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Nitrogen in the Food Packaging Industry

Nitrogen gas is an extremely safe gas that has been used in the food packaging industry for many years. Nitrogen gas helps preserve freshness, integrity and quality of delivered food products.

It provides a pressurised atmosphere that prevents package collapse to ensure that delicate foods won’t get crushed in their bags. Nitrogen will be used in pretty much all food packaging, keeping food like crisps and nuts from getting crushed.

Nitrogen also plays a vital role in keeping food fresh and vastly extends shelf life. Nitrogen gas is clean, dry and inert. By adding nitrogen gas, oxygen is removed. Oxygen deteriorates food items due to oxidative rancidity moisture loss or gain. Purging packaging of oxygen is what allows us to have long life food on our shelves, but is also useful to keep fresh food produce fresher for longer.

Having an on-site nitrogen generator replaces the traditional cylinder and bulk-liquid supplies allowing manufacturers to generate their own nitrogen onsite easily. Clearly producing nitrogen gas onsite means you will no longer incur cylinder delivery costs.  Producing nitrogen gas onsite saves a lot of money providing a quick return on the investment made in nitrogen generating equipment. The cost of a nitrogen generator during its lifecycle is just 20 – 40% compared to the cost of buying nitrogen cylinders during the same period. Another advantage of producing nitrogen onsite is that the volume and purity of the nitrogen gas produced is entirely controlled by the user themselves according to their specific needs.

Nitrogen gas is useful not just for the food industry but also in countless other industries. Due to the diversity and cost effectiveness, nitrogen is becoming increasingly popular in a broad spectrum of industry and research laboratories. Nitrogen can be used in a range of applications such as creating inert atmosphere, as a carrier gas, blanketing, packing, purging, filling and plastic moulding.

Based in the North West, Glaston Compressor Services Ltd has vast experience in designing, installing and servicing nitrogen generators for manufacturers across the UK. Recent installations include: heavy manufacturing including treatment of metals, chemical industry where nitrogen has been used as an inert gas, food industry and the laser cutting industry. To read a case study of a Nitrogen generator installation that Glaston made at a food packaging client click here.

Glaston’s nitrogen generating equipment is space saving and modular in design which is important as it means that no expensive civil engineering works will be required. In many installations where space is unavailable for new machinery Glaston has created nitrogen generating systems within standard shipping containers that can remain outdoors.

Using the latest state of the art thermal mass flow meters and logging equipment Glaston’s machinery can accurately determine the nitrogen flow that is best suited to its client’s specific requirements. Glaston also provides bespoke service packages and maintenance contracts.

Maintenance is critical to keep a nitrogen generator running smoothly and to ensure consistent reliable performance.  Keeping a nitrogen generator in compliance with British Food Retail standards is achieved by regularly servicing and maintaining your equipment. This will include checking the overall operation to ensure efficiency, re-calibrating the nitrogen sensor, overhauling the inlet and outlet valves and changing the inlet filters that protect the nitrogen generator. Glaston recommends maintenance every 6 months.

To discuss whether a nitrogen generator is right for your business speak to one of Glaston’s experienced engineers today

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