As it moves forward with diversification efforts, Wabash National Corp. on Friday announced that it will increase employment through production of its first carbon steel vacuum tanker, which is designed to transport bulk non-hazardous liquids.
Primarily used in the oil and gas industry, the so-called vacuum tanker built in Lafayette weighs 16,750 pounds, which is lighter than similar tankers on the market. It’s being marketed and sold through the Wabash Energy & Environmental Solutions business unit, under the Wabash National brand.
The company will add up to 60 jobs to its workforce of 4,200 people.
“Wabash National continues to provide transportation solutions in new markets to grow the business and diversify product offerings outside of semi-trailer and van manufacturing,” said Dick Giromini, the company’s president and chief executive officer.
“Vacuum trailers are another example of how we are executing on our strategic plan by responding to growing equipment needs within the oil and gas exploration market to expand and grow while encountering the cyclicality of our core business.”
Through hydraulic fracturing — known as fracking — rock formations such as shale are split to capture gas and oil below the surface. Frac tanks haul water to the operation, and the tankers from Wabash National have the capacity to carry 5,460 gallons, or 130 barrels, at a time.
This month, Wabash National completed the $360 million purchase of Walker Group Holdings LLC, a Wisconsin-based manufacturer of liquid transportation equipment, including stainless steel products for the dairy, pharmaceutical, ethanol and chemical industries.
“Through our Wabash Energy & Environmental Solutions business, we have been successful in leveraging our core competencies and existing physical assets to further expand product offerings in the energy sector,” said Brent Yeagy, vice president and general manager at Wabash National.
“We have discovered the advantage Wabash National brings from engineering expertise and proven performance in semi-trailer technology to create sophisticated carbon steel bulk liquid vessels and transportation equipment.”