Composite tank and vessel manufacturer Diamond Fiberglass Inc. has expanded its large, corrosion-resistant pipe production through acquisition.
The Victoria, Texas, company acquired Fibrex Corp., which has focused on pipe production for chemical process, pollution control and water treatment applications. Diamond did not disclose terms of the deal in its March 20 news release.
Diamond has been making short lengths of fiberglass-reinforced pipe to complement its tank and vessel production, but the acquisition vaults the company into producing pipe in 40-foot lengths for shipping throughout North America and overseas.
"We haven't been set up with the tooling to be competitive in pipe," explained Diamond Vice President Paul Cohen in a phone interview. "Fabricating pipe is different from making tanks."
Cohen said his firm will keep the Fibrex factory open with existing management. Fibrex former owner Rick Watkins has retired but would be available to provide occasional advice.
Diamond and Fibrex are major consumers of thermoset polyester resins and glass fiber reinforcements to make products able to withstand large volumes of aggressive chemicals and water.
Diamond is an ASME RTP-1 certified producer of custom fiberglass-reinforced plastic vessels. Victoria is its main manufacturing location, but it also does some fabricating in Houston and manages field service sites. Cohen said Fibrex gives it a footprint for vessel production in the Northwest United States, a region difficult to serve from Texas due to the high cost of shipping large vessels. Unlike pipe, which can be shipped in standard rail, truck and boat formats, large FRP vessels are often cumbersome and require special shipping and handling setups.
"The acquisition fits well with Diamond Fiberglass' existing markets and more importantly our culture of providing solutions oriented, high quality composite fabrications," noted Diamond President Don Porr in a news release.
"The addition of the Fibrex product line, including the IntegraLine and IntegraHeader products will supplement our growing need for FRP piping systems," Porr added. "These products will benefit our customers who seek a single source of supply for the design, fabrication and field installation of FRP/glass reinforced plastic engineered pipe."
Watkins founded Fibrex in 1982. Diamond was established in 1986.
"Fibrex has developed a reputation of quality, reliability and performance in the aggressive chemical, chlor-alkali, power and pulp and paper industries," Watkins stated in a news release.
"I am very pleased that such a respected FRP fabricator has acquired Fibrex's assets and plans to keep the operations continuing."
Diamond's services include FRP and dual laminate piping installation, vessel inspections and modification, corrosion liner repair and new installation.
ASME RTP stands for American Society of Mechanical Engineers reinforced thermoset plastic. Diamond says it is the most comprehensive standard in the industry. Diamond's certification is backed by annual ASME audits. As well, Diamond is recertified every three years through an independent third party.
Fibrex has installations across the United States as well as in Asia, South America and the Middle East.