Manufacturing and N2 Technology
Nitrogen represents one of nature’s most valuable and abundant chemical substances. In its gaseous state, nitrogen is virtually indispensable in modern manufacturing applications. This article will highlight the role of nitrogen in some of the most crucial product industries today.
Why Is Nitrogen Gas Important to Manufacturing Processes?
Gaseous nitrogen has several beneficial physical and chemical properties, making it a popular choice in manufacturing. Nitrogen exists in nature as a very stable diatomic molecule. It can be used to displace more reactive chemical elements and compounds. As a result, the gas is prevalent in industries that have highly explosive environments.
Another key stand-out feature is its lack of odor. This physical property is desirable in food and beverage processing since the original intended food and drink flavors are not altered. The colorless nature of food-grade nitrogen is also beneficial to operators who use nitrogen in their applications. For example, nitrogen gas would be preferable for modified atmosphere packaging of food items as it won’t alter their appearance.
How Is Nitrogen Generated for Manufacturing Industries?
Nitrogen gas for industrial manufacturing is harnessed using various techniques. In many cases, large volumes of gaseous nitrogen are synthesized on-site using one of the following methods.
Pressure Swing Adsorption
PSA nitrogen technology operates on the selective separation of nitrogen from the air. A typical pressure swing adsorption setup includes two drying cylinders containing molecular sieve materials that alternate between oxygen adsorption and its release. The result is the generation of high-purity nitrogen.
Membrane Nitrogen Generation
For industrial systems that use membrane nitrogen to source their gas, the technology uses the differential speeds of various air components to generate a stream of pure nitrogen gas. A semi-permeable membrane with hollow fibers will selectively filter gaseous nitrogen out of a gas mixture.
Fractional distillation produces nitrogen gas of very high purity (99.999%) by cooling air to its liquefaction point and then distilling its component gases according to their boiling points.
How Is Nitrogen Technology Used in Manufacturing?
Nitrogen technology is currently applied in several manufacturing processes across diverse industries. Some common industries that utilize nitrogen technology are outlined below.
The metallurgical industry requires the crafting of high-quality metal parts used in assembling various machinery, and nitrogen plays a crucial role in the process. On-site nitrogen generators can be utilized to generate adequate volumes of nitrogen used in metal cutting lasers, efficiently crafting metal parts with neatly cut edges without causing excessive heat damage.
Molecular nitrogen is a virtually indispensable chemical substrate in synthesizing many life-saving medications we use today. Nitrogen gas generators are used to produce synthetic antibiotics and anesthetics.
Food and Beverage Manufacturing
Prolonging the shelf life of commercially manufactured food items can be achieved using gaseous nitrogen in the processing stage. Modified atmosphere packaging with nitrogen gas creates an environment within food packing that inhibits rapid oxidative food spoilage.
Alcoholic beverages require careful processing to obtain satisfactory flavors and aromas. Therefore, nitrogen gas is often used in wine sparging as well as crafting high-quality nitrogenated brews.
N2 technology is also employed in the plastics and synthetic polymer industries to improve the final products. For example, nitrogen will harden plastics, improving their tensile strengths and durability.
Modern electronics are composed of circuits housing various components held together by soldering. Nitrogen gas soldering is a very efficient method of assembling electronic components as it guarantees excellent finishes. Furthermore, nitrogen gas can cool computer systems and prevent heat-related damage.
On-site Nitrogen vs. Bulk Supply Methods
The nitrogen used in industrial applications can be supplied by gas vendors in cylinders or generated on-site using nitrogen generators. Synthesizing nitrogen gas on-site has significant advantages over bulk-supplied gas.
- Long term cost-effectiveness as recurring cylinder procurement costs are eliminated
- Less wastage as only required volumes of nitrogen are generated and used for manufacturing
- Elimination of occupational health hazards associated with gas cylinder storage
- Removal of supply chain blockages as nitrogen can be generated on-demand at any point in the manufacturing cycle
- Ease of installation and minimal maintenance requirements
Find Quality Nitrogen Generators at NiGen
At NiGen International, we prioritize your nitrogen generation needs. Among our various products and services, we offer state-of-the-art on-site process gas equipment guaranteed to optimize your industrial manufacturing operations.
Please contact us today to learn more about our unique on-site nitrogen generation units and field services.