The appointment of a new PurityPlus Chair, Food Packing, CBD Extraction and Cryo-Bio were some of the main talking points today here at the Annual IWDC PurityPlus Meeting in the Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

gasworld has joined many eager IWDC members at the Wild Dunes Resort, for a day filled of presentations, networking opportunities and team building activities in aid of the Annual Meeting.

Day one got off to a flying start with a welcome presentation from Rich Mansmann and Erica Janas from the IWDC who welcomed attendees and provided them with a glimpse of what’s to be expected over the coming days.

“Welcome everybody. I am so glad to have you all here at the Annual PurityPlus Meeting 2020,” said Janas.

“We are here because we are a cooperative and we cooperate. I have asked our vendors to speak on specific topics. We have six topics, eighteen speakers and fifteen vendors here with us.”

After her welcoming speech, Jones then went on to announce the appointment of a new PurityPlus Committee Chair, following the retirement of Ray Dillard, General Manager of Arc 3 Gases.

“We would like to announce Chuck Mazoch, President of Coastal Welding Supply as our new Chair,” Jones told attendees.

Following on from the announcement and greeting was gasworld’s Publisher and CEO, John Raquet, who shared his industrial gas knowledge with members.

Within his presentation titled the US Industrial Gases Market, Raquet discussed realities of the industrial gas industry, packaged gas markets, distributor activity, special gas markets, and the overall US industrial gases market. 

Welcoming attendees, Raquet said, “Good morning ladies and gentlemen. To kick start the event I am going to give you a simple overview of the industrial gases business today.”

Raquet explained to attendees that the 2019 US industrial gas market reached an estimated $22.5bn, highlighting a 5.5% rise compared to 2018. 

According to Raquet, the rise in the market was primarily driven by volume growth and pricing and impacted by a lower natural gas passthrough rate.

“The industry is becoming more profitable, and not just at the top end. There is now greater focus of efficiency and there is a swing towards high valued businesses – especially distributors.”

“The forecast growth is still positive despite some uncertainty and no-one is expecting a recession in 2020.”

In order to illustrate the US industrial gases market growth, Raquet presented charts to the audience. The charts displayed the US industrial gases market back in 2000 being worth $9.85bn which then rose in 2019 to $22.5bn. 

“There was a rollercoaster ride in gases,” he enthused.

Moving on to something more specific for PurityPlus attendees, Raquet then went on to examine the speciality gases business.

“There has been steady growth in speciality gases and the US is one of the most important speciality gases markets in the world. It is the largest speciality gases market in the world.”

“There is a superb opportunity in the speciality gases market.”

“The cost of setting up a speciality gas facility is much more affordable these days than it was 20 or 30 years ago, and more people are imparting their knowledge to you to help you grow your business.”

To summarise his presentation, Raquet concluded, “We are very optimistic about the US market. For the next five years we are looking at 4.3% growth for the total markets and 4.5% for packaged gases. That is real growth that is expected.”

Food Packaging

Food Packing was the next topic of conversation for the morning sessions, with presentations from Witt Food Packaging, Barnes Speciality Gases and ESAB.

First to present on the topic was David Bell, President and CEO at Witt Food Packaging, who shared his knowledge on Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). 

To begin his presentation Bell told the audience a little about the gases used in MAP.

“The basic concept of the MAP of fresh foods is the replacement of the air surrounding the food in the package with a mixture of atmospheric gases different in proportion from that of air,” he explained. 

“Increased shelf life is the goal when using MAP. The market used to be mainly for red meats, but today it is for everything.”

After informing attendees on the MAP innovation, Bell then went on to share his knowledge on the MAP Food Processing Guidelines including ISO 22000 which sets out the requirements for a food safety management system.

Bell then went on to inform the audience on Witt Food Packaging’s product offering including, gas mixtures, gas analysers, leak detection systems and ambient air monitoring.

