Yesterday, Food Packing, CBD Extraction and Cryo-Bio were the main talking points here at the Wild Dunes Resort in South Carolina.

Today Independent Welding Distribution Cooperative (IWDC) members gathered back in the Palms Ballroom for day two of the IWDC Purity Plus Annual Meeting.

Today gasworld joined 100 attendees to listen to presentations under the topics of Helium, Data and Communication, and Quality and ISO 17025.

After a 7:30 breakfast, speakers, members and vendors, all gathered back in the Ballroom for three informative presentations from Air Products, Concoa and CryoVation under the subject of helium.

Helium

The first session of the day was delivered by Wally Nelson, General Manager of Global Helium and Rare Gases at Air Products who provided attendees with an update of the helium supply situation.

Nelson joined Air Products back in 1990 and is responsible for the growth and profitability of the company’s global helium and rare gases businesses and also serves as Vice-President of Air Products Helium, a wholly owned subsidiary of the company.

Next to present on the topic was Richard Green, National Sales Manager at Concoa who told the audience about a variety of helium equipment solutions.

“I want to begin by thanking you for a great 2019. There are always competitive technologies and that is why we are here, because we are all innovators.”

“Today I am not here to sell you products. I am here to help you grow your customer base. We want you to grow and we are here to strengthen our companies,” he explained.

Green then went on to share Concoa’s business growth and success over the past few years and shared the importance of smaller businesses getting involved with organisations such as the FDA, the DOD and the DOE.

Customer feedback was another key discussion during Green’s topic as he explained, “Every time a customer expresses a need, it represents an opportunity.”

“When you look at Concoa, when we look at short supply, or Iook at the market, I see opportunity.”

“And what I do get excited about, is introducing new technologies that help you to meet your customer needs and help you to grow your customer base.”

The third and final presentation under the subject helium came from Joe Bernacki, Director of Special Products at CryoVation.

“My discussion today is going to be on helium conservation, the right equipment, cylinder preparation, filling strategies, helium losses, and purification.” 

Bernacki shared information on CryoVation’s valve offering, highlighting the different components of the discussed valves before moving on to talking about helium compressors.

“I want to also talk to you about our Helio Surge, electrically driven helium booster pump.”

“It reduces fill time at lower fill temperatures, the portable design can be pad mounted or mobile using a cryogenic dewar and zero impurities are imparted to the gas product,” he explained.

Much like Green, Bernacki also discussed innovations that were driven by the customer, leading to the seeing the opportunity for innovation.

“We have our Skidder Purifier Systems, the Fusion-10 Speciality Gas Blending System, the Arc6 Argon Purifier, the Cryo Helium Purifier and the DeOxo and DeHydro Purifiers, all of which were customer driven.”

Bernacki ended his presentation with a short video which illustrated the CryoVation’s work on a number of filling plants before opening the floor to questions.

Data and Communication

Data and Communication was the next subject on the agenda for the IWDC Meeting. Anthony Bliss from the FBI gave a gripping presentation titled: Reporting Suspicious Requests for Quotations.

After Bliss was Matthew Adams, Executive Vice-President at Electronic Fluorocarbons who presented on vendor value, communication and growth. 

During his time on the stage, Adams provided the audience with a variety updates from Electronic Fluorocarbons and told attendees how the company is continuing to serve its growing customer base.

“Electronic Fluorocarbons has recently opened a research and development facility which will provide growth to Electronic Fluorocarbon’s portfolio beyond our existing legacy products,” Adams told members.

“We have very aggressive growth plans as I’m sure everybody in this room does. We are looking at hitting those growth plans by adding new products, expanding upon our current product line and differentiating the products that we offer.” 

Referring back to the theme of a lot of yesterday’s presentations, Adams then went on to discuss how the Electronic Fluorocarbons differentiates and adds additional value to its products in order to grow business and margins.

“Every little thing that we can provide, every distinction, helps us to win business in the market.”

“There is some much competition in gas industry, so everything we can provide, every little difference can help us be better in the marketplace.”

Adams then went on to talk about Electronic Fluorocarbon’s free training offering and pointed out that some of the Wednesday attendees had actually taken part in the training.

“Now Electronic Fluorocarbons provides technical training. We can do it at your site, we can do it at our site, whatever works best.”

“It is very valuable training and we have received a lot of positive feedback,” he enthused.

Next to present under the Data and Communication topic was Sam Fatoohi, Head of Business Development at Pulsa, who’s main topic of discussion was telemetry data to streamline operations.

Fatoohi welcomed attendees by informing the them on Pulsa as an overall company.

“We are a leading industrial gas telemetry provider with sensor solutions across bulk, dewar and high-pressure tanks.”

