Winter 2006, Issue 9
In This Issue

Quotes and Quips

“Individual commitment to a group effort—that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
— Vince Lombardi  

Contact Us
You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at 800-654-4567 code 449, or sending us an e-mail.

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Metals and Money

Understanding the fluctuation of key indices can help you forecast and plan for your own operation. 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.


Metal Tech: Atmosphere Plays Vital Role in Sintering Process

With increasing demands on the properties of sintered components used in the automotive industry, it is no longer sufficient to merely obtain better properties. Consistency must also be obtained.

Although many variables are considered to improve consistency, many overlook the sintering atmosphere as a variable. While most of the variables are established during the design stage of the component, the atmosphere can change during the sintering process, which ultimately influences the product's final properties and consistency. As a result, sintering atmosphere control is critical with sinter-hardenable, alloyed products.

Air Products and Surface Combustion can help optimize your sintering operation. We can analyze your operation to help you determine which atmosphere is best for your process.

To find out how you can improve your sintering atmosphere—resulting in better, more consistent properties—read this article (PDF, 529 K) or contact us.


Pulling Gases from This Air: How Cryogenic Air Separation Works

Dry air contains, by volume, 21% oxygen, 78% nitrogen, almost 1% argon, trace amounts of carbon dioxide, hydrogen, other gases, and varying amounts of water vapor and pollutants. So how does Air Products cryogenically separate out these gases to produce gas so pure that we measure impurities in parts per million? This illustration demystifies the process.

To have Air Products help you with your gas supply, contact us or call 800-654-4567, code 449. Or if you're interested in touring one of our plants near you, give us a call, or contact your local ASM chapter.


The Effects of Nitrogen—Liquid and Gaseous—on Aluminum Extrusion Productivity

As an effective inert shroud, gaseous nitrogen has been used for some time in the aluminum extrusion industry to reduce the formation of oxides on the exit side of the die bearing. Liquid nitrogen can be employed as a cooling medium as well as an inerting agent. Die cooling has been shown to lower extrusion process temperatures and contribute to increased extrusion velocities.

One can usually lower press costs and improve extrusion velocities by using either liquid nitrogen or gaseous nitrogen—especially as the relative active cycle becomes a larger portion of the total cycle (i.e., shorter dead cycle intervals, longer billets, etc.). Higher extrusion velocities have helped our customers increase production without adding lines.

For more detailed information about using gaseous and liquid nitrogen to enhance aluminum extrusion, read the full article (PDF, 4MB) or contact us.


What's New

West Coast Sales Engineer Wanted
Air Products is looking to expand our applications team to provide additional support to the metals industry on the West Coast. We are looking for commercially oriented engineers who have experience working in or selling to the aerospace industry or its supply chain. In addition to a general metallurgical processing background, the successful candidate will have experience in providing product applications support in at least one of the following areas related to the aerospace industry: heat treating, thermal spray applications, welding, or general fabrication techniques. Along with a degree in engineering or metallurgy, the ideal candidate will have an MBA or equivalent business experience. If you think you can be successful working independently with key decision makers at aerospace and metal fabrication companies located along the West Coast of the U.S. to create commercial opportunities for our industrial gases and related equipment, apply online at
Click on Career Center in the left navigation bar and apply for job #24381—Aerospace Industry Engineer. Air Products is an equal opportunity employer.


Ask the Expert

Annemarie Weist

Annemarie Weist
Senior Principal Research Engineer

Q: Our gas quenching process uses a lot of gas and then vents it. Can we purify and reuse that gas?

A: Depending on impurities, gas volumes and ease of capture, many gases can be and are recycled. Discover how and improve your recycling today.

As seen in Industrial Heating, past "Ask the Expert" questions can be viewed at

Learn whether you're following best practices in atmosphere supply and other operational areas by assessing your process at

Send us a question. Each quarter we'll select the most challenging question to win a $100 gift certificate.
Congratulations to Elliott Frauenglass, last quarter's winner.


Where to Find Us

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


Meet This Quarter's Metal Head
Guido Plicht

Guido Plicht Don't be deceived if Guido Plicht appears relaxed when he's working on a heat treatment problem for a customer. Behind his tranquil appearance is a vigorous, ruminating mind.

"I'm a patient person, and in this business you need to be patient," says Plicht, European Metals Processing Commercial Technology Lead. "Solving problems is like doing research or development. You will encounter difficulties along the way. If you're not patient, you will not get results."

The Germany-based Plicht travels extensively throughout Europe helping Air Products' customers get the most out of their heat treating processes. And although he sees common issues from customer to customer, he frequently encounters new demands where his persistence and the teamwork of his colleagues come in handy.

"One customer asked us to find a way to purify his off-gas system to recycle gas. Another wanted to use liquid nitrogen to reduce rust problems on his cold rolling strip," says the 15-year Air Products veteran. "You tap your own experience and talk with others inside Air Products—for example, our Cryogenic group has expertise with liquid nitrogen. And you work closely with customers. It's a process of putting together the pieces of a puzzle.

"But we always look at problems over the long term. It allows you to see and understand the whole process. In the end, the new problems that are the most challenging are the ones that make this job fun."


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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 449, or by sending an email to


© Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. 2006 330-07-041.1-US

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