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Technical and engineering services for gas systems: case studies

Identifying problems and optimizing processes

Situation: Following a plant turnaround and expansion, a major plastics manufacturer experienced an unexplained increase in liquid nitrogen use. At the company’s request, Air Products optimization engineers conducted a two-week gas system audit. The engineers found that a process change made during the turnaround was to blame for the excess nitrogen usage—and they identified several improvement opportunities as well.

Result: Excess gas flow was quickly eliminated, saving about $1 million annually.

Avoiding unnecessary capital investment through more efficient gas system

Situation: A well-known pharmaceutical company’s plant expansion was expected to increase nitrogen demand far beyond the capacity of their existing on-site nitrogen generator. Air Products optimization engineers did an on-site gas system audit to document current and future nitrogen requirements. They quickly uncovered ways to reduce nitrogen demand by 22 percent.

Result: The company did not have to invest in another on-site generator for its new plant, saving more than $300,000 per year.

Reducing waste through gas system optimization

Situation: When an international chemical producer’s nitrogen consumption increased from 11 million scf/month to 21 million scf/month in just six months, they contacted Air Products. Our audit revealed that several blanketing systems were out of control, continuously consuming high volumes of nitrogen. Following our recommendations, the company repaired the blanketing systems.

Result: The repairs eliminated the 10 scf/month waste, for annual savings of nearly $300,000.

Avoiding downtime

Situation: Whether you own your tanks or lease them from Air Products, our Customer Engineering team is dedicated to providing full-service support related to end-use application design, system piping, utilities and foundations. A powder coating customer was relocating their facility across the country. They needed help moving their own cryogenic supply system and with analyzing their gas. Air Products’ team of engineering, construction, transportation and maintenance specialists developed a plan to avoid downtime during the customer’s move. We moved individual tanks one at a time, coordinated cranes at both plants, coordinated transportation of their supply systems, provided stamped professional engineering drawings and vacuum jacketed house-line piping.

Result: The project was completed on-time so they could begin production in their new facility.

New nitrogen system installation, no disruptions

Situation: A nuclear power generating facility had a very old nitrogen supply system that required significant maintenance to keep it operational. Their industrial gas supplier was unable to provide the engineering support to assist in the design and installation of a replacement system so they turned to Air Products.

Since it was at a nuclear facility, every element of our standard design and installation procedure was scrutinized to make sure we were compliant with industry requirements. This resulted in a significant engineering effort from Air Products and a very cooperative working relationship with the customer’s engineering teams. In addition to the technical support needed due to the critical nature of the installation, we needed to coordinate the demolition of the existing system and the installation of the replacement system without interrupting the customer’s nitrogen supply. We met this temporary supply need through our APEX Express Services.

Result: Because of a few customer delays, the installation schedule became very compressed toward the end of the project. Despite the delays, we were able to complete the work and place the system in operation with a week to spare before the refueling of the plant. The new nitrogen system was installed and running a week early—safely and without any interruption to their supply or process. The customer was very pleased with the result.

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