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The Longmont facility recently received the coveted

  Though we are subjected to the green, yellow, and red of traffic lights everyday, we never give a thought to the components of the signals that help keep us safe on the roads. It may come as a surprise,Metal spinning cones then, that gases are an integral part of traffic lights. "Increasingly, traffic signals are comprised of LEDs [light-emitting diodes], basic semiconductors that use gases to make green, yellow, and red lights," says Bill Kroll, Chairman and CEO of a single source provider of industrial and specialty gases.

"Most consumers don't realize that gases are utilized in a variety of applications and products that they use on a regular basis."Matheson Tri-Gas provides a myriad of gases, such as nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, oxygen, and helium. If you've ever bought frozen chicken or coffee cakes, Matheson's liquid nitrogen was probably instrumental in the initial freezing process. "If your cell phone lights up blue or green, chances are that our gases are in there," says Kroll. And, if you are ever in the unfortunate position of undergoing a medical scan from an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), Matheson's liquid helium is probably hard at work cooling the magnet that's making the annoying hammering sound.Indeed, Matheson Tri-Gas is the premier provider of hundreds of gases, thousands of types of gas handling equipment, and innumerable gas containers - from the small oxygen cylinders stored on every hospital gurney to the 11,000-gallon tanks that you see on trucks traveling down the highway.

The company even designs and provides on-site gas generation facilities for large manufacturers like DuPont, which uses Matheson gases to make pigmentation for auto paints and paper coatings. Matheson Tri-Gas' Advanced Technology Center in Longmont, Colorado, specializes in microcontamination and purification technologies used for such things as computer chips. According to Branch Manager Jim Hendrickson, the high-tech industry uses purified gases to actually incorporate metal into the chip circuitry, among a variety of other uses and applications. "The diameter of the circuitry can be less than 0.1 micron, the equivalent of 1/1000 of the thickness of a hair, and requires extremely purified gas," he says.

The Longmont facility recently received the coveted ISO 14001 certification for their Environmental Management System, but Hendrickson is equally proud of the center's safety record. "We've gone 2,129 days without a recordable incident," he says. "Since many of these gases are chemically reactive and corrosive, we've always placed a high priority on safety engineering."Matheson Tri-Gas is celebrating its eightieth year as an industry leader in delivering superior and innovative products and services to its vast array of customers. So, the next time you take a whiff of nitrous oxide at the dentist's office or brake to a halt at a stoplight, remind yourself that gases are an integral part of our lives.