”Noise gradually fades away and from this bird’s eye perspective everything down below looks like a miniature world, appearing so clean, tidy and still. The only sound is the burner, occasionally blasting hot air powerfully into the balloon envelope. Here and there, occasional shouts of ‘Hello’ can be heard from people waving on the ground, looking longingly up to the sky. This feeling of freedom is the passion that drives us to produce hot air balloons and give people the chance to share this dream and its unique feeling of freedom,” says Petr Kubiček from Kubiček Balloons. Kubiček Balloons, based in Brno (Czech Republic) is one of the world’s most significant balloon manufacturers, producing all manner of equipment and accessories for the famous Montgolfier invention. The product range covers hot-air balloons in various sizes and designs, from one-man balloons to 24-person passenger systems. All the components of hot-air balloons – envelopes, baskets, burners – are manufactured by Kubiček themselves. This even includes their own purpose-designed balloon fabric, which also enables them to supply an incredible range of designs and colours. Kubiček’s first hot air balloons hit the skies in 1983 and after 30 successful years, they produced their 1,000th balloon in 2013, coinciding with the company jubilee. But for long time, there was one significant gap in their product range; their own fuel tanks. This is now no longer the case. Approximately one year ago, two new fuel tank models called “King Size” and “Queen Size” were added to the product range and immediately took the market by storm. The first series was sold out in no time at all!
Beside the standard demands placed on tanks intended for use in balloons, such as high strength, very low weight and absolute reliability, there is also an unbelievable number of formal and legal requirements that need to be fulfilled. Firstly, the tanks’ suitability as pressure cylinders for LPG has to be proven and certified, secondly, EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification is needed to prove they are safe for use in aviation and thirdly, independent ADR certification needs to be achieved for legal road transport.
It‘s plain to see just how high the quality requirements are and therefore easy to understand that only top-level production technology can fulfil them. For such a high-precision task, manual welding is out of the question, as it always incorporates the human element and the inevitable potential for mistakes which that involves. Therefore, Kubiček Balloons went in search of a technology capable of removing this risk as much as possible. And, they found it at SCHÄFER-SUDEX, the Czech subsidiary of SCHÄFER WERKE, which offers high-end robotic welding technology, delivering not only perfect quality, but also, more importantly, the same consistently flawless results every time. Besides stainless steel containers for liquids or solid bulk materials, SCHÄFER, as a manufacturer of IBCs (intermediate bulk containers) and special containers, also supplies tailormade solutions for a wide range of industrial applications in many different sectors and also guarantees the utmost safety and security, even for sensitive transport and storage requirements. Thanks to this combination of SCHÄFER-SUDEX stainless steel tanks with capacities of 72 or 97 litres and Kubiček’s flange-mounted connections, all the certification processes were successfully completed and Kubiček Balloons were able to launch their new tanks onto the market. And they have been very well accepted, as they offer some unique features, like the highest volume on the market (the reason behind its name – King Size), first-class ergonomics and, last but not least, the best price, too.