“We are currently working with 100 different distributors across North America, around 20 of which are in this room today.”

After his introduction to the company, Fatoohi then told IWDC members about some of Pulsa’s sensor offerings he brought along to the meeting, all of which were wireless.

Fatoohi then went on to talk about telemetry in general and what has been happening in bulk gases and cylinders for telemetry, noting the trends and how Pulsa sensors can be deployed.

In order to showcase to attendees how Pulsa products can enhance businesses, Fatoohi then shared two case studies from Pulsa customers, DuPuy Oxygen and Sidney Lee.

Up next was to speak Don Renna, Sales Equipment Manager at Weldcoa along with Steve Tarrant, Speciality Gas Manager at WeldStar.

Before Renna took to the stage to inform the audience about Weldcoa and its product offering, Tarrant shared with attendees WeldStar’s experience in partnering with Weldcoa following its new lab opening in 2019.

“We brought several pieces of equipment from Weldcoa for our new speciality gas lab,” Tarrant explains.

“I was nervous as heck about this equipment because I am old school and automation scares me.”

“So, we commissioned the lab, and we decided to undertake a lot of testing on the new equipment.”

“And let me tell you this, we got about half-way through the plan to test all the equipment and I stopped it. I was already very satisfied,” he enthused.

Following on from Tarrant, Renna said, “I just wanted to you to hear from Steve rather than me how we partner with our customers.”

Renna then continued the presentation by informing the audience on the Weldcoa product line and its facility for speciality gas training which opened nine years ago.

“We call it our innovation centre as well as our training centre because we do a lot of research and development there. We can do a lot of experiments are trial a load of things there,” he explained.

Much like Electronic Fluorocarbons, Renna also told the crowd about Weldcoa’s training offering.

“We have just started industrial training. We had one in October and it sold out in two or three days, so we had to hold another one in November and the next one is going to be in April.”

To end the Data and Communication sessions, David Schaer, President of Computers Unlimited took to the stage with his presentation based on IoT to improve businesses with emphasis with a new Computers Unlimited app, TIMS Delivery.

“It’s not just about creating new systems, it’s also making the existing systems smarter,” Schaer enthused in reference to the smartphone.

Schaer provided the IWDC audience with an in-depth guide on the TIMS Delivery smartphone app which can help companies to enhance their deliveries by tracking the driver, highlighting the best routes and providing delivery times.

“Tremendous amount of data can come from the smartphone,” Schaer said.

Schaer’s presentation concluded a busy morning of informative sessions. IWDC members then had an hour lunch break before returning for the second half of the day where Quality and ISO 17025 was the main focus.

Quality and ISO 17025

First to speak under the topic of Quality and ISO 17025 was Thomas Badstubner, Owner of AsteRisk which was founded in 1993 to provide safety, technical support and compliance assistance to industrial gas companies.

Badstubner shared a series of stories with attendees to highlight the importance of accurate measuring and assessments within the speciality gas business.

Next up was Douglas Bery, Testing Programme Manager from Perry Johnson Laboratories (PJLA) who provided attendees with an ISO accreditation overview.

“We have currently accredited over forty gas laboratories both for testing and calibration. Many of these are PurityPlus organisations,” he revealed. 

Some of the PurityPlus members listed as being PJLA accredited included: A-OX Welding Supply, Metro Welding Supply, Wright Brothers and Coastal Speciality Gas.

“As PurityPlus organisations you have an advantage. You have cooperation, access to key industry figures such as consultants and proficiency providers, and you have common, validated procedures and work instructions,” he said.

Geoff Delbridge, Director of Operations from Tier 5 Labs was the last speaker of the day and began with providing the audience with a background about Tier 5 including how the company started out and its product offering.

“Tier 5 Labs began back in 2013 to provide the independent gas distributor with an independent option as the source of hard to produce and source materials,” he said.

After a company introduction and informing the crowd on some of Tier 5’s current focuses, Delbridge then proceeded to share how the company intends to move forward in 2020. 

“We are looking to place additional analytical purchases to broaden our NOx capabilities and ppb level standards.”

“The reaccreditation of Tier 5 to ISO 17025:2017 & 17034:2016 is also scheduled for February, and we are looking to update standards to drive change and to increase analytical precision and decrease order cycle times.”

Delbridge’s presentation marked the end of the presentations here in the Palms Ballroom at the Wild Dunes Resort. Following the sessions, IWDC members then headed to the Palms rooms for the Vendor Tabletop Expo.

Tonight, PurityPlus attendees will head to the closing reception and dinner back at the Tides Ballroom for an evening of celebrations.

Day three 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.