Air Products today announced it has expanded the capabilities of three packaged gases plants to primarily serve the increasing needs of the country’s high-growth metal fabrication industries.

The $10m expansion was recently completed when three new state-of-the-art gas transfills were brought onstream. The three plants, located in Kunshan, Guangzhou and Tianjin, China, are now capable of supplying Air Products’ differentiated Linx® gas regulators and range of shielding gases and other industrial gases.

These products support welding, cutting and other processes for metal fabrication in the country’s three most developed economic zones, Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Bohai Gulf, where traditional industries are experiencing accelerated transformation.

“This investment supports Air Products’ commitment to the metal fabrication business in China,” said Kurt Lefevere, general manager of Asia Packaged Gases at Air Products.

“By expanding these strategically located plants, we have enhanced our supply capabilities and distribution network in some of China’s most important manufacturing bases.”

According to Air Products’ analysis, the metal fabrication segment has been the largest market for packaged gases in China since 2008. To stay competitive, fabricators have become more focused on shielding gases as an effective solution to cost, productivity, quality, and safety and environmental requirements.

Air Products’ Linx shielding gases are used by leading fabricators worldwide in welding, an important process of metal fabrication. Recognised for its high-performance shielding gases and reliable supply, Air Products has been selected to be the exclusive official gases supplier for the 18th Beijing Essen Welding & Cutting Fair taking place in Shanghai from June 18-21.

It marks the fourth consecutive year the company serves this largest welding fair in Asia. The company will supply around 500 cylinders of gases to this year’s fair from its expanded Kunshan plant neighboring Shanghai. This plant currently supplies east China with helium, specialty and high-purity gases, calibration mixtures and the newly-added Linx range to diverse markets including metal fabrication, optical fiber, machinery processing, fine chemicals and electronics, labs and hospitals.

About Air Products

Air Products has been operating in China since 1987 and was one of the first multinational industrial gas corporations to invest in the country. With over 40 operating entities and 50 production facilities, the company has already established a strong market position in China, serving a broad range of industries including those stipulated in the 12th Five-year Plan. The company opened a welding lab last year in its advanced gas applications laboratory in Shanghai.

Air Products provides atmospheric, process and specialty gases; performance materials; equipment; and technology. For over 70 years, the company has enabled customers to become more productive, energy efficient and sustainable. More than 20,000 employees in over 50 countries supply innovative solutions to the energy, environment and emerging markets. These include semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, coal gasification, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. In fiscal 2012, Air Products had sales approaching $10bn.