The increase in popularity of fibre lasers in the UK market has resulted in a boom in business for MSS Nitrogen’s Nitrocube Fiber nitrogen generators. In the first five months of 2015 the company has sold 15 systems, 11 of which were for fibre lasers, generating over £1.1 million in sales.
First developed in 2004, MSS Nitrogen’s generators use a modular design which is plug-and-play. Compressed air goes in to the system and high purity nitrogen comes out. The equipment is installed by MSS Nitrogen’s engineers with just a power supply and by tapping into the existing nitrogen distribution pipework. Modules delivered in the morning can be up and running by the afternoon.
Because of its experience in the field of laser technology, MSS Nitrogen has become the leader in the field of nitrogen generation for laser cutting machines across the UK and Europe. The skills it has in laser cutting and the knowledge of the individual technology and requirements of all the makes and models of laser cutting machines in the market, enables it to specify a Nitrocube to suit the individual customer’s application.
Neil Jackson, Sales Director at MSS Nitrogen explains, “If you just look at the nitrogen consumption figures for each machine, this can be very misleading. When we size a system we have detailed discussions with the client about how they run their manufacturing including topics such as shift patterns, the type and thickness of material being cut and the purity of nitrogen required. We can then work out the nitrogen delivery rates and the gas storage requirements needed to meet the peak demands normally found in any production environment.”
Fibre laser technology has resulted in much faster cutting speeds and much reduced energy consumption and hence, lower cost per part than is possible with CO2 lasers. However, the flow of nitrogen as an assist gas can be as much as three times greater on a fibre laser as the nozzle at the laser head tends to be significantly bigger. These changes in the technology and the laser cutting market mean that the cost and logistics of delivering nitrogen to the machine is suddenly a high priority for uninterrupted and low cost manufacture. ES Solutions Ltd based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire purchased a Nitrocube Fiber in 2014. Eric Seymour, Managing Director, says, “We purchased the very first MSS nitrogen generator back in 2004. The new Nitrocube Fiber is a fraction of the size, far more efficient and saves us a significant amount of money each month. Nitrogen generation is definitely the way forward, especially for fibre laser.”
With a fibre laser, the net gas consumption can go up by two to three times, which will increase any problems in the footprint and capacity of gas storage and continuity of regular supply for delivered gas, not to mention the increased cost of the gas itself. With a MSS Nitrogen Nitrocube the system is designed to produce just the gas required but with gas storage sized to meet peaks in production and to operate for up to 24 hours, even with the system switched off, allowing sufficient time for maintenance without disrupting production. Currently, over 250 laser machines depend on a MSS nitrogen generation system for their nitrogen requirements in the UK, demonstrating the reliability and effectiveness of the technology. Furthermore, by using the normal spend on consumable gas to fund the purchase of a Nitrocube, many companies have found that it can be self-financing with payback in as little as 18 months.
MSS Nitrogen has continually developed it’s systems over the last 11 years and, with the new Nitrocube Fiber, it is able to deliver 50% higher flow rates using 30% less power than other systems thanks to improved air to nitrogen ratios and a smaller, more efficient high pressure booster. To ensure reliability, each unit is built and fully tested at the company’s Rugby headquarters. Service and telephone hotline support is provided be three dedicated engineers who can be on site within 24 hours if necessary. However, reliability is extremely good with less than one breakdown on average recorded across all the installed systems in 2014!