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When one of us faces a challenge, we all face it together.
As the world navigates the challenges and threats from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we at Air Products are continuing to share information to help maintain the health and safety of our colleagues, customers, suppliers, and communities. This is our top priority, as ever.
We have established this web page for updates on COVID-19 as they pertain to Air Products and our stakeholders, and we will continue to update with relevant information.
Let’s continue to stand united, stay informed, and stay safe.
Pivot and Punch: Chemical Customers Stay Flexible During Pandemic
Updated: June 26, 2020
Chemical processors have been identified by governments around the world as part of the critical infrastructure because they produce materials needed to produce products used in the fight against COVID-19, including antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, surfactants for soaps and personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns and face shields. And, these customers rely on Air Products' gases and technologies to help produce these important products.
For example, some of our chemical processing customers are converting their daily production operations to produce hand sanitizers to support COVID-19 relief efforts. A number of these companies are supplying, and in instances donating, these products to hospitals and other health institutions. The high alcohol content in hand sanitizer could create a flammability risk during production or packaging. To minimize this risk, customers use our nitrogen inerting technologies to help keep their operations safe. Inerting, also known as blanketing, is the process of replacing the atmospheric air around a substance or material with a non-reactive gas, such as nitrogen or argon, to ensure it stays in a passive or unreactive state.
Additionally, Air Products provides both large and small volumes of nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen, as well as gas separation and purification technologies and technical support to the chemical processing industry. Our offerings play an important role in several other applications used in this industry, such as:
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) Recovery: When chemical manufacturers need a recovery method to remove volatile compounds such as VOCs contained in gas streams, usually waste streams, they can turn to Air Products' Cryo-Condap® technology. Using liquid nitrogen, these systems condense and recover the VOCs or solvents, which helps the manufacturer comply with air emission limits or regulations.
- Low-Temperature Reactions: Some chemical companies work with complex molecules that have challenging reaction requirements. They need to closely control these reactions to enable safe processing or to prevent decomposition of unstable intermediate products. Air Products' PolarFit® reaction cooling systems use liquid nitrogen to reach temperatures as low as –148°F (–100°C) to provide a fast, precise, flexible and cost-effective way of achieving the temperatures needed for their advanced reactions.
We are proud to help these businesses operate smarter, cleaner and more economically, while contributing to the COVID-19 relief efforts.
Message from Seifi Ghasemi to Air Products Employees: Never Been Prouder of Standing Together
Updated: June 22, 2020
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have put important protocols and procedures in place to help keep our employees, families, customers and communities safe while continuing to run our facilities, provide the critical products and services that society needs, and win important projects.
I know how much effort it takes to keep these health protocols and procedures in focus, especially when the world around us is constantly changing and the news reports change day to day. Whether at our plants, on construction sites, delivering to customers, at our offices or working from home, I am very proud of the way the Air Products team around the world has stayed focused on our procedures and looked after and protected each other. Thank you for continuing to monitor your health, use appropriate PPE, keep social distance, and maintain good personal hygiene.
A Health and Safety Mindset Inside and Outside of Work
Just as we apply our company safety mindset to our behaviors and actions outside of work, each one of us needs to do the same in our approach to navigating COVID-19. In some areas, cases are declining, while other locations are seeing significant community spread or even a resurgence of positive cases. No matter where we are in the world, let’s continue to help protect each other through the choices we make both inside and outside of work and continue to deliver on the significant commitments we have made.
Strength in Stressful Times
This is obviously a stressful time, and I know everyone has their own concerns and personal challenges that they are dealing with. From a work perspective I want to emphasize again that we are committed to providing financial security for our people. Air Products remains in a strong, financial position, as I have said many times. During this crisis, we have not laid people off nor cut salaries, and we will work to maintain this approach as we navigate through this crisis together.
You can help by staying focused on your wellbeing and staying vigilant. We need to be flexible, monitor the changing COVID situation and use data to adjust as needed, to keep each other safe. You have my commitment that we will continue to do that as a company.
