BOC Australia, a member of leading gases and engineering company The Linde Group, has unveiled a new $20m specialty gases production facility and $15m robot cylinder automation system at its Sydney Operations Centre in Wetherill Park.

The new investments were officially opened by Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and Minister for Western Sydney, the Hon. Stuart Ayres MP at a ceremony attended by dignitaries, customers and staff.

John Evans, BOC South Pacific Managing Director, said the new specialty gases facility will increase BOC’s capacity to locally produce and supply over 8,000 high purity and specialty gases to many high value industries in Australia – from science and medical research, to manufacturing and energy exports.

Evans said, “BOC is proud to be expanding our specialty gases capability to meet future demand for high precision gas mixtures and support Australia’s vibrant research and knowledge-based economy as it continues to grow.”

“With leading edge laboratory technology and a highly experienced team of chemists, the new facility offers the best in quality, precision and safety – allowing BOC to supply many scientific and calibration gases in almost half the time and at higher packaging pressures.”

Embracing the new era of advanced manufacturing and digital technology, BOC also revealed a robot cylinder automation system that has transformed the way cylinders are sorted, picked and moved around the busy production site. The system is a world-first application of a six-axis robot combined with four turntables that can see, pickup and handle cylinders.

“Designed with global experts and local engineers, the system integrates advanced laser vision technologies, automated guide vehicles, robots and 3D cameras.”

John Evans, BOC South Pacific Managing Director

Evans continued, “The launch of this cylinder automation system is a landmark moment for BOC, driving a competitive advantage, and representing a significant safety investment for the Sydney Operations Centre, which produces more than 1.3 million cylinders each year.”

“Designed with global experts and local engineers, the system integrates advanced laser vision technologies, automated guide vehicles, robots and 3D cameras – which has successfully automated manual handling processes and introduced new skills of the future into BOC’s workforce,” added Evans.

Professor Dr. Aldo Belloni, CEO, The Linde Group, said this state-of-the-art automation is a clear example of the cutting-edge innovation that is seen across The Linde Group globally.

He said, “Innovation is in our DNA. The Linde Group pride ourselves on being the world leaders in innovation in the gases industry, and BOC in Australia is leading the new era of automation. With the addition of the new world class special gases facility, the Sydney Operations Centre is not only one of the busiest production sites within the Linde Group but is now at the forefront of integration and automation in production globally.”

Sanjiv Lamba, Member of the Executive Board, Linde AG, and Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific, said the BOC Sydney Operations Centre is a world-class manufacturing facility that exceeds Australian and international industry standards, furthering BOC’s position as a leading industrial gas supplier in the Asia Pacific region.

Lamba explained, “With increased capacity and efficient production technology, BOC’s new specialty gases facility is strongly positioned to export Australian-made product to Asia’s emerging electronics, manufacturing and medical markets. This will be particularly important as demand for specialty gases in the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow significantly over the next five years.”

BOC has invested more than $130m at the Sydney Operations Centre since it was opened. The site has a cylinder maintenance centre, dedicated medical gas filling facility, dissolved acetylene plant, nitrous oxide plant, specialty gases production facility and dry ice production facility.