STAKO is ahead of the game

STAKO is a prominent manufacturer of pressure vessels and occupies the number one position in Europe in the field of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) tanks.

Established in 1967, STAKO initially manufactured storage tanks as well as lorry and trailer tanks through cooperations with German IFA. Since 1990, STAKO has become involved primarily in the design and manufacture of LPG auto-tanks, using the latest technology and operating to international levels in the manufacture of pressure vessels. It has also developed a range of type three and four composite tanks for CNG (compressed natural gas), compressed air, technical and medical gases that are used in medicine, motorisation and aeronautics. STAKO is also the European leader in manufacturing composite tanks for paintball games, which is an activity that has steadily grown in popularity leading to increases in demand for this type of product.

STAKO is currently celebrating its 40th successful year of manufacturing excellence. “We’ve been involved in the manufacture of metal vessels for four decades and our area of expertise is low and high pressure tanks for different gases,” explains commercial director Arek Kubasik. “Mainly we produce LPG and CNG tanks for the propulsion of vehicles. Everything is manufactured in Poland at our site in Stupsk by the Baltic Coast and we’ll build a another plant there next year.”

For the last four years STAKO has been developing composite tanks used in the storage of compressed air for medical purposes, fire fighters, scuba diving, and paintball games, although the company operates predominantly in the automotive industry. Arek says the organisation prides itself on performing well for customers: “We’re recognised as a high-quality manufacturer so our commitment to quality is the key to our success and our products are widely available in over 40 countries on five continents, with regular customers in 36 countries. Our product range is extensive – we have the widest range of this type of product for all kinds of cars worldwide – which has helped to successfully build the brand.”

The company’s CNG tanks are an important innovation that leads STAKO into the next phase of its development: “An entirely new product for us is our high pressure composite CNG tanks, which we’ve been developing for four years,” says Arek. “They’re used in the same manner as the LPG tanks that are alternative fuel systems but we consider LPGs to be our daily bread and butter whereas CNGs are our future.”

STAKO’s in-house R&D activity has produced breakthroughs in technology that place the company ahead of competitors: “R&D is one of our biggest strengths and we’re 100 per cent self-sufficient in terms of design, prototyping, tooling and manufacture,” comments Arek.

STAKO’s latest technology is FRP (fibre reinforced plastics) tanks for compressed air that have applications outside of the automotive industry. Arek explains: “Based on the same technology as making composite high pressure cylinders we have developed FRP compressed air tanks, which can be used in games such as paintball – we actually have the world’s lightest paintball tank – and another one for breathing apparatus for the fire service. We moved away from automotive with our newest tanks because we felt it was important to target other industries.”

This year the company reaches its 40th anniversary and, to commemorate this milestone, STAKO plans to move forward with the opening of a new facility: “Internally, our employees will celebrate at the end of August this year but for our customers we have decided to wait until 2008 when we will have an opportunity to celebrate the anniversary together with the opening of a new manufacturing plant. This will be dedicated to the new production of composite tanks. We’re very positive about our new projects and the CNG market especially in Europe, all the OEM applications and the new cars built with CNG, either mono or bi-fuel. We see many new opportunities that excite us.”

STAKO has recently experienced strong overseas growth, particularly in Asia, says Arek: “We are successful with OEMs in Asia, especially in India, where we co-operate with a Japanese company Maruti. For the retro-fitment or aftermarket it’s more difficult as competition is tough and it’s a low-quality market but we will improve and, at this moment, focus on OEMs by enhancing this co-operation.”

STAKO’s aim is to become the market leader through perfecting its products and services: “We are the largest manufacturer of LPG automotive tanks in Europe. Our
mission is to become the best manufacturer of pressure tanks, for the automotive industry particularly, both for LPG and CNG tanks as well,” reveals Arek. “Our aim to be recognised internationally as a premium manufacture of high-pressure vessels.”

Products: Pressure tanks
Sites: Poland
Employees: 500