As always, I thank you for your hard work and dedication. In these times of great unrest, I have never
been prouder of what we have been able to do and what we will continue to do, standing together.
All the best,
Working Toward a Safe and Effective Vaccine to Stop the Spread of COVID-19
Updated: June 3, 2020
Pharmaceutical customers around the world are among a mix of legacy drug makers and small startups working at an unprecedented pace to research, develop, test and manufacture a vaccine to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Our pharmaceutical customers count on Air Products' pharmaceutical-grade range of gases. We produce, analyze, store and distribute these gases in full compliance with regulatory standards to ensure they meet the high-quality of gases required in pharmaceutical manufacturing processes. We deliver these gases by cylinders, CryoEase® microbulk services or liquid bulk deliveries.
Inerting, also known as blanketing, is the process of replacing the atmospheric air around a substance or material with a non-reactive gas such as nitrogen or argon, to ensure it stays in a passive or unreactive state. Pharmaceutical labs use nitrogen to create an inert atmosphere to protect medicines and vaccines during research, development, analysis and production/packaging. Air Products' gas solutions help customers preserve the quality of active ingredients and drugs, helping to eliminate oxidation and prevent microbiological contamination of their products. Our applications engineers work with customers to select the optimal inerting method to meet the customer’s needs, while keeping gas usage to a minimum.
We understand the critical need for medical grade gases in our pharmaceutical customers' processes and are proud to deliver a reliable supply to our customers and contribute to the race for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Augmented Reality: Another Ally Against COVID-19 in Southern Europe
Updated: June 3, 2020
Air Products' customer engineer teams are responsible for the installation, start-up and maintenance of the equipment customers use every day to supply gas to their applications, such as tanks, tunnels, gasifiers, control panels, pipes, valves, control systems, telemetry, and more.
In locations difficult to reach because of the COVID-19 pandemic, augmented reality technology is affording a unique solution, providing versatility, cost savings, safety and more agile start-ups.
Having launched an augmented reality pilot program last year, Air Products ramped up in the early months of 2020 in response to COVID-19, increasing our scope to provide customers with a new level of support in challenging circumstances.
In Spain, for example, Air Products'/Carburos Metalicos' technicians recently used augmented reality to address an electrical issue with a frequency inverter during the start-up of a tunnel freezer. Usually, several Air Products' experts are on-site at a customer location to address similar issues, but an on-site technician—wearing augmented reality glasses, working hands-free, and interacting via audio—worked with a remote engineer to successfully address the customer issue in real time.
Air Products Gases and Metal Extrusion Customer Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts
Updated: May 19, 2020
Aluminum and steel producers are supplying essential products for medical, transportation, energy, communications, food, agriculture and other necessary supply chains during COVID-19.
As an example, one of our aluminum manufacturing customers increased production of extruded medical components for ventilators, hospital bed frames, analyzer chassis for coronavirus test kits, medical oxygen carts, MRI equipment parts, and more. This customer also produces extrusions used for emergency response and key infrastructure equipment.
We are proud to supply them gases, technology, and technical support to melt, process, and extrude high quality aluminum products for these critical industries.
Essential together during this challenging time.
Oxygen Readiness in India
Updated: May 19, 2020
During the COVID-19 health crisis, the Government of Kerala, India, asked Air Products' Kochi Industrial Gas complex for help with their emergency preparedness by ensuring a readiness of liquid oxygen should there be an increase in demand of medical oxygen from hospitals. In response, our Kochi team commissioned a liquid oxygen tank (Capacity - 50 m3 | 65 metric tonnes) along with transfer vessel and a transfer system sequence—all within a week. We are proud of our team for achieving this with utmost concern towards safety, speed and being an essential service provider to our community. We stand together.
Answering the Call: New Medical Oxygen Installation in Poland
Updated: May 12, 2020
Responding to an all-too-familiar call, Air Products teams mobilized quickly to support a new 20-ton medical oxygen tank installation at a treatment hospital in Kędzierzyn-Koźle, Poland.
