Luxfer Group is speeding up its entry into a growing composite fuel tank market through an acquisition.
Luxfer has acquired Vexxel Composites LLC, a Brigham City, Utah, producer of Type 4 cylinders used for compressed natural gas storage in vehicles. Such cylinders are carbon- or glass-fiber wrapped cylinders with a gas-tight polymer inner liner. Type 4 cylinders are lighter in weight but more expensive than metal and composite-reinforced metal cylinders.
Vexxel specializes in type 4 cylinders to hold CNG gas in vehicles shifting from conventional fuels to CNG.
“This acquisition provides our gas cylinder business with a facility purpose-built for the manufacture of Type 4 composite cylinder products, which will be targeted primarily at the class 8 heavy-duty truck market, where a high rate of conversion from diesel to CNG is widely anticipated,” stated Luxfer Group CEO Brian Purves in a March 24 news release.
Vexxel’s Brigham City plant will add capacity to produce about 4,000 Type 4 cylinders a year, said Andy Butcher, president of Luxfer Gas Cylinders North America of Riverside, Calif. Luxfer has been in the final stages of developing a new range of Type 4 cylinders to complement its line of Type 3 aluminum-lined composite cylinders.
The purchase means Luxfer is “now well positioned to launch our premium Type 4 design, which will be the lightest in weight and also extremely tough and durable,” explained Butcher in a news release.
Vexxel President Wayne Clark said the Vexxel business will gain from Luxfer’s cylinder expertise, sales and distribution network, equipment investment and working capital. The acquired business will operate as Luxfer Utah.
Vexxel was formed in 2012 as a sister company to HyPerComp Engineering Inc., a Brigham City producer of composite and high-pressure vessels and structural components. Vexxel was charged with making CNG pressure vessels for commercial and military vehicles.
Luxfer Group is headquartered in Salford, England. Luxfer Gas Cylinders claims to be the world’s largest producer of composite and aluminum cylinders for high-pressure gas storage. It has plants in the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany and China. Other Luxfor Group companies make engineered metal alloys and components.