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Embracing inert gas for aerosol filling – the nitrogen advantage

Posted on Thu 9th November 2023

In the fast-paced world of aerosol manufacturing, efficiency and innovation are becoming ever more essential in order to meet the growing sustainability requirements of consumers and businesses alike.

One of the most exciting developments in recent times has been the recognition that nitrogen has a growing role to play in the aerosol filling process. Something that is borne largely from the introduction of sustainable alternatives like our own Eco-Valve technology which allows brands the opportunity to replace LPG propellant, without compromising on performance.

Using nitrogen gives many advantages over LPG and even CO2. Not only is it non-flammable, contains zero hydrocarbons and is so abundant that it even be sourced from the very air we breathe. For the first time, new technologies such as Eco-Valve, can utilise nitrogen to provide a consistent performance similar to LPG, through a product’s life cycle in a sustainable and truly environmentally responsible way.

But what are the implications of using nitrogen on filling lines with existing equipment? In our latest blog we look at some of the key advantages, and how nitrogen is reshaping the industry as we know it.

1. The same but different: Adaptable designs
The integration of nitrogen onto existing aerosol filling lines is a fairly seamless process with minimal investment and no impact to efficiency at most speeds. Most existing filling line designs (either through the stem or undercup) can be easily adapted for nitrogen use at nominal cost and require only small changes such as adjustment/replacement of filling heads based on the specific line requirements. This adaptability ensures a smooth transition, allowing manufacturers to enhance their production processes without significant disruptions.

2. No gas house needed
Traditionally, incorporating gases into aerosol production required the setup of an expensive gas house infrastructure. However, with, nitrogen there is no requirement for a gas house-as the non-flammable propellant can be supplied directly onto the filling line via tanks or fed to the line through a regulated system similar to the way that standard LPG is fed to a gas house. This streamlined approach not only saves money but also simplifies the production setup considerably.

3. Do I still need a water bath?
The question of whether a water bath is necessary when filling with compressed gases remains open. While many fillers already omit the water bath step, when using nitrogen or other inert gas propellants, definitive industry standards are still in the making. We recommend that you continue to comply with all the necessary safety regulations applicable to your current manufacturing processes.

4. High-speed filling is achievable
Innovation thrives on speed, and nitrogen filling doesn’t disappoint. When optimised, nitrogen lines can support high-speed filling comparable to existing LPG filling lines. This remarkable capability ensures that manufacturers can meet growing demands without compromising on efficiency or product quality.

5. Pressure trumps weight checks
When it comes to ensuring the correct fill levels for inert gas-powered aerosol cans, precision is key. For the most reliable results, nitrogen filling relies on pressure testing instead of weight checks. By doing this, manufacturers obtain the most accurate information needed to ensure the perfect pack. By testing that each can is correctly gassed in this way, the manufacturer enhances quality control and customer satisfaction because issues can be spotted more quickly and resolved more efficiently, particularly when used in conjunction with the other changes possible when introducing nitrogen to their line.

In conclusion, nitrogen can be incorporated into current aerosol filling lines easily, with little investment and crucially, with no impact to efficiency. The use of nitrogen represents a shift for the industry. With its adaptability, cost-effectiveness and capabilities, nitrogen is redefining the way manufacturers approach aerosol production. As the industry continues to evolve, embracing these innovations is not just an option but a necessity for businesses and brand owners wanting to stay ahead and offer more sustainable options for their customers.

Nitrogen filling is more than just a trend; it’s fast becoming the future of aerosol manufacturing.

Ready to make the move to nitrogen? To find out more about how Eco-Valve could benefit your business email: info@salvalco.com