Fred Crabbia began his career in piping in the early 1980’s working at Oil Chem where he quickly learnt and mastered the complex piping fabrication game. Mr. Crabbia, along with others then opened AGA Pipe Supplies where they grew the company to a respected status and was shortly bought over by Robor.

Mr. Crabbia stayed on at Robor as a General Manager but soon saw a window of opportunity in which to begin his own business. Following a restraint of trade, Mr. Crabbia began Mining Pressure Systems (MPS) in 1991 and customised the business strategy on the back of the lessons he learned in the industry and very quickly found a niche for his company in the mining industry as MPS responded quickly to customer’s supply needs owing to Mr. Crabbia’s forecasting abilities – Mr Crabbia noticed trends and developed a needs-based business model which was founded on personal historical knowledge of the mining industry which he knew needed a policy of proactive inventory stockholding as opposed to reactive.

As MPS grew, so it negotiated its first acquisition of Cat Alloys in 1995 – a provider of stainless steel materials and fabricated goods to compliment MPS’s service offering and diversify its service to the mines. This was shortly followed by a 50% interest in a flange manufacturer which now allowed MPS to control horizontal integration.

In 1997 MPS and AloeCap, a 90% black-owned and managed investment company acquired 40% of MPS and so began a harmonious and mutually-beneficial partnership which continues until present that has effectively formulated and implemented an efficient BEE strategy. 

MPS soon gained a reputation for reliable delivery and quality service and began to supply large quantities of piping along different applications. MPS was soon receiving more orders that called for rubber lining over-and-above their general supply. 

In one particular case, MPS received an order for general piping fabrication as well as rubber lined piping value-added materials. MPS therefore needed to outsource its rubber-lining requirements to a third party. The job continued unhindered within the fabrication of piping conducted by MPS but was delayed many weeks by their contractor.

Mr Crabbia once more learnt a valuable lesson within the industry and decided to develop a rubber-lining practice within the MPS spectrum so that MPS would never again fail to uphold its promised delivery dates which its reputation was hard won. Fred then decided to open Polymer Lining Systems in 1998 so that rubber-lining could be done “in-house” with full control by Mr. Crabbia himself. 

In the same year MPS assessed its market risks and realised that the growth of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) lining was becoming a real threat to the industrial piping industry which MPS had not confronted. A greater interest and a larger number of mining engineers were in the opinion that the HDPE specifications far outperformed the rubber-lining specification. MPS, in its pursuit to always regard its customers evolving needs, developed its own branch of HDPE lining which it continues to research and develop on a large scale to the present day. These resources have been aptly spent as MPS Liners is at the pinnacle of international HDPE lining standards as it has secured HDPE lining contracts in over 15 countries competing with and outperforming First World counterparts – an export South Africa can be proud of. This technology is safeguarded in international patents to further entrench MPS Liners leading position.  

Growing from strength to strength Crabbia then noticed that there was still another need that was not being met by MPS and began costing MPS some valuable projects. This was site erection. MPS realised that with the mining industry becoming more intricate and on a growing scale – customers required a turnkey solution with professionals installing their own professionally crafted piping goods on a timely basis according to customer-specified time schedules. And so was the birth of MPS Projects in 2005. MPS Projects has enjoyed many successes in plant/concentrator piping installation and site erection.

To further cater to the customer’s diversified needs, MPS launched Dinor Finance (a stockist of speciality fittings as well as steel flat-bar specialist) as well as HBC in 2009 who is a large stockist and fabricator of steel grating.

The Mining Pressure Systems Group is now the largest diversified value-adder of piping goods as well as biggest stockist of large-bore piping in the country and is now putting its full focus on international projects to provide quality service and timely delivery - which has become synonymous with Mining Pressure Systems – so that the mines of the World too, may benefit. 

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