It is crucial for companies, whether they specialise in chemical manufacturing, electronics, fabrication, food and beverage or other sectors, to have a reliable and specific supply of industrial gas for production purposes. Notably, oil refineries and other industries have very specific and exact operational requirements for the use of nitrogen gas in particular, to enhance safety and reduce the risk of fires or explosions.
To support these requirements, leaders in the field of portable air, power, flow and lighting solutions, and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division Rand-Air is able to supply a safe, high-quality solution for industry.
Rand-Air Sales and Marketing Manager Byrone Thorne explains that nitrogen is used for inerting, blanketing, and purging to suppress flammability, by reducing oxygen levels to a point where combustion is no longer possible.
“As Rand-Air recognises this critical operational and safety consideration, we provide an agile answer in our range of premium quality nitrogen generators,” he advises.
“These Atlas Copco nitrogen generators are mobile or stationary production units that convert compressed dry air into nitrogen by separating oxygen molecules from the nitrogen molecules. These units therefore enable companies to control the amount – as well as the pressure and purity – of nitrogen they need to produce.”
Moreover, as the global economy battles through the current Covid-19 pandemic – with industries not only focusing on staying afloat, but on streamlining their businesses in order to ensure their continued sustainability – high-quality, high-efficiency products and services remain vital.
By supplying Atlas Copco’s range of nitrogen generators, Rand-Air focuses on meeting these needs, enabling clients to have their required supply of nitrogen, while optimising their production process at the same time, Thorne emphasises.
“The nitrogen generators can be adapted to meet a customer’s specific applications, and they offer an excellent return-on-investment due to their lower operating costs,” he says.
“For our nitrogen generator customers, there are no additional costs regarding the supply of nitrogen – such as order processing, refills or delivery charges – while maintenance costs are minimal. Companies are also no longer subjected to the gas market volatility and price fluctuations.”
Meanwhile, the potential safety hazards which can come with the handling of high-pressure cylinders are also removed, Thorne points out.
To support efficient and safe manufacturing and maintenance, Rand-Air’s range of nitrogen generators include membrane nitrogen generators, such as the NGM, NGM+ and the NGM models, which use a proprietary membrane separation technology; as well as the PSA, NGP and NGP+ nitrogen generators, which are based on Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology; and the new-generation NGP+ nitrogen generators.
“The membrane nitrogen generators are ready for immediate use, as they only require a supply of dry compressed air. They are also fitted with a pre-filtration pressure gauge and flow meter, to ensure accurate system monitoring at all times,” says Thorne.
A focus on quality is also very evident in the nitrogen generator range – as the NGM and NGM+ models – and the mobile NGM280, for example – offer between 90% and 99% nitrogen purity. It is important to note that the flow is substantially reduced with an increase in purity. However, the nitrogen supply can be tailored as needed, and units can be set up for other purity levels.
Moreover, the various generators can cater to different flow requirements.
“The membrane nitrogen generators – with their high-flow capacity – are ideal for applications such as fire prevention, tyre inflation, oil and gas, maritime and others. Conversely, the NGMs are suitable and efficient in low-flow nitrogen generation.
“The PSA nitrogen generators (NGP and NGP+) meanwhile, offer the required purity with a high-flow capacity, making them suitable for a range of applications,” reiterates Thorne.
As oil refineries and industrial sectors cannot afford inefficient shutdowns and unforeseen operational downtime, a key advantage of the nitrogen generators is also their continuous availability.
“Nitrogen can be produced 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on site. This availability ensures that the risk of production breakdown due to gas running out is eliminated,” Thorne points out.
With companies also focusing on energy savings and sustainable production, the new-generation NGP+ nitrogen generators feature premium energy efficiency, with an automatic start-up, and are the ultimate energy saver: “The generators also have a self-protective monitoring of feed-air quality, back-flow pressurisation, and control and monitoring – among other features,” he says.
“Rand-Air constantly seeks ways to help customers make agility count: by this we mean, we help them to meet their industry challenges, while also optimising efficiency, quality, health and safety. We also seek to incorporate environmentally-sustainable technology and practices in our offerings. The use of the nitrogen generators fulfils all these objectives,” Thorne concludes.