Developed in the 1960's, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has been used by branches of the U.S. armed forces and fire departments around the world. This highly efficient fire suppressant agent is used to control fires on some of today's most advanced military vehicles including U.S. Navy ships. The foam forms spontaneously upon ejection of the concentrate/water mixture, producing a film that blankets a surface or fuel source with a layer of bubbles or foam. This mixture rapidly and effectively stifles the fire and prevents it from spreading. The Hiller Companies, which just reached its 100-year-old milestone, is an international company specializing in critical fire protection out of its Mobile, Alabama facility. They currently supply an array of fire suppression systems including the AFFF systems used on many U.S. Navy ships. Recently, Muskogee Technology (MT) met representatives from Hiller at the Austal Industry Day in Washington, D.C. Since the meeting, MT has secured a contract to begin performing fabrication work for Hiller’s fire suppression tanks which hold the AFFF material on U.S. Navy ships built by Austal at its Mobile, AL shipyard.
"It was a natural fit between Hiller and Muskogee Technology," commented Simon Thornton, Hiller Director of Marine Services - Gulf Coast. "There are not many tank builders in the area, so it was great to find a manufacturer close to our location, which facilitates better communication. And if there is ever a problem, it is easy for either party to address the problem quickly and in person."
The process of doing business with Hiller has been six months in the making. To secure the contract, MT had first to create a unique set of procedures for making the tanks. Then, they needed to modify their northern plant by adding additional ventilation and taking further steps to prevent cross-contamination. Finally, the welding team needs specialized training to perform the unique welding processes required for the job. This contract is just the first with Hiller. Upcoming, MT is slotted to begin producing a second component for the AFFF system as well as hose reels.
"We are pleased to be partnering with a stellar company such as Hiller, whose longevity in the industry is a testament to their continuous pursuit of naval service excellence. Networking events, such as the Austal Industry Day in Washington D.C., where we met Hiller representatives, continue to serve as critical opportunities for expanding MT’s business platform. Participating in these events affords MT significant exposure to showcase and personally discuss service capabilities directly with decision-makers. Sometimes in business, a simple handshake and face-to-face conversation can be the catalyst to assure a Buyer or Program Manager to take a chance on a new supplier such as us." said Westly L. Woodruff, Muskogee Technology President/CEO.