NORFOLK, Neb. — A new product designed, tested and manufactured in Norfolk is on the cusp of being used at gas stations and convenience stores across the country.
Veyance Technologies Inc. announced last week that it is now selling its new gas pump hoses and orders are flowing in as state governments look to require that gas dispensers be upgraded to decrease vapor emissions.
The high-tech hose, which limits gasoline’s effect on the environment, is designed to replace older hoses that use a more costly vapor recovery system.
“If you see a hose at a gas station, no matter where you go, it probably comes from Norfolk,” said Karina Robinson, the corporation’s industrial hose product manager. “We thought it was important to invest in this technology and this low permeation hose. We are a leader in this industry.”
The new hose faced extensive testing and now meets or exceeds state and federal standards as well as UL requirements. It has a stronger barrier than older hoses and allows less gasoline vapor to enter the air.
“We are happy to do the legwork it takes to help the environment,” said plant manager Chris Flint.
Work on the project began several years ago, and the equipment — which required a significant financial investment — was installed in May 2013.
The product was launched Jan. 13. Orders for the new hose started coming in right away.
Andy Speidel, a Norfolk High School graduate who now is a development engineer for Veyance, led the effort to create the product.
Speidel said he was pleased to be able to help with a technical advancement to improve the environment and reduce costs for service stations.
“It feels great,” said Speidel, who added that it was important to him that Nebraskans designed and developed the new product.
Hoses produced in Norfolk come in many sizes and grades. Veyance makes special hoses that can withstand temperatures as low as 65 below zero. It also makes hoses to handle ethanol-blended fuels and other alternative fuels.
Speidel said having multiple formulations of rubber is important because certain fuels can break down rubber hoses into a sticky mess if used in the wrong application.
Flint said the new advanced hose is a feather in the cap and source of pride for the more than 350 Veyance workers in Norfolk.
“What does this mean for Norfolk and for our people? It means a stronger market presence in an industry where we are known as a leader,” he said.
Innovative, high-tech products that solve problems lead to greater growth, Flint said. “Consistently having new products in the market is what really drives the future of the business,” he added.
Ideas for new products are generated in Norfolk, tested in Norfolk and brought to market in Norfolk, Flint said.
“We have product engineers right here. We do a lot of our own design and development right here,” he said. “This product helps the environment, and we are proud of it.”
Flint also noted that Speidel’s Norfolk ties show that local industries and businesses are committed to searching for and bringing back local students to improve the community.
“We strive to grow local talent,” Flint said. “We are at career fairs. We are at the high schools. We participate in (the Norfolk Area Chamber of Commerce’s) Grow Norfolk. With Andy, we have a local engineer doing well and doing great things in the community.”