September 2008, Issue 16
In This Issue












Quotes and Quips
Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
–Publilius Syrus

Contact Us
You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at 800-654-4567 code 648, or by contacting us online.


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Metals and Money

For accurate forecasting and planning, it helps to understand the movement of key industry indices. Air Products' economists have compiled the following graphs for you to illustrate three-year trends for utility and metals pricing as well as industrial production. We'll continue to keep you updated in future issues.

Industrial Production Indexes Industrial Production Indexes
Source: US Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors
Click here to view the graph.


Utility Pricing Metrics Utility Pricing Metrics
Source: Inside F.E.R.C., Bureau of Labor Statistics
Click here to view the graph.


Steel Prices Steel Prices
Source: Market Pricing
Click here to view the graph.


Key Metals Prices Key Metals Prices
Source: London Metals Exchange
Click here to view the graph.


Metal Tech: Coke Savings and Other Benefits in Cupolas

Coke is the fundamental fuel for cupola operations that provides the energy and bed structure essential for a cupola to operate. Therefore, if alternative fuels are to be used, they must be used in conjunction with a coke bed or some other structure. The main challenge with using a fuel such as natural gas is that when burned in air, the flame temperature is not high enough to enable sufficient heat transfer for the required metal temperature. The combustion zone of the cupola itself can approach the temperature of the air/natural gas flame, making heat transfer virtually impossible. The only solution is to burn the natural gas in the presence of pure oxygen to produce a much higher flame temperature. This provides a large enough heat gradient between the natural gas combustion products and the coke bed/combustion zone to allow heat transfer to take place at an efficient rate. The addition of oxygen/natural gas burners in selected tuyeres allows the cupola operator to combine the best features of coke, natural gas and oxygen to give a wide range of practical benefits. Due to the high cost of coke today, advanced oxygen technologies are increasingly attractive to more and more foundries.

Air Products has developed a wide range of technologies to meet our customers' specific needs, from general enrichment, to supersonic tuyere injection, to our APCOS™ oxy-fuel technology with the option of solids injection. By using oxygen, you can achieve higher production rates, lower coke usage, increased efficiency of alloy additions and overall lower melting costs. The best technology for you depends on many aspects, such as your existing cupola operating parameters, goals and current market conditions.

Learn more about how we can help your cupola operation perform solids injection, increase production, achieve coke savings and provide greater operational flexibility.

> Read the article:
Coke Savings and Other Benefits of Oxygen Use in Cupolas

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Microbulk at Ontario Laser: Running Full Out

Air Products' CryoEase® Microbulk Supply Enables Growth and Expansion at Ontario Laser
Ontario Laser Cutting, Inc. in Tillsonburg, Ontario was running around the clock—or at least trying to. At least twice a day, state-of-the-art laser cutting machines were sitting idle due to problems with its industrial gas supply. "Runouts and error outs were definitely impacting our productivity," states Larry Stuyt, president and owner of Ontario Laser.

Air Products' CryoEase® microbulk supply provided the solution to Ontario Laser's challenges. Today, the company is realizing impressive savings in its industrial gas costs and employee time, and is freeing up valuable production floor space. To understand the benefits that Ontario Laser realizes from microbulk supply, read the full story.

Read the case study

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Argon: Noble and Needed

With Tight Supply and High Demand, Having a Reliable Argon Supplier is More Important Than Ever
Argon is a colorless, tasteless, noncorrosive, nonflammable and nontoxic gas with exceptionally poor heat transfer abilities, making it ideal for a diverse range of applications from furnace cooling to use as a window glass insulation barrier. These special properties and unique challenges in the production of argon have led to its strong demand and tight supply. A number of factors are currently affecting the supply and cost of argon, including energy costs, strong ties to the steel and petrochemical industries, and a geographical disparity in production and usage. Because of these challenges, it is critical to have a reliable supplier with the production facilities, distribution network and expertise to deliver argon where and when you need it.

To learn more about argon and how it can benefit many applications, read the full article.

> Read the article: Noble and Needed

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What's New

Get Your MS Online
Through Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) you can now earn a Master of Science (MS) degree in Materials Process Engineering online. The program offers 24/7 accessibility and all the convenience of online learning with WPI quality, WPI curriculum and WPI faculty. To learn more about WPI's Materials Process Engineering MS program contact WPI Corporate and Professional Education at mpeonline@wpi.edu or call 508-831-5517.

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Ask the Expert

Mark Lanham

Mark Lanham
Applications Engineer


Q: Can I determine where the oxidation on my heat treated parts is coming from within my furnace?

A: In a word, yes. Read Mark's full answer for details.

> Read Mark's full answer.

> View past "Ask the Expert" questions, answers and videos.

> Have a question for us? Contact us online.

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Where to Find Us

Our representatives hope to see you at these events to discuss your metals processing needs.

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Meet This Quarter's Metal Head
Tom Philips

Tom Philips

Sharing Knowledge
When you are one of the top experts in your field, what do you do? For Tom Philips, a senior principal metallurgical engineer at Air Products, the answer is simple. "I like helping people understand what they are doing, rather than telling them what to do," he states.

Tom certainly has a full background of knowledge to draw on. With more than 30 years in the metals industry, Tom is truly at the top of the powder metals field. He recently was awarded the prestigious "Distinguished Service to Powder Metallurgy Award" by the Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the powder metallurgy industry.

At Air Products, Tom is responsible for technical support for metals processing applications, both internationally and in the U.S., as well as training teams in Asia and China. He continues to enjoy the hands-on aspect of his work for the company and working with customers to find the solutions to their powder metal challenges. Additionally, Tom remains committed to the powder metals and heat treating industries, sharing his knowledge as a sought-after speaker on numerous industry topics.

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Useful Web Links

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Contact Us

You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at 800-654-4567, code 648, or by contacting us online.

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