2023 PurityPlus Annual Meeting kicks off in San Antonio

The 2023 PurityPlus Annual Meeting has begun in San Antonio, Texas. Hosted by the Independent Welding and Distributor Corporation (IWDC), the three-day event brings together independent gas companies operating in specialty gases and trading under the PurityPlus standard and brand.

gasworld and over 120 attendees have gathered for the event, which hosts educational sessions and networking focused on the speciality gases business. The sessions share lessons, best practice and opportunities in this market niche.

Developing a specialty gas lab, safety training for customers and quality management were just some topics covered by an array of speakers in the afternoon sessions.

Abydee Butler Moore, President and CEO of Butler Gas Products, presented a fascinating session on how PurityPlus members can support and educate customers on Compressed Gas Association (CGA) safety standards.

“When a company conducts safety training for customers, they are adding value to their business,” Butler Moore told delegates. “At Butler Gas it is our obligation to be experts in gases handling and part of that is teaching our customers how to operate safely.”

Butler Moore warned among other things that it was incumbent on those offering training to research a customer’s safety protocols first, so as  to ensure sessions are relevant.


Inside a speciality gas lab – or three

Day one of the PurityPlus meeting also saw representatives of Coastal Welding Supply, Haun Welding Supply and A-OX Welding take the stage to give members a feel for the evolution of  their respective speciality gas labs.

Each of the three firms today boasts established specialty gas labs, but every one came with some big learnings and they continue to evolve.

For Texas-based Coastal, the specialty gas journey began by branching out from its involvement in industrial and petrochemical gases. For South Dakota-based A-OX Welding, it wanted to fill a niche gap in the market, and for New York-based Haun its lab set-up began in around 1996 in collaboration with BOC.

All three were in agreement that scaling up was an area where they could have been even more ambitious.

“When setting up a specialty gas facility, you need to find your own niche, but you also need to think big. If you can afford a big specialty gas lab, go for it. You almost need to think of the size that you think you’ll need and then double it,” said Terran Bergdale, Quality Control and Technical Sales of A-OX.

Chuck Mazoch, President of Coastal Welding Supply, had a similar message, telling members that “a little extra cement is never a bad decision.”


ISO certification and quality management

Another notable session was presented by Andre Marte, Senior Consultant at AsteRisk LCC. He spent his time focusing on quality management and accreditation from ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation).

ISO/IEC 17025 was a key focus. The standard enables testing and calibration laboratories to demonstrate that they operate competently and generate valid results. ISO/IEC 17025 is useful for any organisation that performs testing, sampling or calibration that want reliable results. 

As Marte explained, quality management system elements include general requirements, structural requirements and resource requirements.

“Why embark on securing ISO accreditation? It is a big decision. You might need it to satisfy a customer or to qualify to participate in certain market spaces. Those are good reasons in themselves. Beyond that, it also demonstrates to all your customers that you are investing in the quality of your processes,” he told attendees.

This evening, PurityPlus attendees will have the opportunity to take part in the newcomers meet and greet and the opening reception, held at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Riverwalk – Downtown. Sessions begin again tomorrow at 8:00am (CST).

gasworld will continue with its coverage of the 2023 Annual PurityPlus Meeting over the course of the next two days. In addition to daily recaps on the gasworld.com website, we will also dive deeper into the event’s take home content in the March issue of gasworld US.

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