New applications for the next generation

The Japanese industrial gas market finds itself in a phase of gentle recovery. In 2015 shipment of oxygen was around 70% of its peak period according to Japan Industrial and Medical Gases Association (JIMGA) statistics, indicating that it could not reach its former level. On the other hand, the issues of the demand for gas related to consumption in daily life which includes agriculture and food have been filling the pages of The Gas Review for a while now.

One of them is maintaining the freshness of fresh fish and beverages and stabilizing the quality by controlling of the density of oxygen in water through gas. This is therefore an attempt to raise the added value by dissolving nitrogen and oxygen very efficiently in water. In other areas too, in addition to working toward increasing production at food factories by promoting photosynthesis, carbon dioxide has also started to be used for extermination of harmful insects in strawberry plants. A new refreshing breath of air in gas applications has started to appear in the field of daily life, which is quite different from the area of manufacturing.

Closely linked to daily life, new moves are appearing even in the areas of health care and life science. Research and development are moving right along for people to live a healthy life of high quality. For gas based medical products for which the gas itself become the actual medical product, in addition to the conventional oxygen, nitrous oxide, and nitric oxide used in the area of medicine, hydrogen and helium, as well as xenon are being readied for clinical use. Treatment and drug development using iPS cells are fields which are bringing about new added value in the area of medicine. The application of systems using gases such as carbon dioxide and liquid nitrogen is indispensable for the cultivation and preservation of cells and tissues.

Not only just in the area of daily life, but also in the industrial field there are more and more innovations when it comes to making things.

In 2015 a boom emerged in the making of prototype products based on the use of metal 3D printers. Metal 3D printers form 3D objects while melting fine metal powder with a laser beam. This is a technology which is very effective for the creation and testing of prototypes, omitting the bother of having to form molds. Just as with laser cutting, inert gases such as nitrogen and argon are filled during the process to prevent oxidation of the metal.

When it comes to electronics, application is spreading of semiconductor devices such as deep ultraviolet LEDs and sensors installed on cars, as well as power ICs.

New gas application is appearing in daily life, health care, energy, new processes, and electronics. (For more information : See The Gas Review No.415)

12 Feb. 2016

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