By Kasia McBride, Marketing Manager, NGVi
Titeflex Commercial is a flexible PTFE (Teflon) hose company specializing in the transfer of fluids and gases. Their primary markets include the Aerospace, Automotive, and Industrial markets. Titeflex’s products are highly specialized and carry the highest quality standards for each market they serve. The company has been a part of the CNG/NGV market for almost 20 years. NGVi recently had the opportunity to sit down with Joe Marinaccio, Product Marketing Manager at Titeflex, to learn more.
For those new to the Titeflex brand, can you give a brief review of your offering?
We have a fairly diverse offering of flexible hosing products that answer any of our customers’ demands and needs. Our products range from low-pressure convoluted hoses suitable for vacuum and suction to high-pressure hoses that see 24,000 psi and can be used in the harshest environments. In the CNG/NGV market, our hoses are seen on a great number of NGVs within the engine and as fuel lines. We are also producing a product that is extremely flexible and user-friendly for the growing dispenser market.
What are the distinguishing features of the CNG/NGV applications manufactured by Titeflex, and what sets them apart from your competitors? What are their benefits?
Titeflex hoses are made of PTFE, whereas our competitors mainly use nylon. Our hoses are braided by stainless steel wire which makes them extremely durable and flexible. Their application for on-board vehicles can withstand extreme temperatures making them suitable for “hot zones” like in the engine compartment of the vehicle. For dispenser applications, our hoses maintain their conductivity throughout the life of the hose, meaning you do not need to go through monthly routine checks as you do for nylon.
Can you discuss the advantages of steel braid technology used in your hoses?
The steel braid technology allows the hose to be more flexible and easier to work with in tight spots. This advantage is realized both on vehicles where the technician might need to move the hose around the engine, etc., and at the dispenser for the end user to navigate from the pump to the fuel receptacle. The steel braid also protects the hose from environmental conditions such as ozone or UV exposure. Most importantly, it protects the hose from kinking and puncture, as well as keeping the integrity of the hose intact.
I read that AFV Natural Gas Fuel Systems is now a certified manufacturer of Titeflex CNG hose assemblies. Could you tell us a little about this affiliation and how you work together?
We are proud to partner with AFV Natural Gas Fuel Systems as they are a trusted name in the NGV market. They are certified to assemble our product for their end users under the CSA certificate. In the past, they were buying assemblies directly from us, but are now able to purchase our bulk hose to make their own assemblies for the NGV market. It allows them to be more flexible in their workflow and helps us focus on our customers who require assembly work from us.
What are your thoughts about the growth of the natural gas vehicle industry in North America?
Growth still seems fairly slow, but we have seen many great accomplishments in the past five years. With the increase in infrastructure and more heavy-duty fleets switching to CNG, I feel very positive about the outlook of the industry in North America.
Tell us how your company is responding to the increasing demand for CNG fueling stations in North America.
We are seeing the increase in demand for infrastructure and we are very serious about becoming a part of that call. We are certifying our hose product to CSA 4.2 which will be the proper certification to enter the dispenser hose market. We believe we have the best product to offer fueling stations and to help grow the needed increase in infrastructure of CNG as a transportation fuel.
How have changes in the NGV and fueling industry influenced your company’s production? Have they changed its priorities?
The NGV market certainly had its hot and cold periods as it relates to our production for the market. We feel that it has a lot to do with government incentives for the overall industry and also companies we service winning (or losing) business at the front-end. Even with the ebbs and flows of the market, we still hold the NGV industry as a very high priority for us as a company. We are serious about the market and ready to grow with the industry as it matures.
What recent news or achievements have you seen anywhere within the NGV industry that excite you?
The most exciting news and achievements I have seen from the NGV industry is from the transfer of natural gas to locations that are not on actual pipelines. The “virtual pipeline” allows companies that have no access to CNG to take advantage of the lower cost fuel and cleaner alternative to oil. They are using CNG not only as a transportation fuel, but as a boiler fuel to heat and power their facilities. I find this to be innovative and very beneficial for the overall market by expanding the availability of CNG to users beyond