Linde Gases, a division of The Linde Group, has announced it is making a significant investment in expanding and upgrading its specialty gases production and supply plant in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The €1.12m injection is for complete re-engineering of the existing site into a state-of-the-art facility, in order to better support the growing demands of the company’s sub-Saharan African customer base.

The upgraded plant, which recently went into full production, will include a world class laboratory for the analysis, testing, validation and certification of high purity gases and calibration gas mixtures.

It is being retro-fitted by Linde’s South Africa-based subsidiary, African Oxygen Ltd (Afrox).

“We are proud to be able to announce the launch of this state-of-the-art plant in Johannesburg,” said Steve Harrison, Head of Specialty Gases and Specialty Equipment, Linde.

“Africa is an important growth market for our HiQ® specialty gases business and getting our production and supply capabilities nearer to our customers is critical to achieving this growth. The fact that we have delivered this investment during these harsh economic times is a sign of Linde’s real commitment to Africa.”

The new plant will enable Linde to produce a greater range of specialty gases mixtures on-site under its HiQ® product range newly launched in Africa, thereby reducing customer lead times from as much as four to five weeks down to two weeks.

The wider range of calibration gases will also help those customers employing the latest monitoring and detection technology – including the major petrochemicals, metals and mining companies across South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Angola and Nigeria - to comply with more stringent environmental legislation, in addition to helping them advance continued improvements in health and safety.

African food growers, food processing and packaging industries, which represent increasingly important export industries for the continent, will also benefit from faster production and supply logistics.

While most of the outlay will be capital expenditure for new equipment, including liquid storage tanks, pumps, filling manifolds and analytical equipment, a significant amount has been invested in making the plant more environmentally friendly in order to avoid any negative impact on the local community and the environment at large.

In addition to silencers installed to mitigate noise pollution, the company is installing scrubbers to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.