Spring 2007, Issue 11
In This Issue












Quotes and Quips

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
— John F. Kennedy  

Contact Us
You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at 800-654-4567 code 496, or sending us an e-mail.


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Metals and Money

Understanding the movement of key industry indices helps to accurately forecast and plan. The graphs below were compiled by Air Products economists to illustrate three-year trends for utility and metals pricing as well as industrial production. We'll continue to keep you updated once a quarter.

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.

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MetalTech: Optimizing Heat Treating through Advanced Control

You can improve productivity and reduce costs in your metals processing operation through advanced sensor, control and optimization technology. With real-time process controls, you can measure and control critical variables such as quench severity, carburizing potential and nitriding potential, plus remotely monitor process variables and predict future behavior of furnace processes.

Air Products has developed unique advanced control techniques to optimize and reliably control its large manufacturing plants, resulting in substantial, sustainable benefits. These technologies can be readily transferred to the metals processing industry. Find out more about how Air Products' real-time process controls can help optimize your operation.

The author of this article, Jake Fotopoulos, Lead Process Controls Engineer at Air Products, was the keynote speaker at the Industrial Heating and Process Heating 2007 Control and Sensors Conference in May 2007.

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Joint Marketing Agreement Accelerates JMA Heat Treating Expansion

Continuing our work together, Air Products and Surface Combustion are helping JMA Heat Treat Services, Inc. of Houston, Texas efficiently expand its heat treating operation to satisfy their growing customer base.

To date, JMA has contracted for industrial gases and leased a state-of-the-art, automatically controlled gas nitriding system and an RX-3T endothermic gas generator. They have also recently signed a lease for a 36-48-36 Allcase® furnace line.

"We needed top-of-the-line heat treating equipment to meet the needs of a growing customer base. We didn't want to purchase all the equipment at the same time, and the Air Products and Surface Combustion commercial approach allowed us the flexibility to expand while keeping our cash flow healthy," says James Arnold, President of JMA.

Air Products and Surface Combustion have a combined 140 years of experience in the global metals industry. Under our joint marketing agreement, we offer comprehensive solutions that enable heat treat customers to reduce operating costs and enhance product quality and competitiveness. Together, our companies provide integrated product offerings to the heat treat industry, including a variety of industrial gases, services, technologies, atmosphere generating equipment, and thermal processing equipment. For an assessment of your operation, send us an e-mail or call 800-654-4567, code 496.

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Getting Thermal Spray Coating Under Control

For many thermal spray coating applications, it's crucial that parts do not experience temperatures outside of a closely set range. Forced air cooling combined with inter-pass breaks are commonly used to let the part cool before the next coating pass. However, this method often reduces productivity and wastes powder and process gases.

Air Products' new thermal spray cooling technology uses cryogenic nitrogen vapor (–320°F) for high quality thermal spray coatings that can be applied faster and at a lower cost than with traditional cooling methods. Our technology can cool twice as efficiently as shop air alone. Plus, part temperatures can be maintained within a +/–20° range during your thermal spray coating application, eliminating inter-pass cooling breaks. The result: powder and gas savings and better utilization of thermal spray equipment to lower your costs.

Compatible with existing thermal spray systems, Air Products' technology offers a variety of system designs for application-specific use. Learn more about Air Products' thermal spray cooling technology. We're also presenting papers about our new technology at AeroMat, FABTECH, and the quarterly ITSA meeting. See the bottom of this e-mail for more detail about these shows.

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National Fire Protection Association Revises Standard 86

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 86 recommends standards for furnaces and atmosphere generating equipment. This standard details the recommended design and safe operating procedures for a wide variety of furnaces, atmosphere generators, industrial gas supply systems and thermal processing equipment. As equipment and processes change and evolve, the code is constantly under review. It is revised and updated about every three years to reflect these changes. The 2007 edition was recently released.

Some of the more recent changes have broadened the code's scope. Now it's concerned with the adequacy of the industrial gas supply system used to provide furnace atmospheres and to purge furnaces using flammable atmospheres. It has been expanded in two key areas which address the following:

  • Capability of the gas supply systems to provide an adequate furnace purge volume
  • Communication between the industrial gas supply system and the plant's thermal processing equipment

The overall intent is to alert the facility operating personnel when there's an issue with the industrial gas supply system. These issues primarily include low tank level, low tank pressure or low gas temperature. The code wants operators to be notified when the tank level is below the point where adequate volume of purge gas is available. The code addresses adequate purge flow rate capability to prevent exposing carbon steel piping and components to cryogenic temperatures that cause embrittlement. This is accomplished by using a combination of properly sized ambient vaporizers, low temperature shutdown devices (except where there are flammable atmospheres, in which case alarms are recommended), and the use of cryogenic-compatible materials for piping and components.

Air Products has incorporated the recommendations of the code into an automated alarm and safety notification system, which can be customized for your liquid nitrogen supply. The system includes an alarm panel that is mounted inside the facility and several monitoring components installed on the nitrogen supply system. Please consult an Air Products engineer for more details at gigmrktg@airproducts.com or 800-654-4567, code 496.

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Ask the Expert

Russell Hewertson

Russell Hewertson
Manager of Combustion Technology



Q: Why are carbon dioxide emission limits necessary, and what can we do to meet them?

A: Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are climbing, and many experts believe it's a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. Recently, several states, the European Union and some other countries announced plans to control carbon dioxide emissions. A proposed idea to reduce emissions is to allow companies to trade credits. If companies emit less than they're permitted, they could sell their extra credits to companies that are otherwise over their limits. Then companies that reduce their emissions can receive revenue to offset related costs.

You can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by increasing combustion efficiency. Examples include tightening furnaces, installing heat recovery systems or using oxygen-assisted combustion. Air Products specialists can help you reduce your emissions. Call us at 800-654-4567, code 496 or send us an e-mail.

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

Have a question for us? Send it to gigmrktg@airproducts.com.

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Where to Find Us

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

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Meet This Quarter's Metal Head
Greg Buragino

Greg Buragino

Human blood types are categorized by the letters A, B, AB or O. But Greg Buragino's could very well be "Fe.". "Once you've worked with steel, it's in your blood" says Buragino, Air Products' Senior Principal Applications Engineer – Steel.

A 20-year industry veteran, the self-proclaimed "steel guy" now helps steel fabricating customers use Air Products' gases, like oxygen, nitrogen, and argon, and related technology. Buragino's experience, combined with the team of industrial gas specialists at Air Products, helps improve customers' productivity.

"Steel producers rely more on suppliers than they used to. They have higher expectations of us. We can bring more to the table than just gas molecules and gas handling equipment," Buragino says. "We can provide technical support, conduct assessments of their facility and help them become more profitable."

Buragino jokes that he's joined the "dark side"—being a vendor for his beloved steel industry. But because he's been there, he's really on the customer's side. "Air Products knows a lot about gas and delivery, and I understand what steel operators do for a living," he says. "I help bridge the gap between gas makers and steel makers."

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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 496, or by sending an email to gigmrktg@airproducts.com.

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© Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. 2007 330-07-081.2-US

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