Gas Cylinder Supplier to Open Roseville Plant, Hire 35

The facility under construction will be used to fill cylinders with medical-grade gases, which are growing in demand as the population ages and respiratory therapy is used more often.

Major gas cylinder distributor Airgas, Inc., broke ground last week on an 18,000-square-foot facility in Roseville that will employ 35 people.

The new building will help meet the growing demand for gas cylinders and related products in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based company said.

The Roseville facility is scheduled to open in October. It will include a medical filling plant, which will fill cylinders with medical-grade oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide. A retail store stocked with various gases and Airgas' welding and safety products-including protective gear like helmets, gloves, and goggles-also will be housed within the facility.

Medical gases have “been for us a growing market for quite a while,” including in the Twin Cities, Airgas spokesman Jay Worley said Monday. Such gases are mostly used by hospitals, doctor offices, and surgery centers-all of which treat patients using respiratory therapy.

“Demographics help drive the demand growth,” Worley told Twin Cities Business. “As the population ages, it tends to require more respiratory therapy.”

Airgas already operates facilities in Savage, Ramsey, and Hudson, Wisconsin-but the company wanted a location in a more central Twin Cities location.

Airgas claims to be the largest U.S. distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases-and related goods like welding equipment and safety products. In addition to the medical industry, it also serves universities, research and development companies, and the electronics, metal fabrication, construction, and HVAC industries.

The company employs more than 14,000 workers in more than 1,100 locations and serves customers nationally. But Worley said that Airgas has a local service-oriented business model because it's difficult, from an economic standpoint, to transport gas cylinders further than about 50 miles from where they are filled.

Airgas has yet to hire employees at the Roseville facility, but it will eventually employ people to fill cylinders, stock warehouses and the retail store, manage day-to-day business operations, drive cylinder orders to customers, and sell products to local customers.