Atlas Copco saves precision sheet metal manufacturer over £6,000 a month with on-site nitrogen generation

2 min read

When Constant Group, a Manchester-based supplier of sheet metal parts, components, and fully assembled fabrications pieces were let down by their previous service provider for onsite high-pressure nitrogen generation, they turned to Atlas Copco for help.

Atlas Copco responded by immediately installing a rental package, which saved Constant Group over £6,000 a month in rented nitrogen cylinder packs. After six weeks, Atlas Copco and its local distributor Pennine Pneumatic Services then supplied, installed, and commissioned a HPN2 SKID-8 high-pressure nitrogen generation skid, delivering a rated flow of 38 Nm3/h with 99.99% purity and 300 Bar(g) pressure. The solution also included a five-year extended warranty package to ensure total peace of mind for the customer.

Laser-cutting metal relies on a continuous supply of nitrogen gas as a blanket to prevent burning during the process. Atlas Copco assessed Constant Group’s consumption requirements before recommending a suitably sized nitrogen generation solution.

Atlas Copco recommended a system with 240 Nm3 storage, delivering 32.5 Nm3/h to allow Constant Group to cut continuously at 4 mm without a problem. Further, Atlas Copco also recommended the HPN2 SKID-8 with its rated flow of 38 Nm3/h to easily accommodate Constant Group’s requirements. It can also manage other scenarios, for example, if a greater thickness of 12 mm was required, cutting for up to eight hours with 65% uptime would be possible, with the help of storage.

Recognising the critical role of nitrogen gas purity in overcoming the tendency for discolouration of laser-cut edges and to provide a high-quality finish, Atlas Copco’s nitrogen generation meets this by supplying gas at over 99.99% purity.

The nitrogen generation skid is an all-in-one concept technology combining air compressor, dry air receiver, nitrogen generator (NGP), two nitrogen buffer vessels, one high pressure booster high-pressure storage bundle all assembled on a SKID for the ease of installation and commissioning.

The skid package is equipped with a filter train to avoid contaminated compressed air reaching the inlet of the nitrogen generator. The air compressor and the nitrogen generator are monitored and controlled by an Elektronikon controller.

The nitrogen skid package includes a high-pressure vessel which distributes the compressed nitrogen to the customer’s installation. The system also enters standby mode when no nitrogen is being consumed, and a cycle time modulation algorithm reduces air consumption at low nitrogen demand. This ultimately saves on energy consumption.

Matt Garlick, managing director, Constant Group, said: “We have been impressed with Atlas Copco right from the start when they originally supplied their rental system as a rapid solution after we were let down by our previous supplier.

"Now, after the smooth and successful installation of our HPN2 SKID-8 high-pressure nitrogen generation package, we are confident that we have assured availability of high-purity nitrogen, with the capacity that we need, for many years to come.”