Next to the stage was Chinmoy Bose, Director of Speciality Gases at Barnes Speciality Gases who talked about gases for food preservation to avoid unnecessary waste.

“Food preservation increases the shelf life and enhances the colour of the products – specifically in meats,” Bose told attendees.

Throughout his presentation, Bose went on to inform the audience about the different food preservation processes that are used for different food and beverage products, highlighting both the benefits and problem areas for each process. 

The final presentation for Food Packing came from Nick Wojinicz, Director of Speciality Gas Control at GCE/ESAB and Bill Kingsley Technical Sales Manager of Valves at ESAB.

To begin the presentation, Wojinicz informed the audience on the GCE brand and how it relates to ESAB, following the acquisition in October 2018.

ESAB acquires GCE

“It’s a company that has been around for over 100 years and was actually formed out of a merger between the welding businesses of AGA and ESAB,” he explains.

The pair then went on to explain about some of the company’s valve offerings, a little more about GCE’s products in MAP applications and finally discussed a new product offering which will be available in the second quarter.

CBD Extraction

Cannabidiol (CBD) Extraction was next on the agenda at the Palms Ballroom. Cannabis is a major growth industry for equipment and system manufacturers, and some US industrial gas distributors.

Discussing some of the product innovations and safety within the industry was, JP Stoneback Vice-President at Metro Welding and Justin Guitreau, Business Development Manager at Tekno Valve.

First to take to the stage was Stoneback, who shared his insights on the CBD Extraction market with attendees, discussing safety and the black market.

“At Metro Welding we have been selling various gases to the cannabis business for almost five years and it has been a good business for us.”

“Now 40 out of the 50 states have legalised medical or recreational marijuana. There are lots of different applications coming out, it seems like everyone is coming out with new applications for it.”

Within his presentation Stoneback highlighted that whilst lots of new applications are being developed and recognised, there is an issue with black market companies who cut corners when it comes to safety requirements.

“All of the equipment needs to be UL tested and certified. Safety is really important and educating your customers is imperative to ensure safe processes.”

“The nature of the market has created a lot of ‘chat room’ and ‘blogosphere’ sharing of the best practises and this at home experimentation is extremely dangerous,” he warned. 

Next up to talk under the topic of CBD Extraction was Justin Guitreau from Tekno Valves North America.

“Hello everyone. I am going to be piggybacking a bit off JP’s talk and will be talking about the cylinder valves that are most commonly used in CBD extraction.”

Guitreau went on to tell the audience about Tekno Valves’ product offering including its Offline Residual Pressure Valve (RPV) Series.

“We came up with a slogan for our RPVS’s – ‘Why replace 100% when 20% is damaged,” he tells the crowd.

“We keep all the pieces and parts of the valve in stock which can be replaced, helping you regain the added cost of using an RPV.”

To finish his presentation and the CBD Extraction presentations Guitreau then opened the floor to questions.


To end a busy morning of sessions, William Collins from Worthington Cylinders Life Sciences shared insights on Cryo-Bio with attendees.

In practice, Cryo-Bio – or Cryobiology – is the study of biological material or systems at temperatures well below what is considered as normal.

These ‘material or systems’ may include proteins, cells, tissues, organs or who organisms and ‘temperatures’ range from moderately hypothermic climates to positively frozen conditions.

Collins informed attendees on the vast array of life science products that Worthington offers to the US market including the LS Laboratory System, the K Series and the Lab Series.

Rounding up the end of the sessions Jones said, “That concludes our presentations for today, thank you to all the speakers and vendors.”

“Hopefully you are able to walk away with some information that will help you develop in the discussed markets.”

After a busy morning of presentations, IWDC members left the Palms Ballroom and then headed to a bourbon, beer and BBQ team building tour.

Day two of the IWDC PurityPlus Annual Meeting continues here in South Carolina tomorrow.

A full review of the IWDC PurityPlus Annual Meeting will be available on the gasworld website and in the upcoming March 2020 US edition of gasworld magazine.