FAQ nitrogen and oxygen

What does Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology mean?

The term Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA), stands for a proven technology for producing nitrogen or oxygen. INMATEC has been using the PSA technology in its machines and systems for many years. The nitrogen or oxygen is separated from the remaining air components and compressed.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

How does the PSA technology work?

The PSA technology is based on the adsorption principle: The nitrogen molecules and oxygen molecules of the incoming air are separated by a carbon molecule sieve. The nitrogen molecules or oxygen molecules flow through the carbon. They are led into a large container or system tank by compressed air and collected. The highly pure nitrogen or oxygen are available there for further use.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Are there differences in the molecular sieves?

The molecular sieve for nitrogen generation and oxygen generation essentially differ from each other.
Nitrogen is filtered from the compressed air with the help of activated carbon, while oxygen is produced with so-called zeolites. INMATEC ensures the highest possible quality of the respective filter materials here.
Not all molecular sieves are equal. Even within some manufacturers, differences exist, e.g. depending on the place of production, size and quality.
If you obtain your molecular sieve from INMATEC, you have the greatest assurance that the most suitable model, appropriate for your INMATEC system, is being used.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

How pure can the nitrogen or oxygen from INMATEC become?

Nitrogen from INMATEC can reach a purity grade of 90.0 up to 99.9999%. The oxygen purity is "only" about 90.0 – 95.0%. The difference is this large because the requirements of the users of PSA generators in the individual sectors differ greatly for nitrogen or oxygen purities.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What minimum requirement does the European Pharmacopoeia Standard make for the purity of oxygen?

Since 01 April 2011, the European Pharmacopoeia Standard allows the use of oxygen with 93.0% purity.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Why do some states specify an oxygen purity of 99.0%?

Due to old regulations, some states continue to specify an oxygen purity of 99.0% Against the background of an adaptation to international specifications such as ISO 10083 (Europe), these provisions are increasingly replaced by the international minimum value of 93.0%.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What is the difference between an oxygen concentrator and an oxygen generator?

An oxygen concentrator is understood as small medical systems for home use. The term oxygen generator indicates systems on a larger scale.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Worldwide, millions of oxygen concentrators are used, which produce 93% oxygen. Why do some states continue to specify 99% oxygen purity for hospital delivery systems?

If authorities insist on 99.0% pure medical oxygen, this is generally due to the interests of competition, which would prevent the introduction of more cost-efficient systems, such as PSA oxygen generators.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Is it true that a PSA nitrogen generator or a PSA oxygen generator must be installed inside?

PSA nitrogen generators and PSA oxygen generators from INMATEC are suitable both for installation inside and outside. It is decisive that the ambient temperature is between +5°C and +45°C.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

From which ambient temperature is the installation of an air conditioner unit or heating required?

At an ambient temperature of +45°C or higher, an air conditioner must be available. If it is colder than +4°C, a heating system is required.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Is a humidity meter necessary in the installation room?

If the generator is operated at higher air humidity, it is advisable to continually measure the compressed air humidity and regulate this if necessary. The INMATEC engineers are happy to advise you.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can components of the system be distributed between different rooms (e.g. for reasons of space)?

The components for the preparation and production of nitrogen can be placed in separate rooms without trouble.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What maintenance costs exist for PSA nitrogen generators/PSA oxygen generators?

With the daily 24-hour operation, we recommend that the elements of the internal filter are replaced in six month intervals. The valves should generally be replaced every five years. The service work for the compressors are based on the recommendations of the manufacturer.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What is the service life of the molecular sieve?

The service life of the molecular sieve is based on the quality of the intake air. On compliance with the recommended standard, the sieve can be used for 20 years or even longer.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What happens if the molecular sieve is soiled or contaminated?

Generally, the performance of the molecular sieve is reduced in the event of contamination. It should be replaced in the event of contamination. Oil and ammonia are frequent contaminating substances. If the molecular sieve is soiled with water, the need for replacement depends on the degree of soiling. If it is low, the sieve can usually remain in operation.
Tip: Ask the INMATEC engineers in advance which additional arrangements may be practical, in order to ensure the smoothest possible functioning of the molecular sieve.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can a nitrogen generator or oxygen generator continue to be used with a contaminated molecular sieve?

A PSA nitrogen generator or PSA oxygen generator can continue to be used with a contaminated molecular sieve. However, a reduced purity and quantity of the nitrogen or oxygen produced should be assumed. For this reason, the sieve should be replaced immediately when using nitrogen in food production.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What time and cost is required for replacing a molecular sieve?

