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On-site gas generation technology award finalist

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article image Maxigas installation.

A domnick hunter gas generation technology being adopted by leading Australian food, beverage and packaging organisations has been selected as a finalist in one of the world's major food processing awards.

The Maxigas continuous on-site gas generation technology - used in Australasia by industry leaders including De Bortoli, Fonterra, Terraharvest, and Portavin - was selected as one of four finalists in the UK Food Processing Awards 2006.

More than 100 nominations were received for 23rd annual awards, with domnick hunter's successful nomination being based on the N2MAX112 and 116 models introduced to give higher flow rates, says domnick hunter's Australasian Business Development Manager John Davis.

These are among the latest of the MAXIGAS range of nitrogen generators, which employ the Pressure Swing Absorption principle to produce food-grade nitrogen from compressed air instead of having to rely on supplies of bottled gas.

"In selecting finalists to be voted on by members of the food processing industry, the judging panel noted the machine's speed of operation and advantages offered to food manufacturers and processors. In Australia these have included rapid payback of original investment cost, elimination of production halts to change gas cylinders and OHS benefits from elimination of the handling of many cylinders," Mr Davis said.

"Primary uses of MAXIGAS within the food industry are Modified Atmosphere Packaging flushing of oxygen during packaging to extend shelf life and ingredient blanketing including sparging, beverage dispensing, pressure transfer of raw materials, inerting of edible oil containers and blanketing of storage tanks. Nitrogen is produced at a fraction of the cost, the system is safer than heavy, high-pressure cylinders and is available on demand, reducing production downtime."

The domnick hunter MAXIGAS nitrogen generation system - which can be set to supply nitrogen from 97% to 10 parts per million (99.999%) - incorporates a self-regeneration feature to minimise maintenance. Being introduced Down Under as part of a global launch by domnick hunter (which operates in more than 80 countries) MAXIGAS generators are a proven technology, having been used in more than 10,000 installations worldwide.

MAXIGAS units are constructed in pairs of extruded aluminium columns filled with carbon molecular sieve (CMS) material. Operating on the pressure swing adsorption principle (PSA), the two columns function alternately, with one side producing gas while the other regenerates itself.

The carbon molecular sieve incorporated into the equipment differs from ordinary activated carbons in that it has a much narrower range of pore openings. This allows smaller molecules such as oxygen to penetrate the pores and be separated from the air stream. The larger molecules of nitrogen bypass the CMS and emerge as high purity gas. Purities are determined by the velocity at which the air passes through the CMS columns.

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