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Compressed nitrogen wins customer acclaim in automotive application

Home Manufacturing & Processing Chemicals Compressed nitrogen wins customer acclaim in automotive application

COMPRESSED nitrogen offers significant advantages over traditional spray painting delivery mechanisms. Within this context, Nitralife – a local pioneer in the manufacture and supply of industrial nitrogen generation equipment since 1996 – is expanding its Nitraspray nitrogen generator offering, and repositioning it within Nitralife’s nitrogen generation solutions portfolio.

Managing director, Tom Sowry explains: “Inspired by a recent customer win, we will be placing a renewed focus on Nitraspray, our application which uses nitrogen for spray painting to excellent effect.”

Nitralife introduced its NitraSpray generator in 2018, specifically designed for professional spray painting in many different sectors, and offers a spray painting delivery mechanism that is consistent and reliable, resulting in a superior paint transfer.

Mirror finish for spray-on chrome

Sowry explains that a recent customer win proved to be the catalyst for this revised approach. He clarifies: “Pretoria-based specialist company Hydro & Chrome is involved in hydrographic dipping and painting. One of their offerings is a turnkey spray-on chrome solution. This is not a paint – but is applied similarly – and includes a layer of pure silver metal. This achieves a mirror finish in a variety of applications, such as interior and exterior automotive parts and motorcycles, mags or rims.

“Since the customer began making use of our Nitraspray solution, they have found that the quality of the spray has vastly improved, allowing for a perfect ‘mirror’ finish. They have been delighted with the results, and have found enormous value through the improved quality of the finish.”

Sowry notes that compressed nitrogen is inert, clean and without any moisture and contaminants. These properties allow for a superior finish over air-based spray painting, with a reduction in overspray.

Director at Hydro & Chrome, Celia Rocha, adds: “We have been renting a Nitraspray generator from Nitralife since mid-2021. We use nitrogen for the spray-on chrome preparation process, and certainly, it gives a wonderfully superior finish and quality. The nitrogen is a much cleaner, drier gas – with no dust particles in it – and this provides a much smoother and cleaner finish.”

Saving time – and money

“While quality and an excellent finish are particular advantages of using nitrogen for spray painting, it can also allow for time-saving and improved productivity,” notes Sowry.

“For example, when working with chrome as our customer Hydro & Chrome does, the job would need to be redone if it was spoiled by a flawed finish, taking both additional time and materials. This is now far less likely when using compressed nitrogen,” Sowry points out.
Rocha concurs: “Our productivity has also improved because the drying time is less, and we are not required to sand and polish thereafter. In addition, Nitralife’s service has been exemplary, with consistently impeccable turnaround times. We are really happy – both with Nitralife and the capabilities of the Nitraspray.”

Given the right conditions – such as a large paint volume of just one colour, Sowry explains that some Nitraspray customers have noted a paint savings of between 10 to 15% when compared to paint costs when using compressed air.

“This is because, with compressed nitrogen, you can spray at low pressures and therefore use less paint, which is a useful value-add in this day and age, where cost reduction is always a driving factor for our customers.”

Repositioning Nitraspray

Currently, notes Sowry, Nitralife operates three main divisions, namely Nitralife, offering nitrogen generators for passenger, commercial trucking and mining vehicle tyre inflation; Nitracut, which offers nitrogen generators for laser cutting and industrial applications; and Nitraspray, which offers nitrogen generators for use in spray painting processes.

“Moving forward,” he says, “Nitraspray will be positioned – with a renewed focus – within our Nitralife industrial and food-grade solutions portfolio. We have seen a massive increase in demand from the general industrial, pharmaceutical and food-grade modified atmospheric packaging (MAP) markets, so this makes good strategic sense.”

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