EL company secures global green light

Clayton Heyns feels that because of their ease of erection the tanks are ideally suited for any disaster areas where fresh water supply is essential.
EASY LOAD: Clayton Heyns feels that because of their ease of erection the tanks are ideally suited for any disaster areas where fresh water supply is essential.

East London company Tarps&Canvas (T&C) was recently awarded an all-clear certificate by Australia’s National Association of Testing Authority (Nata) for its PortaTank, a collapsible water device.

The certificate certifies that the product met all the manufacturer’s promises, especially that it kept water pure.

“A highly-prized and respected Nata certificate has opened up the world for our South African designed and patented product,” said T&C owner Clayton Heyns.

“International demand has surprised us, although we are taking longer than expected to get going in South Africa. However, internationally we already have distributor agreements with companies in Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Seychelles and Canada, and we are working on several other international markets, especially the Middle East.”

Heyns’ tank is similar to most water tanks, with one significant difference. It is collapsible, folding away into a lightweight (54kg) ‘flat pack’ design, and the wire support frame rolls up to a compact tube.

Clayton Heyns with a 4 800l PortaTank
Clayton Heyns with a 4 800l PortaTank

“It is ideal for all water storage, because it is rugged and durable, and quick and easy to assemble. However, it comes into its own in emergency situations, such as natural disasters. It can be air-dropped into any terrain.”

Heyns, originally from Pretoria, has been in the tarpaulin and canvas coverings business since 1998, when he bought T&C.

“About 18 months ago I thought of using PVC, which is effectively waterproof flexible plastic, to store water. But, it had to be collapsible, because there are several rigid tanks. Part of the motivation was assisting farmers and rural people coping the devastating droughts,” said Heyns.

Within nine months he had designs for collapsible tanks with capacities from 2,650 to 10,000 litres. “Our advantage over rigid tanks, aside from quick assemble and disassembly, is storage, transport, distribution and storage.”

Delivery costs for high volume products, such as rigid tanks, add to the price, an element which flat-packs eliminate. “This product is the perfect solution to provide clean drinkable water to people in those parts of the world where road infrastructure is poor, because it fits in a 4x4.

“One of the concerns with water storage in a PVC [plastic] bladder is that the water may become contaminated. We realised we had to put customers at ease regarding water quality, which is where Nata came in. It guarantees that our stored water remains fresh.

“Once erected the bladder is completely sealed, preventing any leaves or sediment destroying the water quality.

“While PortaTank is an exciting development we have remained focused on our existing business.

“We custom-make anything from a tension curtain or boat covers to roll-up blinds or chicken house curtains.”

He said the PVC business is ever-changing to accommodate the demand for new uses of PVC and canvas.

“This is what inspired me to design the Secureshock, a product that prevents the ever-increasing problem of cargo theft.

“We recently donated 20 tanks to the international Adventist Development and Relief Agency for use in Zimbabwe and Mozambique during the massive floods,” said Heyns.