Following essential quality, safety and engineering steps, the installation was completed in a very short time frame, ensuring supply of medical oxygen for patients.
Proud to stand together and make a difference!
Thinking Differently, Working Ahead: U.S. Vehicles Converted, Tested and Certified to Provide Critical Medical Oxygen
Updated: May 8, 2020
Already in the Air Products Express Service (APEX) U.S. fleet were three Mobile Medical Tank Trailer oxygen supply vehicles, able to move from location to location to quickly support a medical oxygen supply emergency or critical hospital upgrade.
As COVID-19 began to change life’s normalcy in parts of the U.S., and specifically impact the Northeast Region and New York City, Air Products saw a greater potential need for medical oxygen support vehicles. Our Quality, Customer Engineering and Operations teams quickly got to work, and in early March, began converting six Portable Customer Station (PCS) Units—which typically deliver other industrial gases—to be able to provide emergency medical oxygen supply capability. The PCS units do not have a reserve oxygen tank, second vaporizer, medical manifolds, alarm settings, other infrastructure, nor the certifications required for hospital medical oxygen supply. But in less than one week, the teams made the needed infrastructure modifications, completed thorough testing and analysis, and received third-party certification – all making safe medical oxygen supply possible.
Thinking differently and working ahead paid off. A converted PCS unit was used at the U.S. Tennis Association’s Billie Jean King National Tennis Center temporary hospital (400-beds) in New York, playing a critical role until a larger and more permanent system could be put in place. Meanwhile, at the Javits Center pop-up hospital (New York), a Mobile Medical Tank Trailer has supported more than 1,000 patients already treated at the site.
In all, Air Products now has eight PCS units which can be deployed to locations in need from their bases in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Osceola, Arkansas; Midlothian, Texas; and Galt and Long Beach, California.
We all look forward to a time when these converted medical oxygen PCS units are no longer needed and can revert back to their traditional APEX roles.
Gent ASU’s Essential Maintenance Successfully Completed Under Exceptional Circumstances
A complex task accomplished on time and with zero incidents
Updated: May 8, 2020
Pictured above: Additional hand washing facility, with tap valves operated by arm - made by our mechanics.
At the end of April, our team in Gent, Belgium, completed a 10-day turnaround of the Gent ASU2 for essential maintenance. It was the first European shutdown of a large ASU since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and was a complex undertaking, involving confined space entry, working in small areas and potentially close together.
The impact of COVID-19 was felt throughout the process, right from ordering materials in early 2020. The normal molecular sieve supplier in China was already in lockdown, and unable to accept orders. A European alternative was found but was based in Italy, which soon experienced its own lockdown measures. Similarly, the approximately 1,400 new screen nozzles required were fabricated in France, also under a strict lockdown. Work by both the local team and Procurement was vital in getting them on time, with the final batch arriving the evening before they needed to be installed.
The teams involved did an excellent job in preparing a very detailed COVID-19 safety plan. The focus was on maintaining physical distancing at all times, good hygiene and appropriate personal protective measures. To help separate and protect employees and contractors, different colored high-visibility jackets were issued, each printed with a reminder to maintain distance. P2 face masks were provided for all personnel on site and worn at all times. Each group of contractors had separate break facilities, outside hand wash stations were installed, and extra cleaning and disinfection done frequently.
This plan satisfied the Belgian authorities, and the inspector who visited the first day of the shutdown was pleased, with no negative remarks. And all the hard work resulted in successful on time completion of the work with zero incidents or accidents.
Fast Medical Oxygen Installation Supports Clinic in East Germany
Updated: April 29, 2020
As hospitals and other medical facilities prepared themselves for increasing oxygen demand due to COVID-19, our team in Germany was on hand to install a larger tank for additional capacity in a short time.
Following a request by the crisis management team of the Saxon Ministry of State, a clinic in East Germany had to prepare for a possible admission and care of COVID-19 patients. For this purpose, we installed an additional tank with a storage volume of 10 tons of medical oxygen. The entire process took only a few working days from the clinic's initial request to the handover of the tank. This speed was only possible thanks to the committed cooperation of all the teams involved.
