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Nitrogen generators are a more cost-effective option than liquid nitrogen filled cylinders, and are easier to manage and maintain; they are the preferred choice for most businesses who use nitrogen within their processing and packing divisions. We take a look at how nitrogen generators work and why nitrogen generator installation is such a popular option.
A nitrogen generator is a device that produces 90%+ pure nitrogen gas from the atmosphere, which naturally contains only 78% nitrogen. There are two variants of nitrogen generators, and both nitrogen generator designs work by filtering atmosphere to separate the nitrogen from the other elements.
A membrane nitrogen generator works by compressing atmospheric air and passing it through a hollow fibre membrane, filtering out parts of air (primarily oxygen) leaving behind a high purity nitrogen gas.
A pressure swing absorption (PSA) nitrogen generator design is similar to that of a membrane nitrogen generator. The basis of the operation is still compressing atmospheric air, however, instead of passing through a membrane a PSA generator will pass the air through carbon molecular sieves. This sieve only allows the smaller nitrogen molecules to pass through whilst all the larger molecules are absorbed. The resultant gas is high purity nitrogen. A PSA generator relies on at least two of these sieves and a pressure differential between them.
Pure nitrogen is used in a whole range of industries including food processing, chemical plants, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and electronics. Some of the types of applications where you would find a nitrogen generator are:
Where nitrogen is used in volume, nitrogen cylinders are likely to be consumed rapidly, creating the need for manual switches of new cylinders and repeated deliveries or storage of spare bottles for stock. This can be a problem, particularly where nitrogen is critical or is used as risk prevention and in safety applications. Additionally, nitrogen generator installation prevents the need for the manual handling of cylinders. Finally, the price of nitrogen fluctuates, leading to variable overhead costs and the inability to forecast.
In all, nitrogen generators ultimately provide a more convenient, reliable and cost-effective option than cylinders. Glaston’s engineers are experts in nitrogen generator design and can advise you on the most appropriate option for your business. We also offer nitrogen generator installation, making the process of choosing and implementing a nitrogen generator stress-free, as well as nitrogen generator maintenance.