16 June 2008

* Amitech Brazil expands its production capacity

Amitech has just completed the expansion of its plant in Ipeúna city, in the interior of São Paulo state. From now on, the company – the largest Brazilian manufacturer of fibreglass reinforced polyester pipes (FRP) – will have the capacity to produce 330 km/year of pipelines with diameters of up to 3,000 mm. “The total investment was US$ 9 million”, comments Flávio Marçal, commercial manager.

Most of the funds were invested in a Flowtite® machine developed by Amiantit, a Saudi company that controls 30% of Amitech – the Colombian group Inversiones Mundial hold the rest. “Flowtite® technology allows us to produce 36 meters/hours of FRP pipes with sections of up to 14 meters long”, explains Benedito Buso, Amitech’s industrial manager.

Up to now, the company used exclusively centrifugation technology, that allowed it to produce an average of 18 meters/hour of pipes of up to 1.200 mm in diameter. “With the new machine we have supplemented our portfolio. Although Flowtite® equipment is outstanding because of its production speed and it ability to produce larger diameters, centrifugation ensures us more flexibility since we have six independent workstations. That is, we are able to produce pipes with different diameters at the same time”, explains Buso, emphasizing that in both processes Amitech’s pipelines comply with the same manufacturing requirements that are included in the NBR 15536 standard.

Before expanding, the company had a production capacity of 120 km/year of FRP pipes, with diameters between 400 mm to 1,200 mm.

Greater water output
By increasing the diameter of its pipes, Amitech has become more assertive in the markets that require large fluid outputs. The main example, says Buso, is the electrical energy production sector, more specifically the Small Hydroelectric Plants business. “As a rule, FRP pipes serve to transport water from reservoirs to the machine room, producing energy. Thus, the bigger the diameter, the greater water output,” explains Amitech’s industrial manager.

The new equipment’s capacity is already full for the next three months due to agreements signed at the end of last year with two Small Hydroelectric Plants. For Marçal, the continuous funding under the Brazilian Economic Acceleration Program (PAC) should help Amitech to quickly occupy the new installed capacity. In addition to the Small Hydroelectric Plants, the company furnishes pipes for basic sanitation and irrigation projects. “We are optimistic about the market prospects for the next two years”, affirms Amitech’s commercial manager, who estimates an increase of 70% in the company’s earnings this year.

The installation of the new equipment enabled Amitech’s production area to open up forty new jobs. The company has a total of 120 employees. “Half of these new jobs were filled by women because of the large amount of automation in the Flowtite® machine”, completes Buso.

About Amitech
Controlled by two international groups – Inversiones Mundial, from Colombia, and Amiantit, from Saudi Arabia – Amitech is the largest Brazilian manufacturer of fibreglass reinforced polyester (FRP) pipes. Established in 1999, the Ipeúna’s plant, in the state of São Paulo, produce kilometres of pipes monthly, which are used by the agricultural, industrial, energy industries and water treatment.

(Amitech Brazil)

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Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.