"Demonstrating Our Culture and Character to the World"
Chairman, President and CEO Seifi Ghasemi Addresses COVID-19 on Company’s Q2 FY20 Earnings Call
Updated: April 23, 2020
With the release of its fiscal second quarter 2020 financial results on 23 April, Air Products Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Seifi Ghasemi expressed solidarity in the world’s collective fight against COVID-19 and described the global team’s continued focus on running facilities safely, delivering critical products to customers, and winning new projects.
"The true character and leadership of individuals and companies are revealed during times of crisis. We are certainly going through a crisis – something none of us has experienced in our lifetime," Ghasemi said. "But I am delighted to report to you that the people of Air Products are demonstrating our culture and character to the world. They are responding to the crisis with caring for our fellow employees and our fellow citizens around the world. They are responding with passion to keep our plants operating, so that we can provide our customers with the vital products that they need. And they are responding with the commitment and dedication to move Air Products forward – no matter what the challenges."
Access the full April 23, 2020 Q2 FY20 Earnings Materials >
Ghasemi’s Q2 FY20 earnings call comments (excerpts):
- Employees: "During this crisis, we have not laid off any of our employees or cut their salaries. We will work to maintain this approach as we navigate through this crisis together. We have the strong financial position necessary to carry our people and their families through these unusual times."
- Customers: "Our customers expect us to provide them with the products they need – on time, with the right quality, and with a focus on providing excellent service. I am proud that during this crisis, we have kept our 750 plants operating around the world…we provide products, services and equipment essential to basic human needs, including medical oxygen, helium for MRI machines, products for food freezing, hydrogen for energy, and related equipment critical to energy and medical needs. We are proud to be identified as a critical industry. I want to thank our people on the front lines for keeping all our plants running and delivering to our customers the product they need. In addition, the rest of our people working from home have helped us maintain our business continuity by keeping key processes running and continuing to pursue and win new projects..."
- Communities: "Air Products is a leader in looking after our communities. I am proud of how our teams have mobilized safely and quickly to meet increasing oxygen demand. We are actively supporting medical facilities and the establishment of critical, temporary hospitals. We have also made financial contributions, donated critical PPE and equipment, and offered our talents to non-profit organizations that are meeting so many urgent human needs during this crisis. We are making a difference in people’s lives."
- Shareholders: "Air Products is also a leader in creating and preserving shareholder value. With the prudent management of cash over the last six years, we now have a very strong balance sheet with plenty of cash to weather the current crisis, continue to pay the dividend, and invest in attractive opportunities."
- We Stand Together: "Let me end today by thanking our 17,000 people around the world for their commitment and hard work – for demonstrating the true character of Air Products. Our success yesterday, today and tomorrow depends on their dedication and commitment, and I am very proud to say that the Air Products team is demonstrating that to the fullest extent under the most extreme conditions. We are very proud to play a critical role and make a difference to the world during this challenging time."
Honored to be Part of the Fight Against COVID-19 in Glasgow, Scotland
Updated: April 22, 2020
The Scottish Events Campus (SEC) in Glasgow has been converted into a temporary hospital – NHS Louisa Jordan - to provide beds for critically ill patients in Scotland. Our teams are proud to be working alongside more than 400 contractors and nearly 150 clinicians and operational staff to establish the new facility. It is expected that the site will be operational this month, initially with 300 beds with the possibility of holding more than 1,000 patients if required.
Air Products Plays a Key Role as Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Becomes "Pop Up" Hospital
Updated: April 17, 2020
In Queens, New York City, Air Products is playing a crucial role converting the U.S. Tennis Association's Billie Jean King (BJK) National Tennis Center to a temporary hospital. Air Products first sent two Portable Customer Station (PCS) mobile units—normally used to temporarily supply liquid argon, nitrogen or oxygen—to the site of the annual U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. Air Products had proactively converted several of its PCS fleet for the sole purpose of certified medical oxygen delivery as COIVD-19 mounted.
