Ring Road; Jumeirah Village South Phase I Triangle and Circle Areas; Burj Dubai Development; an effluent pumping station and underground reservoir at Al Shahba Area, Sharjah; and International City, Dubai.

The firm has also just won a contract to supply a district cooling pipe network to Stages one and two of Al Misk Development on The Waterfront project.

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