Molecular serves can always be replaced on site as the generator, which keeps the time and cost necessary for replacement low. The exact costs for the replacement depend on the size and model of the generator.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What is important to know when buying a new molecular sieve?

Please remember that only molecular serves supplied by INMATEC are recommended for the operation of our nitrogen generators or oxygen generators.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Is a standard compressor sufficient for the operation of a INMATEC generator, or is an oil-free compressor required?

Provided the necessary quality of intake air or compressed air is met, a standard compressor is fully satisfactory. In must be ensured that the compressor power is adapted to the power of the nitrogen generator or oxygen generator.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Which standard compressors does INMATEC use?

INMATEC exclusively uses air compressors that meet our internal reliability requirements and whose manufacturers guarantee a first-class service worldwide.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Are oil-free compressors more expensive than standard compressors?

Yes, oil-free compressors are generally significantly more expensive than oil lubricated devices. The oil filter is omitted for this, which would otherwise need to be connected in order to ensure oil-free compressed air.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What happens if oil enters the air line with an air compressor due to a fault?

An excessive oil unloading can contaminate the molecular sieve.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Is a dryer necessary for the air preparation?

This depends on the quality of the intake air. With a PSA nitrogen generator or a PSA oxygen generator, the pressure thaw point must not be higher than +4°C. At higher values, a dryer is necessary.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Is an adsorption dryer necessary for the air preparation, or is a standard refrigeration dryer sufficient?

In most cases, a refrigeration dryer is sufficient. The INMATEC engineers are happy to advise you on this.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can an adsorption dryer be used in principle? What advantages and disadvantages exist?

In principle, an adsorption dryer can be used instead of a refrigeration dryer. Generally, the performance of the nitrogen generators/oxygen generators increases slightly through this. On the other hand, there are higher costs and a larger energy cost, which cancels the performance advantage.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What happens if the air dryer fails due to a fault?

If an air dryer fails, the sieve of the nitrogen generator or oxygen generator can become contaminated with water.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What role does the height of the installation location have on the configurations of the system?

The size of the air compressor for a PSA generator is based on the height of the installation location. The higher this is above the sea level, the larger the compressor must be in order to balance the decreasing air pressure.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Where is the pressure thaw point of the nitrogen produced by a PSP nitrogen generator?

The pressure thaw point of the nitrogen produced by the PSA nitrogen generator is between -35 C and -60°C, depending on the size of the generator.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

And where is the pressure thaw point of the oxygen produced by a PSP oxygen generator?

The pressure thaw point of the oxygen produced by the PSA oxygen generator is between -51°C and -73°C, depending on the size of the generator.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

At what starting pressure is the produced nitrogen/oxygen available?

Nitrogen produced by INMATEC nitrogen generators has a starting pressure between 5 bar(g) and 7 bar(g). Higher pressures are also possible when using nitrogen compressors (optional).
The starting pressure of the oxygen produced by the INMATEC oxygen generators is between 5 bar(g) and 7 bar(g). Higher pressures can also be achieved when using oxygen compressors (optional).

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Does the starting pressure of the nitrogen/oxygen differ between individual generators/models?

No, all models have the same starting pressure.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can the pressure be increased to a higher value?

The nitrogen supply pressure of a PSA nitrogen generator can be increased by reducing the flow rate of the system. Further possibilities are the use of a booster or compressor. The same applies for the oxygen pressure with PSA oxygen generators.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

There is always a certain loss from condensation with liquid nitrogen or oxygen. Does this problem also exist with nitrogen or oxygen that is produced by a PSA nitrogen generator or PSA oxygen generator?

No, the entire nitrogen/oxygen produced by a PSA nitrogen generator/PSA oxygen generator is available without loss.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can an INMATEC nitrogen generator or an INMATEC oxygen generator also be remotely monitored?

INMATEC fits its nitrogen generators and oxygen generators by series with a remote monitoring system. The touch control panel can thereby be operated by Internet from any point in the world - even over mobile end devices such as laptops or iPads.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What is the design of a PSA nitrogen system or a PSA oxygen system based on?

Ideally, data is available for determining the appropriate unit size for customers. The use of a user history is also helpful. In other cases, the peak demand can be determined by a formula. INMATEC is happy to answer further questions.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

What are the most important advantages of a PSA nitrogen generator or a PSA oxygen generator in comparison to bottled gas or liquid gas from large tanks?

