Praxair Inc was founded in 1907 and became an independent publicly traded company in 1992. It was the first company in the United States to produce oxygen from air using a cryogenic process and continues to be a major technological innovator in the industrial gases industry. The Company's main products for its industrial gases business are atmospheric gases and process gases. It also designs, engineers and builds equipment that produces industrial gases for internal use and external sale. The companys surface technologies segment, operated through Praxair Surface Technologies, Inc., supplies wear-resistant and high-temperature corrosion-resistant metallic and ceramic coatings and powders. Praxair serves approximately 25 industries as diverse as healthcare and petroleum refining; computer-chip manufacturing and beverage carbonation; fiber-optics and steel making and aerospace, chemicals and water treatment. Atmospheric gases are the highest volume products produced by Praxair. Using air as its raw material, Praxair produces oxygen, nitrogen and argon through several air separation processes of which cryogenic air separation is the most prevalent. Praxair also led the development and commercialization of non-cryogenic air separation technologies for the production of industrial gases. These technologies open important new markets and optimize production capacity for the company by lowering the cost of supplying industrial gases. These technologies include proprietary vacuum pressure swing adsorption and membrane separation to produce gaseous oxygen and nitrogen, respectively. Praxair also manufactures precious metal and ceramic sputtering targets used mainly in the production of semiconductors. The Company's surface technologies segment supplies wear-resistant and high-temperature corrosion-resistant metallic and ceramic coatings and powders to the aircraft, printing, textile, plastics, primary metals, petrochemical and other industries. It also manufactures a complete line of electric arc, plasma and high-velocity oxygen fuel spray equipment as well as arc and flame wire equipment used for the application of wear resistant coatings. The coatings extend wear life and are applied at Praxairs facilities using a variety of thermal spray coatings processes. The coated parts are finished to the customers precise specifications before shipment. Praxair carries inventories of merchant and cylinder gases, hardgoods and coatings materials to supply products to its customers on a reasonable delivery schedule. On-site plants and pipeline complexes have limited inventory. The Company is not dependent upon a single customer or a few customers. Praxair is a enterprise with approximately 60% of its 2013 sales outside of the United States. Praxairs surface technologies segment has operations in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The Company owns or licenses a number of United States and foreign patents that relate to a variety of products and processes. Its patents expire at various times over the next 20 years. Praxair operates within a competitive environment. Competition is based on price, product quality, delivery, reliability, technology and service to customers. Main domestic competitors for the surface technologies business are Chromalloy Gas Turbine Corporation, a subsidiary of Sequa Corporation, Sermatech International, Inc., a subsidiary of Teleflex, Inc. and Chemtronics, Inc., a subsidiary of GKN p.l.c. International competitors in surface technologies vary from country to country. The company is subject to a variety of United States and foreign government regulations.