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News ReleaseAir Products Marks 70 Years of Innovation

November 25, 2010 London, U.K.

In 1940 a gases salesman founded Air Products on a concept that forever changed the industrial gas industry: building oxygen gas-generating facilities adjacent to large-volume gas users and reducing distribution costs. Since then it’s clear to see that innovation continues to be a key driving force with the launch of industry-defining designs such as the Integra® gas cylinder range and the Freshline® DM tunnel freezer.

In 2010, the company announced annual sales of $9,026 million, a long way from the $5 million net sales reported in 1945 - five years after Air Products was established. Growth enabled by a simple concept; leveraging research and development capabilities to develop solutions that directly support customers, their customers and the evolution of the industry as a whole.

Graham Rhodes, Vice President Liquid Bulk & Regional Executive – Air Products Europe, said: “Our world class R&D experts work closely with customers to understand their needs and everyday challenges. As well as innovative products and offerings, Air Products is also fast becoming a key player in developing economically viable hydrogen as an alternative fuel; today we’re not only serving our customers, but helping the world tackle the challenges of climate change and pollution.

“It’s been an impressive 70 years for Air Products. Sometimes you have to look back to look forward and as a business we are celebrating this important milestone and using it as an opportunity to refocus on our future, for which, innovation is key.”

Air Products’ global R&D experts have developed a wide range of innovative products and solutions that have since become market leaders and gained recognition as iconic designs that industrial gas users around the world use every day. Innovation claims to fame include:

  • During World War II, Air Products diverted its attention to the design and manufacture of mobile generators to produce oxygen for use by the military during high-altitude flights.
  • Following the launch of Sputnik in the US in 1957, Air Products won the race to develop a new rocket propellant – liquid hydrogen – for the Air Force and later NASA to use.
  • In the 1960s, Air Products developed a process for the recovery of helium from natural gas, along with the process to liquefy natural gas and the heat exchanger for compressing it.
  • Applying its expertise in cryogenic technology, Air Products developed the first liquid nitrogen food freezing tunnel, known as the Cryo Quick Tunnel in the 1960s, at a time when demand for frozen and convenience foods was growing rapidly. 45 years on, one of Air Products’ latest innovations is the Freshline® DM tunnel freezer, which is capable of freezing up to 1,800 kg of individual quick frozen (IQF) product per hour.
  • Introduced over 40 years ago, Air Products’ ground-breaking chemical additives - Surfynol® surfactants - enabled industrial coatings formulators to replace many solvent based materials, such as paint with water-based systems.
  • In the early 1990s, Air Products developed an innovative cryogenic condensation system used to recover pollutants from old fridges and freezers. At around the same time, the company developed PolarSnow® technology, used to manufacture a realistic snow product used by the leisure industry and for various product-testing applications.
  • Experts in the application of cryogenic technology, Air Products supplies liquid nitrogen to many different industries. For example, it is used to create an extremely cold environment for use when testing aerospace technologies.
  • The Integra® gas cylinder range and Air Products’ BIP® technology, were designed, developed and introduced to the industrial gases market in the early 2000s. They have since become the products of choice for a wide range of cylinder gas users from metal fabricators to laboratory analysts. The Integra® cylinders are much smaller - about half the size of traditional industrial gas cylinders – and have an in-built regulator as well as a number of safety features. Following its introduction, the Integra® cylinder range won a Queen’s Award for Innovation and also gained the TUV product validation mark.
  • Air Products is the world leader in hydrogen infrastructure development and supplies hydrogen to more fuelling stations globally than anyone else. In Europe, Air Products was responsible for installing the UK’s first permanent hydrogen fuelling station at the University of Birmingham in 2008. The hydrogen-fuelled future is also underway in Spain and Germany, where a number of transport trials are in progress and a project backed by the European Commission in Italy has completed a test flight of a hydrogen-fuelled aircraft.
  • Air Products Healthcare has developed a specialist range of lightweight 1L and 2L gas cylinders for use by patients receiving treatment for respiratory conditions at home. The portability and ease-of-use of the cylinders has brought life-enhancing benefits to more than 325,000 patients in Europe.
  • Air Products is leading the development of new generation of additives, including waterborne epoxy curing agents and surfactant technologies, used in the production of high performance coatings, used in many industries including construction. The latest range of waterborne epoxy curing agents is paving the way for the world’s first VOC-free coating systems.

For more information about Air Products through the ages visit  

About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in industrial, energy, technology and healthcare markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials, and equipment and services. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. In fiscal 2010, Air Products had revenues of $9 billion, operations in over 40 countries, and 18,300 employees around the globe. For more information, visit  

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