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04/13/2011

ABS Approval Opens Markets for Distributors, Manufacturers

Making headway in the marine and offshore market was just made easier for qualified hose companies.

Hose Master, a metal hose manufacturer, now produces American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Type Approved Product metal hose assemblies for its major product lines. ABS sets standards for marine and offshore product classification. "It's certainly a significant accomplishment," said Ryan Kahl, marketing manager for the Ohio-based Hose Master. "I don't know that anybody has taken the steps to become ABS product-type approved, certainly not across the breadth of product that we have."

The company worked with auditors for about one year before ABS Standards Certification was given to its four hose series, he said, including on all sizes and assemblies of Annuflex, Masterflex, PressureMax HP and ChemKing. "They're very strict and stringent audits," Kahl said about ABS.

ABS's Type Approval Product program differs from Product Design Assessment, which involves an engineer's evaluation of a design to determine if it meets specification. The PDA is required before a manufacturer may receive a Type Approval Product. If a surveyor determines that a manufacturer can produce to specification consistently, then they are awarded a Manufacturing Assessment Certificate, according to ABS.

The time requirements are lengthy to receive a Type Approval Product, and its cost could put it out of reach for some companies, but at a minimum a PDA can give manufacturers a shorter turnaround time for approval on a specific ship. The bonus is that a PDA is used as a product's "pre-approval for use on a variety of ABS class ships," according to the classification organization.

Any manufacturer may apply for a Type Approved Product, but it is more beneficial when there is a requirement for Unit Certification, which requires an ABS surveyor to attend material testing and other tests during the product making. Becoming a Type Approved Product expedites the Unit Certification process, ABS said.

"We think (this approval) will have a positive effect," Kahl said. The benefits to approval include protecting capital investments, meeting underwriting and statutory requirements, and requiring proper maintenance that keeps the product up-to-class, Kahl said.

"We have a wide-open product approval that allows us to make (ABS-approved) with any length, any diameter and any use," he said.

Dutch composite hose manufacturer Gutteling BV and Couplamatic Systems, Inc., Scottsbluff, NE, also both recently announced they have received ABS approval. Sander Verweij, vice managing director of Gutteling BV, said receiving ABS approval opens many doors for the composite hose manufacturer.

"It opens projects where ABS approvals are necessary," Verweij said. "As composite hoses are a critical element, customers would need to have the extra 'assurance' that the equipment will be produced and tested according international references."

He adds that many new build vessels in China and Korea will need critical ABS-approved equipment, which gives the company the edge over others whose equipment will not be accepted on-board. Gutteling recently opened a new warehouse and sales office in Houston and specializes in providing highly qualified composite hoses with short delivery terms, according to the company. The company already meets International standards with IMO, IBC and IGC code, US Coastguard Rules, and Lloyd's.

These manufacturers also said that ABS approval provides their distributors an advantage when dealing with potential customers. "It gives the final customer a good reference line when looking to quality issues," Verweij wrote.

Kahl added: "For our distributors, it allows them to offer ABS products that they might not be able to offer on their own. The costs involved for getting an ABS approval are significant enough. They can rely on us to provide a product to sell into a market they might otherwise be blocked from."

After about four months of prototype testing and a quality audit at the factory, Gutteling received approval for the following composite hose equipment: Multi-Oil Blue, Multi-Chem Red, Multi-Chem Green, Multi-Chem Black, Multi-Vapor Yellow, Multi-LPG White and Multi-LNG White.

Couplamatic Systems announced its most popular hose series received ABS approval, according to a news release. The company has also expanded its Super Abrasion Resistant line, in addition to the ABS approval, to include DURA-HYD EX 100R12 and 100R13.

Learn more about ABS certification at www.eagle.org.


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