Welding equipment maker Branson Ultrasonics Corp. has expanded into plastic fuel tank equipment by buying KVT Technologies Inc. of Windsor, Ontario.
KVT makes machinery—cutting and hot-plate welding systems— for assembling subsystems of blow molded plastic fuel tanks. When a tank maker—either a supplier or an automake—finishes the fuel tank system, the company uses KVT equipment to add on parts such as filler tubes, connectors and fittings.
Branson, based in Danbury, Conn., makes plastics joining equipment, including vibration, ultrasonic and hot-plate welding systems. The company runs a Branson Automotive unit with operations in Detroit; Dietzenbach, Germany; and Atsugi, Japan.
Branson President Tony Pajk said Branson bought KVT to become a more full-service supplier.
``If we wanted to do any systems integration and automation, we'd have to go to a third party, and that's a problem today.''
Terms were not disclosed for the deal, announced Aug. 19.
KVT owner Wolfgang Weber will remain with the company to lead Branson Automotive's fuel tank division. Pajk said Branson will continue to run KVT's plant in Windsor, under the KVT name.
Nine-year-old KVT has sold more than 40 joining systems to automotive suppliers, including fuel tank blow molders, according to Branson. KVT holds two patents on hot-plate welders for making tank subsystems.
Right now, plastic fuel tanks are made exclusively by blow molding, but companies are researching injection molded fuel tanks. Pajk said the KVT acquisition also helps position Branson Ultrasonics for that future market, when fuel tanks are molded in two halves, then welded together. Branson already has participated in those efforts in Europe, he said.
Pajk said Branson is working on new welding technology for injection molded fuel tanks. He declined to discuss specifics.
Meanwhile Pajk said Branson continues to supply vibration welding machines for welding injection molded automotive intake manifolds. The process competes against lost-core molding.
Branson is a unit of Emerson Electric Co. Inc. of St. Louis.