The All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association saw unprecedented success this week, with some 350 delegates from as far divergent locale’s as Nebraska to Chennai flying in to attend the definitive Indian industrial gas fixture of the year.

The 34th Seminar of its kind, dubbed, ‘Growth in Industrial Gases Through Application Technology’ held at Dubai’s, The Atlantis The Palm began with a beachfront pre-registration cocktail evening and cultural dinner on 9th January. Sponsored by Cryolor Asia Pacific and co-hosted by Everest Kanto Cylinder Ltd., the conference appetiser offered an opportunity for delegates to congregate before two full days of presentations, exhibitions, technical sessions and hospitality.

The Seminar gathered pace on Tuesday when a prestigious cohort gathered to launch the official programme. Chief Guest of Honour, His Excellency Shri M K Lokesh, the Indian President’s Ambassador joined Chief Guest, His Excellency Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Ministry of Foreign Trade, alongside Saket Tiku, Vice President of AIIGMA, R S Sachdeva Vice President of AIIGMA and Karan Bhatia, President of AIIGMA on stage to officiate proceedings.

Early programme highlights included a surprise presentation from Sanjiv Lamba, Executive Board Member of tier one company, The Linde Group. Entitled, ‘Global Gases Industry - A journey to the East’, Lamba provided seasoned advice regarding three key megatrends affecting the industry, before discussing ways in which the industry can manage change and maximise opportunity.

He advised, “The world as we know it tomorrow will be very different. In particular we will see change on three horizons; the megatrends of growth markets, clean energy and healthcare.” He continued, “We estimate that over the next 20 years, up to 2030, we will see a whole new market opening up, the future really does lie here - with €35bn growth in the gas market alone.”

Indeed, Lamba’s presentation emphasised the import of association events such as AIIGMA, particularly since Asia will contribute between €18-20bn of global sector growth if industry predictions are correct. But in keeping with the Association’s direct approach, talk moved onto ways in which industry members can facilitate this change and ensure that predictions are met, if not surpassed.

Before breaking for lunch, sponsored by Bhuruka Gases Ltd., delegates were called upon to engage in commercial self-analysis, Lamba closed, “My challenge to you is will you really be ready for the economic growth? We have no option but to acknowledge that we must handle this but we also need to prioritise issues such as service and safety standards… In our drive and passion to achieve great heights, we are often willing to sacrifice aspects of the industry at large. But I believe there is a place for every player, large and small, in the future markets - What role they play must be something that evolves over time.”

On this apt note delegates adjourned for lunch, before returning for the first technical session. Chaired by Lamba and co-ordinated by Michael Blondin, Director of Global Sales and Marketing for VRV, the first session promised an in-depth discussion of topics as divergent and detailed as Clean Energy in LNG transport and terminals, to engineering enhancements in ASU Turbo Expanders. The promise was realised as delegates enjoyed a trio of fascinating exposes.

Shell-N-Tube’s Shankar Ghosh gave delegates a great insight into the company’s work with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Specifically, Shell-N-Tube’s involvement in the launch of the GEO Synchronous Launch Vehicle MK3, scheduled for 2013.

Samuel Zouaghi of Cryostat followed with a insightful presentation on LNG transport and terminal. He highlighted the vast similarities between our industry’s equipment used to transport industrial gases and that which is used to transport and store LNG. He said, “This is an area of great opportunity for the industrial gas business; despite LNG and industrial gases being very different in terms of their customers and applications, the cryogenic processing of these gases is performed with the same equipment, compressors expanders and heat exchangers for example, and liquefaction systems that are constructed on the same basis, whatever the type of gas, there are only a few modifications - the fundamental technology remains the same.”

Closing technical session one was ACD’s Yousef Jarrah. Jarrah gave an overview of Turboexpanders, detailing all aspects from assembly to testing. He stressed cryogenic industries’ dedication to the Turboexpander business, emphasizing the fact that its experience has now passed the 50 year point.

Following a reprieve, the final technical session for the day concluded with presentations from INOXCVA’s Savir Julka, a familiar face to gasworld, and Helmut Reichenauer of Worthington Cylinders. Julka looked at industrial gas applications in onshore and offshore operations. He mapped up-stream processes, from surveying, exploration and drilling, appraisal, to development, production and decommissioning / rehabilitation. He finished by forecasting future developments in the oil and gas industry specifically looking at shale gas, Coal Bed Methane (CBM), and tight gas, as areas of opportunity.

Helmut Reichenauer presented, “New UN US Regulatory Developments 3/2 versus 5/3 TP/WP Considerations, State of the Art Cylinder Design Features”. He offered a thorough presentation which included information on typical split of test pressures, cylinder design standards, and tensile strength requirements. The presentation centered around India’s cylinder business, and the changes being implemented that are likely to affect many of the delegates present in Dubai.
The first day was closed by Ravin Merchandani, Managing Director of Cryolor Asia Pacific: “Tonight there will be a Gala Dinner hosted by AIIGMA’s Platinum sponsor, Eurotech Cylinders. It is sure to be a fantastic event to round of a fantastic first day.”

Day 2
After an evening of elaborate hospitality courtesy of platinum sponsor, Eurotech Cylinders, delegates reconvened in the auditorium for technical sessions three and four.

Rohit Behani, Executive at Tekno Valves will commenced proceedings with his presentation entitled, “Use of Residual Pressure Valves Challenges and Opportunities for Indian Subcontinent.” He considered the unique challenges and opportunities presented by residual pressure valves in the context of the Indian Subcontinent. In particular, Behani cautioned delegates to fully understand the integration of RPV valves and offered insights into the best route for customers to upgrade their technology.

Following on from this, Michael Blondin, Director of Global Sales & Marketing at VRV, provided his informed take on safety in distribution and equipment selection. Calling upon startling photography of rollovers, he highlighted the primary causes of trailer accidents and the three key ways to improve vehicle stability, namely attention to centre of gravity, wheelbase width and roll stability support (RSS).

The final session of the event saw Ravin Merchandani return to the stage with, “Debottlenecking Cylinder Filling Operations Use of Thermosiphon versus Conventional Tanks.” In his technical presentation he highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of conventional tanks versus thermosiphon tanks, he noted, “As you can see the disadvantages of conventional tanks heavily outweigh the advantages.

And finally, Herose’s Keith Stewart considered technically developed valve solutions. Stewart opened, “Equipment Manufacturers are under increasing pressure these days to reduce their costs as the market segment continues to grow rapidly.” He drew attention to expansion in China, design enhancements within the North American market, as well as the growth of automated filling in regions such as South Africa.

Before drawing to a close for AIIGMA’s 36th Annual General Meeting, Rohit Behani was acknowledged for offering the best technical paper. Guests and exhibitors then took the Inox CVA and Ahmednagar Industrial Gases Pvt. Ltd. sponsored lunch as an opportunity for final networking.

This evening delegates will be treated to a dessert experience for a cultural programme, cocktails and dinner sponsored by KVK Corporation & Weldcoa, Matheson K-Air, Luxfer Gas Cylinders and VRV Spa respectively.