In manufacturing, production, and packaging, nitrogen is an essential resource. From packaging produce to metal fabrication and even filling tires, nitrogen is used daily in a number of manufacturing facilities. If your facility uses nitrogen every day, when is the last time you thought about how you get that nitrogen?

You can use this article to help determine which nitrogen delivery method is best for your facility:

nitrogen tanks

On-Site Nitrogen Generation vs. Nitrogen Cylinders: The Breakdown

When it comes to choosing between on-site nitrogen generation and purchasing nitrogen cylinders, cost is likely the biggest deciding factor for your facility. While a nitrogen generator is indeed a large upfront cost, how does it compare to the regular costs associated with ordering, storing, and having nitrogen cylinders delivered?

On-site Nitrogen Generation

While a nitrogen generator costs more upfront, it’s good to know that most nitrogen generators pay for themselves in as little as two years. Most manufacturing facilities already have a compressed air system to supply the generator, which means your only costs are the purchase and installation of this new machine. From there, you have all the nitrogen your facility needs, on-demand and according to your application’s required purity levels.

Nitrogen Cylinders

Companies who opt for nitrogen cylinders pay for regular delivery. But, the cost of nitrogen (which fluctuates and is often uncontrolled by providers) and the cost of delivery aren’t the only fees to consider. In addition to paying for the cost of nitrogen, you also need space to store those nitrogen cylinders, which means additional facility space, and you’ll have to pay to have them returned. For facilities with very low, irregular nitrogen demands, this might make sense, but in most cases, you’ll end up paying considerably more to purchase, load, store, hook up, and then return nitrogen cylinders, than you would by simply installing a nitrogen generator on-site.

Convenience of On-Site Nitrogen vs. Nitrogen Cylinders

Your facility needs nitrogen for daily or weekly operations. When that’s the case, it’s important that your nitrogen supply is constant and invariable. So how does the convenience of on-site nitrogen compare to ordering nitrogen cylinders?

On-site Nitrogen Generation

When you have a nitrogen generator available on-site, you have access to all the nitrogen you need, whenever you need it. There’s no concern of running out or wasting time changing out cylinders. Your nitrogen generator is integrated into your manufacturing process, delivering the nitrogen you need at the appropriate purity level, exactly when you need it.

Nitrogen Cylinders

Nitrogen cylinders do present some concerns when it comes to convenience. First, there’s the issue of the delivery schedule. In the event that your delivery is postponed or held up somewhere, your facility could run out of nitrogen when you need it most. Another convenience concern comes when you need to change out the nitrogen tank. This puts a halt to your production process, as you wait for someone to go find a new tank, and swap it out. When it comes to convenience, nitrogen cylinders just aren’t as simple as having your own nitrogen generator on-site.

truck with nitrogen canisters

Safety of Nitrogen Delivery

Pressurized nitrogen is a dangerous gas. No matter how you’re procuring nitrogen for your manufacturing processes, it’s important to consider how having nitrogen on-site will affect the safety of your plant and personnel.

On-site Nitrogen Generation

Nitrogen generators are manufactured with one purpose — to produce nitrogen. In general, these machines work to produce nitrogen and direct it to wherever it’s needed most in your facility. Most nitrogen generators work on-demand, which means they’re only producing nitrogen when you need it and aren’t required to store considerable quantities of pressurized nitrogen. This helps reduce the safety concerns associated with storing and moving large quantities of pressurized nitrogen.

Nitrogen Cylinders

Safety is a major concern when you consider opting for nitrogen cylinders. Nitrogen cylinders contain pressurized nitrogen, and these cylinders must be transported to your facility, then system. This presents a significant risk to the safety of both your facility and to anyone handling these cylinders.

The Environmental Impact of Nitrogen Generators vs. Nitrogen Cylinders

The final concern to consider when deciding between on-site nitrogen generation or nitrogen cylinders is the environmental impact of your choice. Manufacturers and production facilities across the country are looking for ways to improve their sustainability, reduce their impact on the world, and better align with key consumer concerns. This is a factor that is relevant to every decision you make for your facility, including what method of nitrogen delivery you choose.

psa nitrogen generator

PSA Nitrogen Generator


On-Site Nitrogen Generation

When it comes to sustainability, on-site nitrogen generators use air your facility is already producing, and take up very little space in your plant. Once installed, their effects on the environment are minimal, and newer, energy-efficient nitrogen generators only help reduce your facility’s environmental footprint. What’s more, these generators are built to last for decades, meaning that just one investment and installation provides you with years upon years of pure, commercially-sterile nitrogen — no transportation required. On-site nitrogen generation is a great way to continue to reduce your facility’s environmental impact.

full feature nitrogen generator

Full-Feature Nitrogen Generator

Nitrogen Cylinders

Unfortunately, nitrogen cylinders simply can’t compete when it comes to sustainability. Regular transportation to and from your facility means significant carbon emissions, and the need to bleed off or vent tanks before returning is both wasteful and negatively impactful. If you’re looking for the most sustainable method of nitrogen delivery, on-site nitrogen generation is the clear winner.

On-Site Nitrogen Generation vs. Nitrogen Cylinders: Which is Best For Your Facility?

For any application that demands a regular supply of pure nitrogen, an on-site nitrogen generator is the most cost-effective, convenient option. It’s also safer for your facility, for personnel, and for the environment as a whole. While on-site nitrogen generation may not be right for the shop that uses just one or two nitrogen cylinders a quarter, for most manufacturing, production, and packaging facilities, a nitrogen generator is the best option. A nitrogen generator will often pay for itself in less than two years and offers non-tangible benefits like improved facility safety and sustainability that also go a long way.

membrane nitrogen generator

Membrane Nitrogen Generator

If you’re considering your nitrogen delivery options, and think a nitrogen generator might be right for you, talk to the experts at TMI Compressed Air. We supply a range of nitrogen generators to suit facilities in manufacturing, food & beverage packaging, and much more. We’d be happy to match you with a nitrogen generator that fits your existing compressed air system, and can deliver the nitrogen you need, efficiently and cost-effectively. Give our team a call at 800-875-9555 or contact us online for more information today!

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