Re-use of argon: a huge cost-saver for clients
High-purity argon, one of Linde’s fields of expertise, is typically used to provide the necessary inert atmosphere. But Linde’s contribution doesn’t stop at providing the gas. The company also supports HIP plant operators with customised gas management systems and custom-tailored solutions for re-use of valuable argon. Besides decades of experience in gas supply systems, Linde draws on company-owned innovations in the field of gas management systems in Hot Isostatic Pressing. Already in 2004, Linde designed the so-called multi-section buffer technology to reuse argon. Those systems can save up to 70% of the gas used.
Today, Linde has a concept ready and waiting for clients who want to build or optimise their HIP facilities. Depending on the size of the plant, Linde is able to adjust the size of components like tanks, pumps, gas and reuse buffers to a client’s demand. “Gas supply systems today are often over dimensioned, which costs operators a lot of money,” says Bors. “Our goal is to tailor the size of the systems to the needs of the client.” This in turn also has the potential to minimise capital expenditures and operational costs like maintenance, service or energy demand.
Anticipatory planning: part of Linde’s consultation approach
Paolo Kirchpfening emphasises that Linde’s consultation approach goes beyond selling products. “At an early stage of a project the objective is not to sell the maximum of supply hardware, but to design the layout based on the present requirements.” Not every HIP facility, he stresses, needs a gas reuse system – those installations only pay off at a certain level of argon consumption. “Sometimes it makes more sense to scale-up the supply equipment at a later stage. This is a possibility we anticipate in our early planning.”
With the demand for Hot Isostatic Pressing on the rise, Linde is constantly looking to improve the technology – for instance by transferring knowledge from other fields of expertise. “We are currently working to apply our pumping technology that we have perfected for hydrogen to the HIP process,” says Bors.