NASCAR teams use compressed nitrogen to power their pneumatic wrenches while changing the new single-lug nut hubs employed on the new NASCAR Next Generations race cars. A North Carolina-based NASCAR team wanted to duplicate exact race conditions in their practice sessions, so they started using high-pressure nitrogen in DOT cylinders delivered daily in baskets of (8). Buying cylinder gas is an expensive proposition so, the race team began looking into on-site nitrogen generators to duplicate what is used at the tracks on race day. The team required a reliable system to produce 95% purity nitrogen and preferred a system that could be serviced without interfering with pit crew practice sessions. Looking to save money on the cost of high-pressure compressed nitrogen purchased from a large gas company, they contacted several local compressor distributors including Patton’s, Inc. to discuss nitrogen generator system options.
Bruce Marsh from Patton’s contacted John Haslam of nano-purification solutions to discuss ideas and potential solutions. John and Bruce visited the team’s garage to fully understand the application before providing a proposal. They learned that up to (10) cylinders of high-pressure compressed nitrogen can be used in a single day of practice at quite a significant cost to the team. In addition, the NASCAR team wanted to be fully independent of outside industrial gas suppliers and make their own nitrogen since missing a delivery would mean a day with missed practice. Flexibility and the ability to be ready for anything is what separates top-level racing teams from the rest of the field.
After sizing the system to handle the required flow and purity of the application and considering the time to refill nitrogen storage after a day of practice, nano’s packaged solutions concept was presented. The skid package option was very well received and was specified to all potential suppliers of nitrogen systems. As a precautionary measure, they asked for four (4) mobile, high-pressure nitrogen cylinder carts to be designed to be used by the team for practice. The idea was to have a one-week supply of stored nitrogen so practice sessions would not be interrupted in the event of equipment maintenance or repair. These carts were designed and built by nano, as well.
The nano package would include a 10 HP rotary screw feed air compressor, filtration, a modular desiccant dryer to provide -40°F/C pressure dew point compressed air, a GEN2-2110 nitrogen gas generator, a 10 HP booster compressor and all associated piping, buffer tanks, and safety equipment to provide them exactly the volume and purity nitrogen needed in a plug-and-play format. All in all, Patton’s total price of the package demonstrated an ROI of less than one year to the NASCAR team which proved the project feasibility and made the decision to go with Patton’s and nano quite easy.
After being awarded the project, Patton’s supplied nano with rotary screw and booster compressors required to reach the final specified nitrogen pressure of 3,500 PSIG. Together with the nano nitrogen gas generator, modular desiccant air dryer, and pre-treatment equipment, a packaged system was designed, built, and tested by nano. The system was installed at the end of 2022 and supplied with the (4) mobile carts and all products are performing as designed, much to the delight of the NASCAR team.