NitroJection rolls out new gas-assist control system

March 21, 2019
NitroJection Corp. is offering a controller for low-pressure nitrogen gas-assist processes it calls the Nitro-Jection Control System.

After more than 20 years of manufacturing nitrogen gas-assist controllers capable of maximum pressures as high as 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi), NitroJection Corp. is offering its newest product, a controller for low-pressure nitrogen gas-assist processes it calls the Nitro- Jection Control System (NCS).

The NCS, which can operate at a maximum pressure of 5,000 psi, debuted in January, when the company sold its first five machines. NitroJection President Steven Johnson said he couldn’t name the buyers, but one is a large custom injection molder in South Carolina and the other is an OEM for outdoor furniture in Illinois.

The gas-assist controllers that NitroJection has been offering for decades offer great flexibility in the types of parts that they can be used to help make. Possible parts include everything from thicker-walled objects that only require pressures in the 500 psi to 2,500 psi range — such as car door handles — all the way to thin-walled objects, like TV cabinets, that require a fast, high-pressure shot. But Johnson said the cost of components capable of handling this wide range of pressures adds to each unit’s cost, and he estimated that more than half of the gas-assisted molded parts being produced are thicker-walled products.

“Gas-assist is a very niche industry,” Johnson said. “It’s equipment looking for a product. I’m looking for a part. And if the part doesn’t want to be gas-assisted, they don’t need me. My customer has to have the part that requires the technology.”

Johnson said that for several years, he’s been facing an uphill battle, trying to sell his established lines to customers that don’t need their high-pressure capabilities, while a competitor began offering a lower-pressure system that didn’t require the costly hardware rated for high pressures.

“Originally, I was trying to sell a high-pressure machine in a low-pressure environment,” Johnson said. “It’s one of those things — you get stubborn. I thought ‘Hey, you know, they should understand 10,000 psi gives them more flexibility,’ — and then you realize you have to give the market what the market wants.”

The NCS comes in two body types — a console cabinet style, which looks almost identical to the high-pressure NitroJection Satellite Unit — and a five-footed pedestal-base style. Either body type can be ordered with one, two or four valves for supplying gas to a multicavity mold.

Similar to NitroJection’s well-established controllers, the NCS can be fed with nitrogen from either bottles or from a plantwide nitrogen gas supply line. But the controller’s screen size has increased from 8 inches to 10 inches, using an HMI from Maple Systems. The screen is also brighter, which Johnson said makes it easier on the operator’s eyes.

The new HMI also offers improved recipe management. “It allows the recipe to be saved under both alpha and numeric characters,” Johnson said. “If you use somebody else’s operator interface, you can only put in numeric characters. Sometimes, the guy wants to save it under the name of the product, so that’s another feature on this machine.” The NCS also uses an Allen-Bradley Micrologix PLC.

NitroJection also recently established a distributorship with a Houston-based company called Generon. While Generon has a long track record making nitrogen generator compressors, it had not previously provided its machinery to plastics processors. “So now we can go into a molder and offer them the full line. We have our standard line, which will take nitrogen and pump it up internally all in one piece, or our new line, which receives nitrogen from either the existing nitrogen compressor at the molder, or one that we can resell to them through our distributorship with Generon,” Johnson said.

NitroJection also offers rentals. “Rentals are good for a molder that might just have one or two months’ spike in production, but not enough production to warrant purchasing a new machine,” Johnson said.

David Tillett, copy editor

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NitroJection Corp.  Chesterland, Ohio, 440-729-2711,    

About the Author

David Tillett | Associate Editor

Associate Editor David Tillett writes and edits for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. He covers new products, industry news, patents and consumer and business equipment. He has more than 20 years of experience in daily newspaper, online and magazine journalism.