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Company news

Gas saving technology enters market

A gas saving system that conserves and reduces the consumption of gas in industry, particularly in welding, has been developed by welding solutions firm Shield Technologies MD Wayne Holt.

The Shielding Gas Saving System, which won an award in the industrial innovation category of the Eskom eta Awards, in November, comprises digital gas flow meters, which measure the quantity of gas consumed, the Shield Technologies gas economiser, which includes welding monitoring capabilities that measures the time taken to weld against the time the machine has been on, and leak detection technology, which uses ultrasonic technology that measures and detects any leaks in a factory within a few hours, result- ing in a significant reduction in gas used and cost-savings during welding, Holt tells Engineering News.

However, with minor changes, the system can also be used in other industries using gas equipment, such as the food and beverage, industrial or healthcare sectors. For these applications, the system comprises only the flow meters and leak detection equipment, which would help to identify where the leaks are, if any, he says.

The Shielding Gas Saving System has electrical and long-term cost-saving benefits. Users can reduce their gas consumption by at least 30%, which will also result in savings on the amount of electricity used to produce these gases.

“Shield Technologies has established that the electricity used to produce gases, such as argon, oxygen or nitrogen, costs about one-third of the total production costs, an estimation of 48 MWh to produce 300 t of gas,” says Holt.

Showing the Way
Geyser manufacturer Kwikot, which installed a flow meter system to complete the savings system at its factory in mid-2010, noted that, over a six-month period, the factory reduced its gas consumption by about 800%.

“Kwikot’s factory has also been saving hundreds of litres of gas a minute owing to the leaks found in its pipelines by Shield Technologies’ leak detection technology and new pipeline installations that were commissioned,” says Kwikot senior technician Gerard de Villiers.

Meanwhile, Holt says that the Shielding Gas Savings System has been well received in the market.

“The system has been operational for the past six months, with two systems sold to a mining company. “A client in Cape Town also stands to save about R6-million a year in gas consumption once we receive the go-ahead to install the entire system,” Holt concludes.

The yearly Eskom eta Awards, sponsored by State-owned power utility Eskom, recognises individuals and companies that produce significant changes in the field of energy efficiency.