Is an On-Site Nitrogen Generator Worth It?

Nitrogen vapors

When business demands a consistent supply of nitrogen without interruption, nitrogen generators, available in both stationary and mobile units, can serve as an ideal solution.

Nitrogen generators separate the molecules present in compressed air to isolate and extract the nitrogen for later use.

Advantages of Nitrogen Generators

Investing in nitrogen generators delivers significant returns for businesses, including:

  • Cost savings  Nitrogen generators produce a steady supply of nitrogen, reducing or eliminating the need to buy nitrogen from a supplier. Costs for nitrogen will include the up-front investment and the ongoing power consumption of the equipment. When compared to the cost of maintaining nitrogen cylinders throughout the year, the savings over the life of the generator can be significant.
  • Adaptability — Nitrogen generators may be increased modularly, enabling businesses to scale nitrogen production up or down as needed. This scalability allows companies to meet shifts in demand without having to overhaul the entire generator system.
  • Dependability — Since the gas separation units within nitrogen generators have no moving parts, the risk of equipment failure is significantly mitigated. In addition, nitrogen generators function in a broad temperature range, offer significant resistance to vibration and shock, and are chemically inert to greases. These innate qualities ensure that nitrogen generators remain reliable in standard or harsh environments.

Uses for Nitrogen Generators

Nitrogen generators have broad applications, including:

  • Chemical production facilities — Chemical plants and manufacturing facilities that rely on combustible materials or produce hazardous environments often rely on nitrogen generators to displace the oxygen in the area. By reducing the oxygen concentration, nitrogen generators also mitigate the risk of explosion.
  • Food packaging and production  Nitrogen generators are often used in food packaging operations. Food will spoil if packaged with oxygen, so food manufacturers will often use nitrogen to displace oxygen before sealing food packaging. Nitrogen is also frequently used to fill bag packaging with pressure. This pressurized space protects fragile foods, such as potato chips, from being crushed.
  • Electronics manufacturing — Electronic components often require soldering required at some phase of production. Nitrogen wave soldering has become a popular method in the electronics sector for helping to reduce costs associated with solder materials.
  • Pharmaceutical/medical — Nitrogen is widely used in pharmaceutical manufacturing as an ingredient in many medications, including antibiotics. It is also a core component of nitrous oxide, which is used as an anesthetic in many medical applications. Nitrogen spray guns are also frequently used to clean surfaces in medical- and pharmaceutical-grade cleanrooms.
  • Mining environments — Nitrogen is used as an oxygen displacer in mining applications where gas pockets exist. Removing the oxygen from the environment mitigates the risk of combustion or explosion, as fire requires oxygen to burn. Nitrogen is also used to displace oxygen in mines before they are abandoned to minimize the risk of any future explosions.
  • Metal finishing — Applying nitrogen in the electroplating process helps to harden and strengthen coatings on stainless steel, providing greater protection. Nitrogen is also used in a heat-treating process called nitriding, in which nitrogen is added to a metal surface to cause hardening.

Given the versatility of nitrogen and the many advantages provided by having on-demand nitrogen generation, they are often purchased for on-site use in industrial facilities.

 

Image Credit: Elisa Manzati / Shutterstock.com

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