In order to stay ahead of the increasing demand for Air Products' (IW US 500/125) liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology and equipment, the company is expanding its LNG heat exchanger manufacturing capacity by constructing a second manufacturing facility in Manatee County, Florida.
"The number of potential LNG projects in the pipeline is at an all-time high due to the strong demand for cleaner fuels in growing economies worldwide. Additionally, several of the projects on the horizon will require the largest heat exchangers we have ever built and the new location does not face the same shipping constraints of our current location," said Jim Solomon, director, LNG at Air Products. "The new facility will be built at a deepwater port location with the flexibility to produce our LNG offerings without any physical shipping restrictions."
Air Products has been manufacturing LNG heat exchangers, which may be as large as 16.5 feet in diameter, 180 feet long, and weigh as much as 500 tons, at its existing Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania facility for over 45 years. In fact, the 100th coil wound heat exchanger made at that location just recently shipped.
"Our technology's reputation was built on the work conducted and LNG heat exchangers manufactured at Wilkes-Barre. Due to the various constraints in the shipping process for the even larger heat exchangers that are required to satisfy the capacities forecasted to be required by customers, we needed to remove these constraints to remain globally competitive in this technology," said Sandy McLauchlin, general manager of Air Products' LNG engineering and manufacturing.
The new 300,000 square foot LNG manufacturing facility, which will employ approximately 250 employees in a four year ramp-up period, is to be complete and begin operations in late 2013.