Air Products (NYSE: APD), a leading global industrial gasesand performance materials supplier, has recently completed further expansion of its state-of-the-art Asia Technology Center in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai, China.
The expansion will accelerate the development of industrial gas applications and solutions for general industries, as well as the electronics industry, to support increasing demands in these high growth markets in China and across Asia.
Air Products was the first global industrial gas company to establish a research and development (R&D) capability in China when it set up its Asia Technology Center in 2005 with initial focus on its performance materials business. The facility has already been through one expansion cycle in 2007. The recent expansion, which will double the lab footprint and R&D staff numbers over the next year, makes the Asia Technology Center the company’s second largest R&D facility in the world.
This expansion, built on the existing capabilities serving high growth performance materials segments including polyurethane chemicals, and epoxy and specialty additives for coatings, inks, adhesives and related markets, adds standard laboratories and high-bay space for industrial gas applications, product and process R&D, and analytical and testing capabilities for other key growth markets. These include metals processing, electronics packaging and assembly, industrial cryogenics, water treatment and energy applications.
“Innovation is a core value of Air Products. Developing sustainable and cost-effective applications to help customers meet increasing challenges, be they on tightening environmental regulations or return on investment, has been our focus,” said Monty Alger, vice president and chief technology officer of Air Products. “Asia and China in particular represent a high growth region for Air Products. Customer requirements here are unique. Leveraging our cutting edge technologies around the world and further expanding our R&D capabilities in China will enable us to accelerate our development to serve customers with speed, cost efficiency and product quality.”
Air Products has also established other R&D capabilities in Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand with each facility having specific market focus. All of these regional centers are fully integrated into the company’s global innovation network, and they complement and support one another by leveraging the company’s strength in materials and surface science, clean energy, applications technology and engineering excellence.
“Asia and especially China are growth engines for Air Products. The demand for industrial gases and gas applications has been increasing along with the strong economic growth in the region,” said Choon Seong Saw, Asia vice president, liquid bulk and generated gases, for Air Products. “We have been increasing our gases production capacities and have built a strong supply network to meet customers’ demands. This latest step to expand our Asia Technology Center’s capabilities will bring Air Products closer to our customers helping them achieve success through reliable supply and cutting edge solutions.”
Air Products also has been increasing its R&D partnership with several leading universities and institutes in Asia such as Tianjin University and has recently concluded a number of Memoranda of Understanding and R&D contracts. These external partnerships promote a constructive collaboration of ideas and insights for Air Products’ customers throughout the Asia region and bring value to the company’s university partners through proactive engagement with Air Products’ scientists on commercially important programs that have societal benefits.
In addition, many of the company’s proprietary applications technologies are designed to create a better and greener environment. Some examples are its oxy-fuel technology for cleaner combustion, gasification and capture of carbon emissions; nitrogen inerting technology for more environmentally friendly soldering in electronics assembly processes; and hydrogen fuel cell technology for cleaner burning transportation fuels, among many others.
As one of the first multinational gases companies investing in China and having served this market for over 20 years, Air Products has established strong local capabilities which include an engineering center, a cryogenic equipment manufacturing center, a strategic sourcing center and the Shanghai technology center to serve the China, Asia and global markets.