Fall 2004, Issue 2              

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

– Henry Ford


Contact Us

You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at 800-654-4567 code 204, or sending us an e-mail.

If you are having trouble viewing the graphics, click here to view the newsletter online.

For accurate forecasting and planning, it helps to understand the movement of key industry indices. The following graphs, compiled by Air Products' economists, 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
Source: US Federal Reserve Bank Board of Governors
Click here to view larger version.

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

Steel Prices
Source: Global Insight
Click here to view larger version.

Key Metals Prices
Source: London Metals Exchange
Click here to view larger version.

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Motor maker finds pure solution to annealing problems

A top global supplier of reliable, high-performance electric motors, A.O. Smith sought to make further improvements in its production process. (After all, market leaders are never content with "good enough.")

"We were looking to eliminate carbon monoxide to maximize the magnetic properties of our motor laminates—and, of course, we were looking for cost savings," says A.O. Smith's Jerry Shrout, Plant Manager at the Mt. Sterling, Ky., facility. "Our exothermic generators simply weren't giving us the atmosphere consistency we required."

What did Air Products replace the exothermic generators with? And how did the decision impact quality, reliability and safety? Read the whole story.

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Don Bowe

Don Bowe
Sr. Principal Developmental Engineer

Q: How can I extend the life of stainless steel belts used in our continuous sintering furnaces?
A: While many variables—including the belt alloy, initial break-in procedure, wire gauge and tracking—impact the life of a stainless steel belt, you can realize dramatic improvements by adjusting the sintering atmosphere. Get Don's full answer.

View the "Ask the Experts" archive.

Send us your questions. Each quarter, we'll select the most challenging question to win a $100 gift certificate.

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New helium recycling system saves money, resources

This article was first published in the September 2004 issue of Industrial Heating magazine.

Despite being a finite, nonrenewable resource, helium is seldom recycled. However, Air Products' experience shows that metal treaters can cut their helium costs by up to one-third by recovering and/or recycling this valuable gas.

Because every metal treater's requirements for helium recovery and recycling are different, Air Products can customize the most effective system, taking into consideration purity requirements of your specific process, operating pressures, flow rates and overall use.

Get the whole story. (PDF, 1MB)

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Mark Lanham
A true "metal head" earlier in his life (Iron Maiden was his favorite band, but cut him a break, it was the '80s), Mark Lanham now rocks the heat treating and metals processing world instead.

Bringing over 17 years of specialized expertise in the industry, he provides technical support for customers who use gas in heat treating and brazing as well as other processes. He offers various types of assistance, such as technical support, designing equipment to meet customers' needs and overall commercial support.

And he's ready to help when called. Recently, Mark and his team helped resolve a customer's problem quickly by replacing a damaged panel, allowing the customer to get up and running in no time.

In a way, Mark carries his interest in metal from his professional life into his free time by picking up a nine iron—among other clubs—on the weekends.

A member of ASM International and Metal Powder Industries Federation, Mark resides with his wife and two children outside of St. Louis. He is looking forward to the upcoming hunting season with his three dogs.

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Introduction to metals processing assessment center

Are you employing the best practices in the heat treating industry?

To help you find out, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. and ASM International are happy to introduce the “Metals Processing Assessment Center,” an online tool that compares your practices with the best in the business.

After a 10-minute assessment, the interactive tool will immediately generate a report that evaluates your practices, recommends enhancements to your operations and provides a detailed roadmap on what savings you could realize in your operation.

The opportunity to learn doesn’t stop there. Taking the assessment can qualify you for a trip to the four-day “Heat Treating Head of the Class” seminar at ASM International’s headquarters in Materials Park, Ohio, on a to-be-determined date in October 2005. During the seminar you can learn about best practices in the Heat Treating industry from ASM International’s world renowned teaching staff. Topics may include:

  • Heat treating and atmosphere safety
  • Atmosphere composition and costs
  • Latest environment and safety regulations and compliance (EPA and OSHA)
  • Gas/metal interactions and chemistry
  • Process auditing techniques and six sigma
  • Long-term economic outlooks and costs
For contest details, visit the website.

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Watch us make industrial gases out of thin air

Ever wonder how oxygen, nitrogen and argon are produced?

Come to the next Air Products plant tour in your area and find out. We're offering an inside look at our multimillion-dollar air separation plants.

At Air Products, we help metals customers around the world keep operating costs down and productivity high-with cost-effective, reliable supply of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, argon and other gases. You're invited to meet some of our people and see the Air Products difference in action.

Upcoming tours:

  • Conyers, GA—Nov. 10, 2004
  • Other locations and dates to be determined
To reserve your spot for our Conyers tour, call:
800-654-4567, code 197, by Monday, November 1.

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Our representatives will be at the following trade shows. We hope to see you there to discuss your metals processing needs.

  • ASM Materials Solutions Conference and Expo—Oct 18–20, 2004, Columbus, Ohio
  • Metal Powder Industries Federation Conference—June 19–23, 2005, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • 23rd Heat Treating Conference & Exposition—Sept 25–28, 2005, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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You can request more information or any of the documents referenced in this issue by calling us at 800-654-4567 code 204, or sending us an e-mail.

© Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. 2004