Loadshedding affects all South Africans on a daily basis, and all industries are affected in some way. However, its repercussions go much deeper than simply being without power. Loadshedding is resulting in problems in the South African poultry industry, with a large number of chicks at risk due to temperature fluctuations. As a testament to constant innovation and support of the agricultural sector, local manufacturer Pratley, and member of the Green Building Council of South Africa, has found a novel application for its Pratliperl® mineral product.
Pratliperl®, when mixed with cement, produces an energy saving, ultra-lightweight, thermally insulating and fireproof concrete “The results at poultry farms have been amazing. Applied as a 16 mm plaster layer onto the walls, it has been shown to effectively regulate the temperature in both warm and cold periods,” says Rudi Coetzee, Minerals Sales Manager at Pratley.
“There have been instances where farmers have lost thousands of chicks a day due to loadshedding,” highlights Coetzee. “In terms of costs, poultry farms need to be as stable as possible. Loadshedding and fluctuating fuel prices are cause for concern.”
Stepping up to the plate to assist the agricultural industry, Coetzee has been visiting poultry farmers to explain the benefits of insulating buildings with Pratliperl®, which can also be applied as a floor screed. Simply insulating the floor and walls allows a poultry house to effectively self-regulate its temperature during loadshedding. “You do not want a sudden drop or increase in temperature that cannot be controlled, as it obviously has a big impact on the chicks,” says Coetzee.
Pratley has supplied Pratliperl® aggregate to a significant number of poultry farms so far, with more on the horizon. The company also assists farmers by providing a technical advisory service to educate building teams on-site as to the correct ratio of Pratliperl® to cement to use for maximum effectiveness.
“We as a company are celebrating our 75th anniversary this year. We have acquired a lot of experience on the use of our products for various applications over the years. This is just one example of how versatile the product is in assisting our customers, especially in an environment where energy and cost saving is of concern.” says Coetzee.
Pratliperl® is ideal for a range of applications, including thermally insulating plasters and screeds. It is best described as a modern solution for energy-efficient building. Derived from a volcanic glass called Perlite, the raw material is expanded in special proprietary furnaces to create millions of small, well-sealed Pratliperl® beads.
Each bead has a small vacuum inside, giving the product its unique thermal insulation properties. When mixed with cement, Pratliperl® is also ideal for producing ultra-lightweight panels, boards, bricks, and blocks that can be cut, nailed, and drilled.