Linde North America has achieved a significant construction milestone in its progress to build its newest air separation unit (ASU) in Adel, Georgia.

The main “cold box”, the heart of the plant, has now been successfully lifted into place. The cold box is so named because inside of it the incoming air temperature is lowered to cryogenic levels, where it liquefies and separates atmospheric air into the products Linde sells.

“Adding Adel to our existing network of ASUs in the U.S. Southeast is a great growth story for Linde,” said Chris Ebeling, Senior Vice-President of Sales & Marketing for Linde Americas. “We need the extra capacity to meet growing demand from new and existing customers, including food processors, glass and metals manufacturers, and healthcare providers.”

Linde began construction of the Adel, Georgia, ASU, in 2017. The plant is set to begin operating in Q1 2019, producing liquid atmospheric gases such as nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2), which will be trucked to customers in a variety of consumer markets.

“The safe arrival of the cold box is due to some great coordination and planning by the project team, especially in light of the challenges of moving a piece of equipment this large,” said Mark Alexion, Head of Business Development for Package Plant and Merchant Investments, Linde Americas. “We worked with local transportation departments to ensure potential driving routes did not include overhead obstructions and local roads were rated for the cold box’s significant weight. In Georgia alone, this included navigating over and under 17 bridges.”

Lifting the cold box into place required a detailed and complex lifting plan, developed and approved by a team of experts. It was completed in mid-May using two cranes, the larger of which was rated for 440 tonnes, to ensure the equipment was carefully shifted and safely secured into place. Installation of two liquid O2 storage tanks will also occur this month.

Linde announced plans to construct this new, large-scale ASU in Adel, Georgia in January 2017. Once completed, the plant is expected to create up to 35 new, permanent jobs in the local community, in addition to temporary jobs during the construction phase. Linde currently operates more than 10 sites in Georgia and employs 570 employees statewide.