No, it is not a Mexican Wrestler nor a Gladiators comeback gig but our latest investment to move towards self-sufficiency and full control of our own production processing.
One of the major requirements when Fibre Laser Cutting is to have an uninterrupted and constant supply of high purity Nitrogen Gas, this assist gas enables us to produce exceptionally clean, high speed cutting conditions, but it comes at a cost.
The old school method of supply was for delivery of bunded banks of multiple high volume, high pressure gas cylinders. These banks of cylinders came close to 2 tonnes in weight and had to be manually unloaded, manoeuvred and sited close to the Laser. They contained very high-pressure gas stored at 300 bar and sometimes could need changing several times a day. The alternative was to store a large quantity of Nitrogen in its liquid form externally, and pipe in a gas off take under pressure to the machine.
Neither of these solutions were ideal and both came with considerable Risk, Health and Safety Burden, Expense and Environmental impact.
After extensive research we felt that the best solution for us was to take our own air which is already close to 80% Nitrogen, clean it, purify it and then buffer store it on site. In one sweep this did away with multiple lorry movements, large amounts of machine downtime for gas changes, hazardous on-site movement, and dependence on external supply. Yes, there would be a significant upfront cost, but the payback could be calculated and seen, the asset was tangible and of value, and it fitted in with our policies of reinvestment, improvement, innovation and self-sufficiency.
So, what is “Nitrocube”? Well, it’s our on-site Nitrogen Generation plant, supplied by MSS Nitrogen. It sits up on a mezzanine floor, is supplied by two HPC Kaeser Aircenter rotary screw compressors and keeps itself busy by converting breathing air into high purity Nitrogen gas. It chooses when to run by remotely monitoring consumption and usage and ensures we always have a constant source of instantly available cutting gas on demand, and so far it looks to achieve that goal very well indeed, with very minimal user interaction.
In our book, any machine that can sit in the corner, save us money, do its job and not need touching is a winner.