Growing demand for test fuels
There is more than branding and semantics to the change of the name of Haltermann Products Test and Reference Fuels to Haltermann Solutions – with the company continuing to be North America’s leading manufacturer of test and reference fuels for the automotive industry. The new name shifts the Texan company’s identity from being simply supplier of specialist fuels to one which that offers total product and service solutions.
“This is a reflection of our recent diversification efforts. We are more than just a test and reference fuel supplier to many of our customers, as we provide solutions for any company which has special, unique or demanding fuel requirements. For example, we now sell fuels and propellants for use in the aerospace industry as well as the aviation market, both of which have demanding requirements and unique formulations,” said Wayne Petersen, president and general manager of Haltermann Solutions in an interview with AI.
The legal entity has not changed, and the company remains a division of Johann Haltermann. The Houston, Texas-based Haltermann Solutions has over 50 years of experience in providing solutions to engine and part manufacturers, test laboratories, government entities, gas and oil additives manufacturers, and aerospace and aviation companies that require complex gasoline and diesel test fuel.
Haltermann procures and blends a variety of refinery streams along with specialty chemical and other hydrocarbon products to achieve the often demanding specifications requested by its customers.
The company has three facilities in Michigan; one as a terminal to produce high-volume, inventoried fuels; the second for specialized, custom smaller quantity fuels, and the third for storage of finished drummed fuels. Similarly in Texas, Haltermann has three sites for its San Antonio based customers and others in the region.
According to Haltermann Solutions, having multiple sites, each with unique capabilities, has given the company the agility to respond quickly to customer demands.
“We select the assets needed to manufacture a specific fuel based on customer locale, required volume, fuel type and logistics requirements. Our other divisions’ capabilities for custom chemical processing include large scale distillation and fractional distillation, reactive distillation, fixed-bed hydrogenation, oligomerization, esterfication and transesterfication reactions, aldol condensations and isobutylene reactions. These capabilities allow us to manufacture unique feed stocks in-house, when required,” says the company. It also manufactures solvents such as Acetonitrile, Diacetone Alcohol, Haltanol, Hexylene Glycol, Isopropyl Acetone, Isoproply Alcohol, Methyl Isobutyl Carbinol, Methyl Isobutyl Ketone, and Propylene Glycol Monomethyl Ether Acetate.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Petersen what changes became evident at Haltermann Solutions after the name change?
Petersen: To be honest, change was well underway at Haltermann Solutions before our name changed. We have made significant investments in both people and systems over the past few years to enable us to consistently, reliably and quickly deliver “solutions” to our customers. I think the change to our name is just another step in our journey of what we are trying to be - more of a total “solutions” provider, whether that solution is a product, technical answer or a service. A change that may not be obvious to our existing customers is our deliberate expansion to serve other test fuel markets. Anyone visiting our new web site, www.haltermannsolutions.com, will notice that we serve many more markets than just “automotive”. While this may be a surprise to many of our customers, there is a great deal of similarity in the process in which test fuels are developed, regardless of the market needing the test fuel. This puts Haltermann in an ideal position to also serve the complexities required by these markets. These markets represent a deliberate area of emphasis for our company going forward.
AI: Will the new identity help Haltermann with future growth?
Petersen: Absolutely. There is a European company that has our previous name which confused our customers. But our new identity has changed that, and our new website provides a unique and useful portal for those searching for products. We have now listed all of the markets we serve, so that customers will see that we can serve their specialty fuel needs.
AI: What gives Haltermann Solutions’ test and reference fuels an edge over competitors?
Petersen: We believe we excel in all service areas. First, we have 50 years of specialty fuel formulation experience which is a must for the demanding fuel requirements of our customers. Next, we like to think we are a relational and highly responsive company. Whether from sales, customer service or technical service and development, our employees are motivated to provide prompt, personal and responsive service. Finally, our manufacturing model provides us a great deal of flexibility when responding to our customers’ needs.
AI: Please give us an example of how automotive companies have used your fuels.
Petersen: Our customers use our fuels in a wide variety of applications. One example is to model fuels for automobiles in particular regions, such as China. These fuels contain components not used or typically found in North America such as methanol or MMT. Haltermann has successfully formulated these fuels for our customers so they can complete their comprehensive vehicle testing with confidence.
AI: What opportunities do you see in the transportation sector?
Petersen: Pressure will continue on OEMs to produce cleaner and more environmentally friendly vehicles using next generation alternative and renewable fuels such as algae biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, bio-butanol and the like. A great deal of this is already mandated in the Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2). This will require fuel testing on fuels with increasingly higher renewable content. There will also be more stringent standards to reduce NOx, sulfur emission and CO2 for every mile logged by a vehicle. Finally, there will be a need for higher fuel densities.
AI: What are some of the challenges facing your industry and how do you see Haltermann Solutions meeting these challenges?
Petersen: A significant challenge that has resulted from the recent economic downturn and corporate restructurings is the tremendous pressure on our customers to optimize their R&D processes with limited resources. Haltermann Solutions has responded by continuing to look for ways to reduce our manufacturing costs and pass these cost savings back to our customers. For example, in 2010 we were able to identify a different asset in our popular fuel, HF0580, which resulted in cost savings of over $1.50 per gallon. We passed the entire saving back to our customers in the form of a price reduction.
Another challenge is if new fuels such as E-15 or E-20 may not be able to be used in older model cars. Finally, the automotive industry is moving toward higher pressures in common rail diesel engines that will require fuels with cetane levels of 50 and higher. This may not be possible with current petroleum diesel, and may present opportunities for higher cetane blend stocks like hydrogenated vegetable oils that are then cracked to give required C-8 to C-10 fractions. Haltermann Solutions stands ready to serve our customers in any way we can to supply these new fuel requirements for their testing and evaluations.