Innovation in the low-pressure gas (LPG) industry is no small challenge. While promising new technologies might be available, the cost doesn’t always align with customers’ needs. And the competitive nature of the industry leaves little room for anything less than the best.
At Amtrol-Alfa, Worthington’s Portugal facility, the team knows all too well the challenges of the industry and the opportunities innovation can bring. So, when they received the request from Galp, a valued customer, for a “lighter, smarter cylinder that would revolutionize the industry,” the team launched into action.
In 2020, the first working prototype of a lightweight LPG cylinder with integrated IoT technology was presented to the customer. Three years later—through rigorous testing, redesigning, reconfiguring and finalizing all the details—the solution, called Nexi, was ready for rollout.
The Nexi solution includes a small, cylinder-mounted IoT device that generates system data for more eﬃcient, sustainable and intelligent control, including location (when allowed), usage history, cylinder levels, temperature and more. It utilizes ultrasound technology to provide accurate fuel level readings and consumers can easily access consumption information and even order a refill—all through a mobile app.
For the first time, end users have a direct connection to their cylinder data so they’re able to make more informed decisions, and the relationship between users and gas distributors is stronger.
In late 2022, Galp released a new version of their Pluma LPG cylinder and became the first to feature Nexi technology in their product. Marketed as the world’s first smart cylinder, Pluma is built with a polymeric handle and foot ring, making it ultra-lightweight and portable, with the Nexi device installed securely on the underside.
Today, there are already hundreds of thousands of devices in use while production runs strong. “This is truly a breakthrough,” said Filipe Pedrosa, vice president of Sales & Marketing in Portugal. “For the first time, end users have a direct connection to their cylinder data so they’re able to make more informed decisions, and the relationship between users and gas distributors is stronger.” While just the beginning, Worthington’s Portugal team has demonstrated the impact of innovation-forward thinking in the LPG industry.