Doing “Good” in our Neighborhood

This year, a team of employees from Air Products PRISM Membranes was assembled to volunteer a day of labor for Angels’ Arms in Saint Louis, Missouri. Our team met up at one of the 13 local foster homes to lend some elbow grease. Painting and general maintenance items were performed to help make the home more inviting for the families that call it home.

“Helping those who help others is a great investment in our community”, states Holger Carsten , Sr. Principal Process Engineer. ” We are fortunate that Air Products realizes the value in letting its employees volunteer their time to give back, which makes our city a better place to live and work.”

The PRISM Membranes employees make a point to do some good deeds in our community. By giving back, at least a little, we all benefit.

Angels’ Arms supporters are dedicated to enhancing the organization’s vision by providing service of their time and spreading awareness of Angels’ Arms mission throughout the community. Angels’ Arms strives to keep sibling groups together, and partners with foster parents, community supporters, organizations and other non-profits to provide a loving home environment and help our children become successful citizens.

Three Decades of Nitrogen.

PRISM Membranes is proud of the durability of the membrane separation products. Our customers depend on the PRISM Membrane equipment to provide a steady supply of nitrogen for oxygen-sensitive processes or to provide a safe working environment for flammable and explosive materials.

We received a call from the shop at one of the Northrup-Grumman facilities in Corinne, Utah, which was having some difficulties getting the nitrogen flow that was originally specified in their PRISM Membrane nitrogen system. The unit was due for some maintenance and it appeared that the membrane bundles needed to be replaced. We dispatched service techs to service a PRISM Nitrogen generator.

Investigating the serial numbers of the separators in question, it was obvious that the system was older, but the serial numbering didn’t exactly match the numbering format recorded in the Air Products archives. A little more detective work revealed the reason why – the system was constructed in the year 1992 and the separators were built by Permea, the business that was originally owned by Monsanto. The Permea business unit became part of the Air Products corporation around the same time so that is one of the last units manufactured under the old company name.

Permea Separator Label
Permea Separator Label from 1992

After 28 years on the job, the membrane fibers finally succumbed to all the effects of being fed by an oil-free compressor which was used to supply multiple departments on the campus. New fiber bundles were installed, and the system is generating nitrogen for everyone that needs it for their tasks.

We are penciling in the year 2048 on our service department schedule to update this set of membranes.

Helium Extraction with Membrane Hybrid

Our process design experts, Don Henry and Cory Sanderson, will be presenting their research at the North American Membrane Society’s meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Don and Cory have developed a process to extract the valuable light gases, like helium and neon, using a membrane /PSA hybrid system. Here’s a glimpse into their research…

Light noble gases, primarily Helium and Neon, are rare in Earth’s atmosphere and upper mantle and difficult to produce. Yet the gases are highly valuable to the many diverse markets which depend on their specific chemical and physical properties.

Air Products has developed a hybrid membrane/adsorption process to extract and purify a Helium or Neon gas from a feed gas stream. The process combines the best features of both unit operations– high gas selectivity with a unique recycle control loop to create a process which has superior performance over any membrane or adsorption only process. The process has flexibility in both scale and source of gas which gives it a wide application and potential implementation strategy.

Want to learn more? Send us a quick note and we’ll be sure to get in touch with you. The researchers at Air Products PRISM Membranes are continually working on cutting-edge technology for gas separations. We may have the technology for your next system.

The Air Products Hybrid Membrane-Adsorption Process for Light Noble Gas Recovery presentation is being delivered at the North American Membrane Society Meeting May 11-15, 2019 at the Wyndham Grand Downtown, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (USA).

Air Products Diversity

Air Products prides itself on having a dynamic workforce made up of people from all backgrounds. Recently, the Inclusion Network featured our Site Director, Gretchen Swain, to gather insights from her experience in the Air Products company.

Here is a short snippet of the conversation:

Why are you passionate about the Diversity and Inclusion Network at Air Products?

I have reached a point in my career/life where I recognize when people are comfortable or uncomfortable with a situation. Working to ensure an inclusive workspace, where people feel comfortable in their work interactions, leads to a higher level of participation by the team members and therefore greater success overall.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I wake up at 3 am to exercise before coming to work. I am also an avid reader, reading two books per week.

About the Inclusion Network   
In the U.S., the Inclusion Network and our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) partner with D&I, HR, and leadership to create supportive communities that help attract and retain talent, raise cultural awareness, develop ourselves and others, and contribute to the company’s overall diversity and inclusion objectives.

Prism Membranes Employees Sponsor Foster Kids for the Holidays

It has become a tradition at the St. Louis Air Products facility to sponsor a Holiday collection each season. In keeping with this tradition, the employees at the Air Products PRISM Membranes (APPM) facility teamed up once again to support a local agency that specializes in reaching out to foster children in need.

