A partnership of five locally owned independent gas and welding supply distributors, as well as the Independent Welding Distributors, Cooperative Absolute Air plans to build a merchant Air Separation Plant in greater Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"We expect the facility to be on-stream in 2020," stated Ned Pontious, President of Absolute Air. The plant will produce oxygen, nitrogen, and argon for use in customer applications such as metal fabrication, blanketing, purging, combustion, chilling and freezing."
According to company officials, the partners view the investment as a proactive move to assure an ongoing and more economical supply of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon against the backdrop of the continuing consolidation of international industrial gas producers.
The five distributors involved in the project are: Mississippi Welders Supply, Toll Company, Minneapolis Oxygen, A-OX Welding Supply, and Huber Supply. All are located in the upper Midwest area to be served by the plant, and together represent 30 business locations with over 50,000 customers in a 7-state region. The IWDC is a cooperative headquartered in Indianapolis, IN, with 140 member companies. It was formed in 1994 and leverages the strengths of its independent welding distributor members across North America.
IWDC member companies collectively represent over $2.3B in sales, serving a wide range of industries, company officials noted. The common denominator is that these industries look to them for industrial, specialty, and medical gases as well as related equipment, welding hardgoods, and consumables. End-use customers served by IWDC members benefit from having the unparalleled expertise of a local member distributor who has access to national-scale purchasing and marketing programs.