Cryogenics in Alberta and the treatment of Metals

Archives > July 2014

Hard Metal: Cryogenics in Alberta and the Impact on our Oilsands

In the last blog we separated some myths from facts about cryogenics.  Now that you know cryogenics can be applied to almost every industry, let’s take a closer look at cryogenics in Alberta.

There is no doubt about it. Alberta is run on industry.  While the technology sector is quickly turning into a powerful economic contender, when you hear Alberta, you think oil and gas.

Alberta’s oilsands accounted for over 22 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product in 2012 and as of last year, there were well over 100 active oilsands products in Alberta.  Alberta’s oil production is very strong in the world market as evidenced by the infogram below.

Infogram sourced from

Infogram sourced from


When we have a resource that is so important to our wellbeing as a province and a country, it makes good sense to find ways to access this resource in the most efficient manner.  That is where cryogenics in Alberta comes into play.

There are many ways cryogenics in Alberta is used; and one of these ways is to increase the durability of oilsands tools.  Just think of all the equipment used in the oil sands: the heavy hauler trucks that transport the product, fleet vehicles going to and from sites, all those small parts and gears inside the machinery and even the hand-held tools needed on the job site.  When we take these metal components and treat them cryogenically, we dramatically increase their durability.

Wikipedia provides an excellent explanation:

[Treating metals cryogenically] can have a profound effect on the mechanical properties of certain steels, provided their composition and prior heat treatment are such that they retain some austenite at room temperature. It is designed to increase the amount of martensite in the steel’s crystal structure, increasing its strength. Presently this treatment is being practiced over tool steels, high-carbon, and high-chromium steels to obtain excellent wear resistance. Recent research shows that there is precipitation of fine carbides (eta carbides) in the matrix during this treatment which imparts very high wear resistance to the steels.

In short, cryogenics makes metal tools/components stronger and makes them last longer.

Cryogenics in Alberta improves the way we mine our valuable resources.  Any time equipment breaks down or needs to be repaired, there is a loss of time and dollars.  As disagreeable as the saying “time is money” can be, it is true.  The time spend repairing or replacing equipment cuts sharply into profits.

Additionally, major oil sands developers are always interesting in using eco-friendly processes.  They know mining has an unsavory reputation when it comes to land conservation and protection; therefore they work tirelessly from the outset of each project to make sure the land is protected, reclaimed and as little waste is produced as possible.  When these developers invest in cryogenics in Alberta, they reduce the amount of waste they produce because their tools and tool parts last longer and work better.

Cryogenics in Alberta makes our important work in the oilsands more efficient and less wasteful; and since the oilsands help to power our prospering province, any clean, environmentally friendly, cost-effective process that improves energy mining is a process worth investing in.

Millennium Cryogenics Technologies is pleased to provide cryogenics in Alberta to improve the wear resistance of metal tools.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.

What is Cryogenics?

Welcome to the Millennium Cryogenic Technologies blog, your information source for how and why cryogenics is applied in real world.  Cryogenics has been made popular through Hollywood movies such as Alien, Encino Man, Vanilla Sky and the recent Star Trek: Into Darkness. But despite tinsel town’s (very inaccurate) portrayal of cryogenics, this technology is used for very practical reasons.  In fact, cryogenic technology is available right here in the Edmonton region!

This is not how cryogenics works....

This is not how cryogenics works….

Facts & fiction

To start, let’s debunk a few myths.

Myth: Cryogenics is all about freezing and resuscitating bodies.  Myth busted – sort of.  Cryotherapy is a term that describes medical treatments involving low temperatures, but the practice of freezing a body solid thawing it out years later is not standard practice.  That doesn’t mean people don’t try.  Places like the Alcor Life Extension Foundation practice cryonics.  Cryonics, according to their website, is “the science of using ultra-cold temperature to preserve human life with the intent of restoring good health when technology becomes available to do so.” To date, however, cryonics has not moved past the freezing stage and current technology does not exist to bring a dead, cryonic-frozen body back to life.

Myth: Miraculous stories exists where people are accidentally frozen and return to life after they are thawed out. Myth busted!  There is no shortage of stories about people that tumble into icy water or are found outdoors in the snow only to return to a full and healthy life after they warm up, but don’t be fooled.  These are cases of suspended animation, or forced hibernation.  The body has not actually perished. Check out this Live Science article for a full explanation.

Myth: Cryogenics is only for human application. Definitely busted!  Cryogenics is a technology used across many industries, from the medical field to food service.  We should know – we provide cryogenic services for many of those industries.

So, what is Cryogenics?

Cryogenics is a broad term that describes applying below-freezing temperatures to alter the state of matter, be it food, a body, metal or more.  Although we are still years away from freezing a body solid and returning it to life, cryogenics is still an exciting, innovative, technologically-driven field.

Cryogenics in Edmonton

Cryogenic technology exists right here in Edmonton, Alberta.  We are located in Leduc and service clients across Alberta and North America.  Our services involve using cryogenics to enhance the service life of metal tools.  Millennium’s technology has been applied on oil sands tools, on fleet and race vehicles, on rifles, mining equipment, forestry cutting instruments and more.

You see, when you apply cryogenic technology to metals, you radically change their durability.  The process hardens and refines metals, making them far more efficient for field use.  Millennium is proud to say we can more than double the life expectancy of many metal-based tools.

gears, cogs and ball-bearings in blue

Stay tuned to learn more

At Millennium Cryogenics Technologies, we are dedicated to helping you learn more about cryogenics and how it can be used in your industry.  Stay tuned to this blog to learn more and contact us anytime to discuss how our services can benefit you.