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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2001, MCB UP Limited
BOC's metal treatment goes global
BOC's metal treatment goes global
Keywords BOC Gases, Internet, Metal treatments
BOC's CATweb site may be found on the Internet at http://catweb.boc.com It was originally developed as an intranet site on controlled atmosphere technology to help BOC's global team in this sector provide a better service for its customers.
In the production and heat treatment of metals, desirable properties such as surface hardness or a bright finish are more easily achieved if the process is carried out in a mixture of industrial gases, rather than ordinary air. A protective atmosphere, usually nitrogen, perhaps with some hydrogen, is used in annealing and a reactive one, often nitrogen mixed with methanol, is used in carburising.
These processes are the unglamorous workhorses of metal production so it is not widely realised how common their products are in everyday life. Razor blades, copper tubing and components of cars and mobile phones are just a few examples. Another important use of controlled atmospheres is in electronic packaging and circuit assembly.
BOC's CAT market extends round the world with important customers in South Africa, Japan and Australia, as well as the UK and US. The rationale behind CATweb was to keep this widespread team in touch with each other and with developments in technology and the market place. CATweb contains heat treatment news and a wide range of technical papers.
Anyone can register at the site, then log in and read or download material. All BOC's brochures and information sheets on controlled atmosphere technologies are now available only in electronic format and are no longer printed in bulk. Beyond this public level are three limited access levels: for customers, commercial partners and members of the BOC team. These give profiles of the team with pictures and allow interactive discussion of issues.
Before the 1960s when BOC entered the CAT market, companies used solid media, such as cast iron swarf to provide the necessary protection or even produced controlled atmospheres themselves using generators. Now BOC supplies heat treatment companies with gas in the same way that it does in other market sectors, from cylinder supply through bulk supply to on-site generation. BOC also supplies control panels for mixing gases to give the required atmospheres, some with automatic feedback to respond to changing conditions in the process. Beyond that, BOC provides know-how, access to the technology, discussion and training. CATweb is expected to play an important role in this aspect of customer support. For example, Korean customers can access some technical papers in their own language.
We found that the site has been well supported in the short time it has been live and public. Dave Wardle, the market sector manager who thought up the idea, expects that CATweb will become an accepted port of call for everyone interested in working with controlled atmospheres.
Serving two million customers in more than 50 countries, The BOC Group is one of the largest and the most global of the world's gases companies. It employs 42,000 people and had annual sales of more than £3.8 billion in the last financial year.
Details available from: The BOC Group. Tel: +44 (0) 1276 477222; Web site: www.boc.com