July 07, 2011 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products (NYSE: APD), the world’s largest producer and supplier of liquid and gaseous helium, announced today it won the “Innovation for Growth 2010” award in Royal Philips Electronics Supplier Awards program. Air Products received the award for its work together with Philips to significantly reduce the amount of helium used at Philips’ Latham, New York manufacturing facility. The award was presented by Philips at a recent event held in Andover, Massachusetts.
“Customer service is essential in today’s globally competitive market and we are very proud to have our dedicated efforts in this essential area recognized by Philips,” said John Van Sloun, general manager, Worldwide Helium at Air Products. “We worked closely with Philips in restructuring a segment of its operations to reduce their overall usage of helium. The result benefits Philips from an operations and cost standpoint, and we retain a satisfied customer.” Van Sloun added that the reduced sales of helium to Philips will be used to grow Air Products' helium business beyond magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and to supply the increasing demand for the product in several other product markets.
At Latham, Air Products and Philips are making further investments into the MRI manufacturing process by constructing new equipment that will enhance the helium recovery and recycle processes within the factory. The project is scheduled to be completed during the summer of 2012, and once operational the new equipment will significantly reduce the amount of helium purchased by Philips. Air Products had previously worked with Philips at its facility in Best, Holland to install a similar system.
In selecting the winner, Philips noted that its judges were convinced that Air Products deserved the Innovation Award. Philips added that in a tough market situation with strong upward helium price pressure, Air Products worked together with Philips to mitigate this price pressure by restructuring the Latham Factory operations and investing in new equipment, resulting in the significant reduction in helium consumption.
Philips uses liquid helium at Latham to cool down the magnets they manufacture for the MRI industry and to test them prior to final placement at medical imaging facilities. A substantial amount of helium is used in the manufacturing and testing of these MRI magnets, which must be cooled to -452 degrees Fahrenheit.
Air Products assists the global MRI industry with vital service by keeping the superconducting magnets at cryogenic temperatures to provide the highest quality medical imaging. An MRI system with a superconducting magnet consists of many wound coils of wire through which a current of electricity is passed to create a magnetic field. This requires a significant amount of energy and is achieved through superconductivity, or reducing the resistance in the wires to almost zero by continually bathing the wire coils in liquid helium.
Helium is used in many unique and valued applications beyond MRI including: lifting for high altitude scientific research balloons, blimps and party balloons; fiber optics and semi-conductor manufacturing; metallurgy; breathing atmospheres for deep diving or unique blood gas medical mixtures; analytical chemistry; pressurizing and purging pipes, vessels, and other critical equipment; leak detection; and other advanced applications.
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 www.airproducts.com
NOTE: This release may contain forward-looking statements within the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s reasonable expectations and assumptions as of the date of this release regarding important risk factors. Actual performance and financial results may differ materially from projections and estimates expressed in the forward-looking statements because of many factors not anticipated by management, including risk factors described in the Company’s Form 10K for its fiscal year ended September 30, 2010.