The Missouri CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) agency coordinates a collection of Christmas gifts to be administered to hundreds of kids that are in the process of finding a permanent home and family.


The fund-raising process began in mid-Summer with employees (and suppliers) donating auction items for 50/50 raffles. The local CASA agency was contacted in October and provided a list of needed gifts. APPM Employees purchased many gifts to help meet the collection goal with over 80 gifts for local foster children. The success of this charity event once again demonstrates the compassion that APPM employees have for their local community.

CASA volunteers are everyday citizens judges appoint to advocate for the safety and well-being of children who have been removed from their homes due to parental abuse and neglect. They stand up for these children and change their lives.

CASA volunteers have helped more than two million children find safe, permanent homes.

It’s Not “Who You Know”…

Congratulations to our Dr. Erin Sorensen, New Products and Applications Manager at PRISM Membranes, who was selected to present at the 2018 Society of Women Engineers conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center.erin-sorenson-speaker

Doctor Sorensen presented a “lightning talk” about influencing without authority. Her presentation provides a guide for gaining support for projects even though you may be delegating tasks to people who have no direct reporting connection to you. For more information, get the downloadable influence-without-authority handout. It’s a great reference for anyone in business who works in teams.

The Society of Women Engineers 2018 conference was held at the MCC October 18th through the 20th with a host of workshops and career tools for women in engineering roles. The theme of this year’s event was about breaking boundaries for women engineers at every stage of their careers.

Safe Every Day

One day per year, all the Air Products PRISM Membranes equipment is idled and our employees gather for a “Safety Stand Down” where we review the last fiscal year and pause to reflect on what went right. Employees from all production shifts gather together to learn new ways to work safely and then to spend some time with co-workers during a day of celebration, some games, food, karaoke, and good fun.

Our teams celebrated another fiscal year ending with no recordable injuries. This is an impressive achievement since our facility operates multiple production lines on a continuous basis. Fiber is produced 24 hours a day 7 days per week, which means that we staff multiple production shifts working around the clock. There are employees working with industrial equipment that spins, cuts, crimps, and energizes the separators throughout the manufacturing process, creating opportunities for something to go badly.


Safety is first. This is embedded in our culture and our results show that our employees are serious about working safely and helping others to work safely. Every employee is required to participate in the APT (Accident Prevention Technique) program where processes and working conditions are observed and reported, safe work practices are encouraged, and potential problems are corrected before injuries occur.

Congrats everyone. Way to stay safe!


Fire prevention equipment made with PRISM PA nitrogen separators.

A shout out to our friends at Engineered Corrosion Solutions in Saint Louis, Missouri.


Engineered Corrosion Solutions will be exhibiting at SFPE’s Annual Conference & Expo in Nashville, Tennessee from October 28 – October 30, 2018. As an annual participant, this is going to be the biggest year for ECS yet.  Stop by table #25 for hands-on product demonstrations of ECS product offerings:

Engineered Corrosion Solutions is using the PRISM PA nitrogen separators as part of their wall mount fire sprinkler corrosion prevention system. Be sure to check out the great work that they are doing keeping our buildings safe.


Why are PRISM separators made of plastic?

Air Products PRISM Membranes decided many years ago, to create membrane gas separators that are lightweight and durable. Evaluating many available materials, our engineers selected ABS for the shell (bodies) of the separators and aluminum end caps for the connection ports.

Our product philosophy is to provide a product that can be easily handled during assembly or field maintenance. The lightweight PRISM Membrane separators can be managed by one technician without the need for additional lift assist equipment. A benefit of PRISM Membrane separators is that they are a great fit for mobile systems. This is handy when your system is in a remote oilfield or in the hull of a ship.

Is ABS a good material choice for industrial products?

Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) is an opaque thermoplastic and amorphous polymer. It has a strong resistance to corrosive chemicals and physical impacts. It’s easy to machine and is very structurally sturdy, which is why it is used in things like camera housings and car bumpers. ABS is relatively harmless as it doesn’t have any known carcinogens and there are no known adverse health effects related to ABS exposure. If you need a lightweight and durable material that holds up well to external impacts, ABS is a good choice.

So, is it OK to have an untreated aluminum component exposed to the elements?

When aluminum oxidizes, it forms aluminum oxide. This naturally occurring oxide layer, which forms on any exposed aluminum surface, protects the metal from any further deterioration. Plus, any surface scratches immediately form a new oxidation layer, making the surface self-healing.

Aluminum Oxide is used in many products for its hardness and strength, primarily in abrasive products like cutting tools and sandpaper, where the aluminum oxide is a substitute for industrial diamonds. If you’re looking for a strong, scratchproof coating, aluminum oxide is a clear winner.

Note: Air Products PRISM Membrane separators are also manufactured in other materials, like stainless-steel, for specialty applications.