Next, working around challenges including city access, physical site logistics, security, and with strict adherence to safety, larger oxygen tanks – a 9,000-gallon main oxygen tank/3,000-gallon reserve – were then installed (see photos), as well as piping and vaporizers. On April 13, the first oxygen delivery for the larger capacity system began providing critical oxygen supply for patients, and the PCS units are being deployed to a new location.
In 72 Hours, Air Products and Team Provide Infrastructure for Large-Scale
Medical Oxygen Supply for Temporary Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida
Updated: April 17, 2020
With a project completion timeframe reduced from one week to 72 hours, Air Products was able to install large-scale medical oxygen supply for an approximately 400-patient temporary hospital at the Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) in Florida. Within the tight time frame, which began in earnest on 9 April, by 12 April Air Products was ready to put in place an 11,000-gallon medical oxygen tank, a 1,500-gallon reserve tank, as well as vaporizers and other infrastructure.
The 38,000-pound empty medical oxygen tank traveled 1,800 miles from Minneapolis, Minnesota to Miami Beach, Florida, and per the project scope, the system received its first medical oxygen fill ready for patients. Supply chain management and project assistance included tank procurement, a third-party trucking firm and tandem driving team for transporting the tank; working with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to help expedite certain permissions from the various states; as well as all other site infrastructure essentials coming from multiple states for just-in-time arrival and installation in Miami.
Once a new concrete pad at MBCC to secure the tanks was confirmed to be safe for empty tank placement, and additional tests showed the pad was ready for the weight of full tanks -- nearly 150,000 pounds -- the first fill of the oxygen tanks took place on 15 April. In a matter of days and over the holiday weekend, the Air Products team, together with outside resources, worked to meet this critical need safely and on time – truly an exceptional team effort. Proud to serve a critical need at a critical time. Times like these remind us we're all in this together.
Nightingale Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Updated: April 9, 2020
As part of our efforts to help the National Health Service (UK), our teams have been working hard to get medical oxygen supplies installed at the next Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham.
Southmead Hospital, Bristol, United Kingdom
Updated: April 9, 2020
The beginning of April, Air Products completed a medical oxygen hospital upgrade project at Southmead Hospital in Bristol.
On a project that would normally take approximately six weeks, the team planned and executed the work in less than a week, securing improved flow rates and additional medical oxygen capacity. The oxygen supply had to remain online at all times, so some careful planning of how to tie in and complete safe isolations was needed.
Work began on site with the installation of 40 metres of pipework. After the installation of the first vaporiser, the necessary tests were completed, supply was switched over and the flow to the old one isolated. This process was then repeated for the second vaporiser. A new medical oxygen pressure control panel will give the hospital an additional 3000 litres per minute of oxygen and the replaced vaporisers increase the heat transfer area from 52m2 to 195m2.
Teams in France install CryoEase® tank in record time
Updated: April 9, 2020
Proud to have worked quickly and safely to install and commission a CryoEase® tank in record time, providing needed oxygen supply to an elder-care residential care facility in Melun, France.
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Proud to Stand Together
Playing a Critical Role at a Critical Time
Air Products has been designated by the U.S. government, and other governments around the world, as a "critical industry."
Staying committed and focused: Air Products continues to work hard to avoid any production shortages in our business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Around the world Air Products continues to review and evaluate its entire robust supply chain, redundant back-up plans, and network of facilities to meet customer demands.
This is a dynamic and fluid situation, which makes it difficult to predict its future impact or exact duration. We are controlling what we can, continually reviewing and updating our crisis and contingency plans, which may vary by product and plant location. We escalated our own company emergency response plans early, unlocking protective measures for our offices and production sites.
Proactive measures taken around the world: Air Products has and continues to take several protective measures to ensure the safety of our people and customers, while also maintaining business continuity. Some of these actions taken at locations around the globe include:
- Having our employees work from home if they are in a role that allows them to do so. All our offices and facilities remain open and operational, with only limited employees there who are business continuity critical and unable to do their job remotely.
- Restricting access to site visitors and holding virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings whenever possible.
