LEHIGH VALLEY, Pa., Dec. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Air Products (NYSE: APD) today announced the opening of an advanced gas applications laboratory within its Asia Technology Center in the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Shanghai, China. The new lab will further strengthen the center's research and development (R&D) capabilities to support the increasing needs of high-growth markets in China and across Asia. The new lab represents a significant expansion of the Asia Technology Center. The 1200-square-meter advanced gas laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art R&D capabilities for a wide range of high-growth markets including those stipulated in China's 12 th Five-year Plan. They include metals processing and fabrication, electronics packaging and assembly, and industrial cryogenics. The laboratory also features a newly-added welding center to accelerate the development of welding technologies and applications for the sustainable development of China's strategic metal fabrication market. The market is the biggest in the world, driven by the rapid development of the machinery, aerospace, mining equipment, petrochemical and automotive industries. The welding center also serves as a platform for live demonstrations by Air Products' fabrication applications specialists. "We are excited to unveil this advanced gas applications laboratory in China as part of the company's long-term commitment to drive growth in energy, environmental and emerging markets through innovation and technology development," said Jeffrey Kramer, vice president and chief technology officer of Air Products. "Innovation has been a cornerstone of Air Products for over 70 years. It gives us the ability to continue finding new ways to help make our world more productive, energy efficient and sustainable. Our expanded gas capabilities will better position us to meet customers' unique needs in China and Asia with speed, cost efficiency and product quality." The Asia Technology Center was founded in 2005 with an initial focus on the company's performance materials business, and was previously expanded to support its industrial gases businesses as well. The company has recently completed another phase of expansion to extend existing capabilities for gas applications and add a new welding center. The technology center is currently the second-largest R&D facility for the company in the world.