Nitralife boosts steel cutting in the fabrication sector

Nitralife, an industry leader in the provision of comprehensive nitrogen solutions across a variety of vertical industry applications, has introduced a booster for its Nitracut nitrogen generator.

As a pioneer in the manufacture and supply of nitrogen generators to the mining, transportation and fabrication sectors – both locally and internationally – Nitralife has recently ‘boosted’ this offering with the introduction of a nitrogen booster, which increases nitrogen’s delivery pressure, by working in conjunction with the Nitracut nitrogen generator.

While Nitralife’s Nitracut generators provide high-purity nitrogen gas for the fabrication sector – essential for plasma and fibre laser-cutting and fabrication – the addition of the booster effectively broadens the scope of applications in which the Nitracut can be used. This includes a wide spectrum of industrial applications, where a higher pressure is required.

Tom Sowry, Managing Director of Nitralife, explains that while the original Nitracut generator achieved excellent traction in the market – predominantly installed in conjunction with Swiss steel processing solutions manufacturer Bystronic’s fibre lasers – there were however limitations to its capabilities.

“With a local installed base of some 80 machines, the one limitation of our Nitralife generator was that it could not produce nitrogen at pressures required to cut above the typical industry standard steel thickness of 6 mm, owing to the fact that its pressure capacity only went up to 14 bar,” Sowry elaborates.

However, this has all changed with the addition of the nitrogen booster, which increases the Nitracut generator’s pressure range – boosting it from 14 to 19 bar – and thereby allowing for the cutting of mild and stainless steel with a thickness of at least 6 -12 mm; as well as of light steels, such as aluminium, with thicknesses up to 20 – 30 mm (laser-dependent), he explains.

By delivering nitrogen directly to the laser without having to store it first, the Nitracut nitrogen generator can run 24/7, depending on requirements, while delivering variable pressure, thereby allowing for continuous production.

“The booster operates on a variable speed pneumatic drive, which synergistically speeds up and slows down as required, while keeping the pressure constant,” Sowry explains.

He believes this enhancement fills an important gap in Nitralife’s offering to the fabrication and steel sector markets; and also cost-effectively improves the Nitracut nitrogen generator’s capability and application potential.

“The booster is also available to our existing Nitracut customers, who need to cut thicker grades of steel,” he adds.

The Nitracut technology was a world-first and – as far as we know – our new booster together with our Nitracut is a world-first too!” Sowry claims, adding that a well-known tanker and trailer manufacturer in the Western Cape had already ordered the first Nitracut booster prototype in November 2019.

Manufactured locally from imported parts, the Nitracut booster is ready for market at scale, Sowry notes, notwithstanding various logistical restrictions and challenges presented by the recent Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown.

“During the global pandemic, businesses in South Africa have needed to operate as cost-effectively as possible, and the Nitracut generator, together with the booster – delivers excellent value-for-money, on-demand and on-site nitrogen which can easily be amortised within a year.

Therefore, after the Nitracut and booster combination has effectively paid for itself, the owner of the fabrication shop essentially continues to have a free supply of nitrogen for cutting of all thicknesses, grades and types of steel,” he adds.

Sowry says that, as a designated essential supplier during the pandemic, Nitralife were closed for the initial lockdown period, but they have been open for business since level 4. 

“Nobody could have planned or expected this pandemic or the nationwide lockdown and its devastating social and economic effects – particularly in certain sectors. Nevertheless, we have maintained a robust pace of business, thanks to our diversification across numerous different sectors; and also, in no small part, thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of Nitracut, with its pressure capacity now boosted!

We are therefore very optimistic that the nitrogen booster will further improve our ability to service an even wider customer base,” Sowry concludes.