Nano-Filled Matrix Resin to Be Used at New Factory in Ohio
Type IV compressed natural gas fuel cylinder manufacturer Xperion has reported a pact with 3M to develop a new line of 3M-branded CNG tanks for heavy duty transportation industry use.
The new CNG cylinders are to combine 3M’s matrix resin technology with Xperion’s engineering and proprietary design technology. Xperion late last year disclosed plans for a CNG cylinder plant in Heath, Ohio (F&F, November 20); the firm said this month that the new 3M tanks using 3M materials will see production there later this year.
Xperion will produce its own X-Store brand Type IV cylinders there too.
“Our mutual goal is to bring superior value to customers in order to accelerate the industry’s adoption of CNG,” 3M aerospace and commercial transportation VP and general manager Rory Yanchek said in a release. “Xperion brings broad composites experience and deep manufacturing knowledge on a global scale,” he said.
Ohio Location ‘Is Significant’
“The location of this new facility is significant,” said Xperion GM Sean Ellen. “It will be the closest source of supply of Type IV tanks for multiple heavy-duty OEM manufacturers…
“Combine this dedicated facility with 3M’s pipeline of materials and technologies and our skilled engineering and design team in Kassel, Germany, and we believe we have a solution that will deliver superior value,” Ellen said.
The firms say they plan to continue to address the light-duty CNG marketplace, now using Xperion X-Store cylinders. “3M and Xperion will work to incorporate 3M’s proprietary nanoparticle resin into the design of X-Store tanks,” states the announcement. “During the transition, customers can count on the best-in-class support and customer service they’ve come to expect.”
3M’s Yanchek praised Xperion’s “exceptional composite design and engineering capabilities [and] a tight focus on precision manufacturing and exceptional quality.”
Resin, Meet Fiber
“As a Tier-1 supplier to many European automotive OEMs, we have completed rigorous qualification procedures and, along with 3M, have the understanding and experience needed to bring continuous innovation to the CNG category over time,” said Ellen.
3M’s matrix resin features a nano-particulate formulation said to make better use of the strength properties of carbon fiber by “improving fiber load sharing in the composite overwrap… 3M’s Type IV carbon fiber tanks offer up to 10% more capacity at up to 30% lower weight than conventional Type IV tanks of similar geometries.”
Xperion claims an ability to eke the maximum performance from a combination of strong carbon and more economical glass fiber materials, yielding a “hybrid” design that’s “extremely light and robust, flexible in its dimensions, with variable installation possibilities.”
The Xperion release notes 3M’s announcement, made at ACT Expo in Long Beach, Calif. (F&F, May 11) that it would provide enhanced CNG fuel systems, distribution and service support to the heavy duty sector with Rush Enterprises. “Together, these companies now look to offer a complete back- and front-end CNG solution.”
“We want to bring a holistic approach to the CNG space,” said 3M’s Yanchek. “Working with two other like-minded companies is a game-changing alignment in terms of quality, value and service.”
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Source: Xperion with Fleets & Fuels follow-up