- For authorized people who must enter one of our sites, additional health protocols have been applied including:
- Temperature checks at certain locations for employees, contractors, tenants and visitors.
- Refined work procedures to allow social distancing for specific personnel and their operations.
- Implementing carefully considered personal protective equipment at certain locations.
- Reinforcing good hygiene practices amongst our workforce, and in parallel our sites have implemented increased cleaning and disinfecting frequency.
- Restricting business travel per the latest guidelines from countries around the world. Early on, Air Products made its own decision to restrict employee travel to "business-critical" travel only.
Air Products is Business Continuity Essential: Air Products provides products, services and equipment essential to basic human needs, including medical oxygen, helium for MRI, gases for food freezing, hydrogen for energy, and related equipment critical for energy and medical needs. We are proud to be designated by the U.S. government, and other governments around the world, as a "critical industry." We continue to evaluate new developments but anticipate continued recognition of the importance of our products to national infrastructure security so that we can maintain operations. We are proud that our employees and products are essential to moving our countries forward every day, and particularly, in these challenging times.
Safety and Health: We have maintained our operations and provided our dedicated workforce with the appropriate safety and health protocols, including social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures, self-reporting, screening activities, and required PPE. For example, inside our manufacturing facilities, we continue to focus on ensuring employees who must do work within 6 feet of one another for more than 15 minutes at one time have added precautions and protection.
Reported product shortages: In Europe there have been media reports of shortages of medical oxygen. Safety is something we take very seriously, along with ensuring customers do not experience interruptions to their gas supply – especially in areas of such importance as the supply of oxygen for medical care. Specifically, Air Products’ merchant gases business in the UK, which includes the production and delivery of medical oxygen, is operating at normal levels at this time. We are monitoring the situation, working with the UK government, and are in regular communication with our medical customers.
Ongoing collaboration between our company and customers: Our teams are continuously monitoring the real-time supply-demand balance, considering evolving resource challenges and issues as they develop and may change. If you do need to order product, then please contact us in the usual way. This will help to ensure your requirement can be correctly assessed as part of our scheduling process.
Likewise, please inform us if there are any changes that may affect our ability to meet our contractual obligations, such as changes to your location access procedures or the ability to continue granting us access to your facilities.
We will continue to provide you with updates, changes, and mitigation activities as appropriate during this challenging time for all of us in order to keep you abreast of the current status or other actions we may need to take relating to this event.
Communicating regular updates: Our Chairman, President and CEO, leadership teams and health response teams have been sharing information regularly with employees about ongoing actions to maintain the health and safety of our colleagues, customers, suppliers, and communities.
Providing work practices and standards to support employees during a health pandemic (like COVID-19): Based on facts, information from health authorities, community transmission assessments, and our ability to continue to deliver essential products and services people need, our teams continue to make critical decisions about work arrangements for employees. Air Products has a global standard practice that details how we continue to pay employees in the event of a health pandemic like coronavirus. Additional regional practices are designed to address regulations and different health crisis circumstances across the world.
Offering 24x7 employee assistance programs: We continue to provide assistance programs and resources to support our employees and families.
Supporting relief efforts: The Air Products Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant, approximately 700,000 renminbi, to assist COVID-19 recovery efforts in China, on top of an earlier donation of 500,000 renminbi, approximately $70,000, made by Air Products China to the Red Cross in China to support the most urgent medical care needs.
Air Products Korea has donated KRW 100 million (equivalent to US $84,000) to the non-profit organization Community Chest of Korea to help fight against the outbreak.
Air Products Saudi Arabia has donated 50,000 SARS (equivalent to approximately U.S. $13,000) to the Charity Association for Orphans Care – BENAA – Eastern Province for their continued work to help orphans and widows affected by COVID-19.
In addition, Air Products has continued to deliver needed medical liquid oxygen and helium to hospitals. Where appropriate, we are also working with government authorities to share our knowledge and expertise in the supply chain of medical gases.
Appreciation: We certainly appreciate your patience, cooperation, and collaboration as we navigate through these challenging times together.