In-house production of nitrogen using an N₂ generator

In-house production of nitrogen using an N₂ generator

November 2020

…, this is now possible thanks to Bystronic. And in such a high quality as required for the cutting of all types of sheet metal. In partnership with Airco, we offer a solution for the in-house production of virtually 100% pure nitrogen.

Until now, sheet metal processing companies were forced to purchase the nitrogen required for laser cutting from external suppliers. For in-house production, Bystronic, together with its partner Airco Systemdruckluft GmbH, Frankfurt a. Main/D, now offers a solution that is very attractive from the perspective of both costs and the environment. This enables our customers to achieve even greater independence while producing only as much nitrogen as they actually need. Philipp Burgener, Managing Director of Bystronic Switzerland and South Africa, underlines the advantages in an interview.

How are Bystronic customers responding to the new solution for the in-house production of nitrogen?

With a great deal of enthusiasm, because suddenly they are completely autonomous. They no longer have to wait for trucks to deliver liquid nitrogen, which then has to be converted into gas. This has already led to new customers, because we enable them to break new ground and produce nitrogen for all cutting thicknesses themselves. In fact, customers in the USA, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Israel, and many other countries have already purchased one of our generators.

What benefits does the in-house production of nitrogen offer the customer?

Generating your own nitrogen not only makes sense, it also reflects the spirit of the times. Ideally, our customers install solar panels on the roof of their factory and thus generate zero-carbon nitrogen. This energy-efficient solution offers nothing but advantages: There is no longer any need to transport gas (no CO₂ emissions). You only generate as much nitrogen as you actually need, and all the additional costs that were previously incurred (rental fee for the nitrogen tank, heavy vehicle toll for the transport, and remote monitoring) are eliminated.

Another benefit: The entire planning approval procedure for the installation of a gas tank and the necessary construction of foundations and protective fencing is no longer necessary. You operate fully autonomously while contributing towards environmental protection. And naturally, the solar panels also function on weekends. The energy generated can be stored and used for sheet metal cutting during the week.

Philipp Burgener, Managing Director of Bystronic Sales AG, in front of the nitrogen generator in the Experience Center in Niederönz, Switzerland.
Philipp Burgener, Managing Director of Bystronic Sales AG, in front of the nitrogen generator in the Experience Center in Niederönz, Switzerland.

With the German company Airco, Bystronic was able to gain an exclusive partner.

Yes, we work very closely with Airco. Airco shares Bystronic’s values and is also very solution-oriented, which is why we are a very good match. In order to be able to cut thicker metal sheets, we need the highest quality nitrogen, and with our partner we have achieved just this. The nitrogen we produce with the generators is virtually 100% (99.9999%) pure with a gas pressure of almost 30 bar. This is referred to as quality 6.0.

Using 2.8m³ air, we generate 1m³ nitrogen, costing the customer only around 5 cents. With this solution, we are the market leader.

What additional future plans does Bystronic have for the generator?

In the future we want to equip the majority of our laser cutting systems with a nitrogen generator and are already on a very promising path: Four out of five purchases of laser cutting machines in Switzerland already include a nitrogen generator. If customers are not locked into long-term nitrogen contracts, it is high time for them to generate their cutting gas independently, cost-effectively, and in an environmentally friendly manner. Interested customers can now check out the nitrogen generator at the Experience Center in Niederönz, Switzerland, at our subsidiary Bystronic Benelux in the Netherlands, and at Bystronic in the Czech Republic.

For us, this is a definite step forward in our evolution towards becoming a supplier of end-to-end solutions. Here we function as a general contractor and can now offer our customers a complete package that has already proven itself on the market.

Good to know: Nitrogen as a cutting gas

In laser cutting, cutting gas is used to ensure that both the laser and the metal sheet always remain free of contamination. Nitrogen is used for what is known as fusion cutting, while oxygen is used for flame cutting. Nitrogen offers a major advantage: It eliminates oxidation and thus improves the surface quality.

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