FABTECH 2023, a leading event for metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing, successfully wrapped up its four-day run at Chicago's McCormick Place, achieving significant milestones for attendance, exhibitors, and show floor size. The 2023 show floor, spanning an impressive 825,325 square feet across three exhibit halls, featured an extensive showcase of over 1,500 world-class suppliers.
The impact of compressed air on industries globally is undeniable, spanning from small tire shops to vast oil and gas sectors, as well as specialized domains like laboratories and pharmaceuticals. Amid this industrial transformation, many have taken control by employing in-house air compressors, air dryers, and related equipment to autonomously generate compressed air. In-house compressed air generation eliminates the need for relying on external sources, whether through cylinder bulk packs, Dewars, or tankers delivering compressed air.
Over the last two decades, there has been a significant increase of manufacturing facilities deciding to produce their own nitrogen on-site, using compressed air systems and nitrogen generators. They are choosing on-site nitrogen generation, instead of purchasing and receiving deliveries of nitrogen by the cylinder or having a “Nitrogen Over the Fence” supplier.
“The AICD enjoyed a record turnout of exhibitors,” said Jeff Brennan, President, AICD. “We’ve added over 20 member companies this year and our membership again has delivered a strong turnout at this year’s event.” Participating distributor members and guests enjoyed a few days of networking events, trade show, speakers, the AICD Golf Tournament and more.
The initial cost of a nitrogen generation system may be greater than high-pressure cylinders and liquid nitrogen containers, but most companies will reach a return on investment within 12-18 months with proper sizing of the system based on process demands. Breweries typically experience savings associated with gases of 50-75% by switching to on-premises nitrogen generation. If a regular maintenance schedule is followed, PSA nitrogen generation systems can have a life expectancy of 15-20 years.
In early October 2022, professionals from around the world gathered at the Best Practices 2022 EXPO & Conference in Atlanta to source and learn about the latest on-site utilities powering modern plant automation including compressed air, blowers, vacuum, pneumatics, motors and cooling water systems. This report recaps a fraction of the event’s education curriculum and provides an editorial tour of sponsoring exhibitors’ machinery displays and product introductions.
Moisture can freeze in compressed air systems and cause rust and pitting in pipes and components. It can also flush out the lubricant resulting in accelerated tool wear and damage to valves and cylinders. Moist air is also a rewarding breeding ground for bacteria, which especially in the food and pharmaceutical industries can lead to product rejection and costly production downtime. It is therefore strange that many companies limit themselves to measuring only basic quantities such as pressure, flow and (absorbed) power.
Nitrogen is used in many facilities for a variety of purposes. The most common source of N2 is through the use of bulk liquid storage. A plant owner was recently surprised to learn that a large portion of his N2 was disappearing, without ever being used by his production process. This article discusses where it went and what we could do about it.
The purpose of this article is to point out the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that can assist in maintaining the performance and troubleshooting of compressed air dryers. The most important KPI to monitor is the pressure dew point (PDP) of the compressed air exiting the dryer(s). The PDP of the compressed air should be monitored at the discharge of each dryer and downstream of where the compressed air from multiple dryers converges.
When compressed air comes into direct contact with a product, many applications believe their “standard” particulate and coalescing oil-removing filters, installed either side of a compressed air dryer, are sufficient to protect the downstream processes. Strangely enough, the removal of bacteria is often overlooked, despite this level of filtration being readily available, easy to procure, install and maintain.
Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) accounts for a significant amount of nitrogen usage in the food and beverage industry. MAP involves injecting nitrogen into beverage or food packaging to purge and displace any oxygen-containing air with nitrogen. Oxidation of lipids in food products causes rancidity. Since oxygen is replaced with dry, inert nitrogen in MAP packaging, no product oxidation will occur. The result is maximized product shelf life.