With a PSA nitrogen system/PSA oxygen system, all direct and indirect costs from transport and delivery, or also cylinder and tank rental, are omitted. As the associated CO2 emission is also stopped, this technology is also a real contribution to the environment.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can the cause of a fault in a generator be determined by INMATEC by remote access?

INMATEC fits its nitrogen generators and oxygen generators by series with a remote monitoring system. For this reason, we can access your device at any time where needed, in order to make diagnoses or remedy faults.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can systems be fitted with an automatic deactivation (e.g. in the event of a fault)?

Yes, every nitrogen system and every oxygen system can be set so that it deactivates automatically whenever any parameter values occur. A precondition for this is that the corresponding sensors are present (pressure thaw point, nitrogen unit/oxygen unit, quantity etc.).

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can a nitrogen cylinder and an oxygen cylinder be contaminated?

Due to faulty handling, nitrogen cylinders and oxygen cylinders can become soiled. For this reason, INMATEC offers vacuum pumps for all models, in order to empty every cylinder before it is refilled.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

How long does the nitrogen or the oxygen remain in a cylinder? Does the cylinder have to be approved again regularly?

The nitrogen or oxygen in a cylinder remains without limit. For aluminium cylinders, the TÜV specifies inspection for watertightness every five years in Germany. With steel cylinders, this must take place every ten years.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Does a nitrogen cylinder or an oxygen cylinder have to be emptied with a vacuum pump before refilling?

There is no rule of this kind. If the cylinder was under the supervision of the filler during the entire usage period, emptying with a vacuum pump is not necessary. In other cases, INMATEC advises that every cylinder is emptied with a vacuum pump before it is refilled.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Is it possible to save costs by monitoring only the nitrogen purity or the oxygen purity?

Yes, in many cases it is sufficient only to monitor the purity of the nitrogen/oxygen.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

With PSA nitrogen generators, the costs for the nitrogen production and for filling cylinders is normally given in kilowatt-hours (kW/h). The reason for this is that while the air is free, there are costs for the electricity to operate the air compressor. When operating the system at sea level, approximately 10 kW/h is necessary in order to fill a 10m³ nitrogen cylinder – or in other words: 0.5 kW/h per m³. The costs for filling oxygen cylinders are subject to the same calculations.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

How much energy is needed by a PSA nitrogen generator/PSA oxygen generator?

INMATEC PSA nitrogen generators and PSA oxygen generators are particularly cost saving with an average consumption of 100 W.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can INMATEC nitrogen systems or INMATEC oxygen systems be transported with standard containers?

Most INMATEC systems are designed so that they can fit without problems in a standard 20 or 40 foot container. There they are also particularly safely protected from any transport damage.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Can a PSA nitrogen system or a PSA oxygen system be installed on a skid?

Yes, this is possible without any problems. A horizontal orientation of the generator is required for proper functioning.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

Which tests does an INMATEC nitrogen generator or an INMATEC oxygen generator undergo before delivery?

Each nitrogen generator or oxygen generator leaves our factory only after passing intensive functional tests. This also includes a 24-hour continual operation.

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

In which sectors are nitrogen or oxygen required?

Nitrogen and oxygen are required in more senses than you think.

Nitrogen is required in e.g.:


•    Agriculture
•    Aviation technology
•    Laser applications
•    The food industry
•    The plastics industry
•    The oil and gas industry
•    The shipping industry
•    The electronics industry
•    Tank cleaning
•    Mining and tunnelling
•    Turbo compressors
•    Chemistry and Pharmacology
•    Metal industry
•    Welding and arc welding
•    Soldering and brazing
•    Cutting
•    Storage
•    The packaging industry
•    To prevent dust explosions
•    Overlay - transport
•    Crushing
•    And many more...

Oxygen is required in e.g.:
•    Fish breeding and fish farming
•    Drinking water treatment
•    Operation rooms and hospitals
•    Metal industry
•    Mining
•    Wellness and beauty
•    Cutting and welding
•    Glass processing and neon applications
•    Veterinary clinics
•    Biogas plants
•    Fire heating
•    Pharma production
•    The food industry
•    Diving centres
•    Hyperbaric chambers and decompression chambers
•    And many more...

Last update on 02.05.2016 by Kay Deigmann.

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