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Spray painting with heated Nitrogen gas

A success case study for improved productivity, better quality, and a lot of energy savings.

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August 10, 2020

Painting car

When you see any vehicle what is the first thing which attracts your attention? Design, color, specifications, manufacturer name, and many more. However, a general trend shows that apart from the design of the vehicle its color also gets noticed and influences the buying process.

But did you know your vehicle gets painted by spray painting technique wherein compressed air/nitrogen gas plays a vital role.

Today, we are sharing one such success case wherein Atlas Copco India has recently supplied a Nitrogen gas generator to India’s leading automotive manufacturing company for their spray painting application. The objective of using N2 gas is to reduce costs and improve productivity.

Air vs Nitrogen in spray painting

The company was facing the issue with spray painting quality on their vehicles with the existing compressed air system. The main challenge was the mixing of air moisture with the paint, affecting the overall paint job and product quality.

Additionally, the oxygen in the air would react with the paint and as a result, the paint molecules would change in size either contracting or expanding. This meant the operator was not having full control of the paint’s spray range. Refer the adjacent image to understand the difference.

To resolve this issue, the company has decided to use heated Nitrogen gas as a replacement for compressed air. Nitrogen being an anhydrous gas, would not retain any moisture. It is also an inert gas, meant that it would not react with the paint and allow painting significantly faster.

The biggest advantage of working with N₂ comes down to paint savings, which were in the range between 15 and 25%. Further, in order to get the most out of a nitrogen spray paint installation, it was decided to include an electrostatic gun and nitrogen heater. The good implementation of these activities resulted in even and focussed spray with a lot of energy savings.

Selection of the right supplier

Now, the company was looking for a turnkey supplier with the expertise of a Nitrogen generator for spray painting with below specifications:

  • Technology: On-site, On-demand, PSA type Nitrogen gas generator
  • Nitrogen Flowrate: 100 Nm3/hr
  • Nitrogen gas Purity= 95 +-1% N2

Based on the expertise and understanding of the application, Atlas Copco recommended an NGP+ PSA N2 generator and helped the customer to execute the project on Turnkey basis as a one-stop solution provider. The project scope included:

A typical set-up illustration for heated spray painting

Spray painting using heated nitrogen

Set-up for maximum energy savings using heated nitrogen

Why Nitrogen?

Nitrogen has been increasingly used in the field of spray painting of body parts of Aircraft, F1 cars, fleet trucks, cars, and bus, etc. and nowadays it is more preferred the reasons over the use of compressed air due to following benefits.

Qualitative benefits:

  • Uniformity of the application range
  • Less over-spray
  • Less time between coats
  • Greater transfer efficiency (the opposites attract themselves)
  • Reduction of process time with wet on wet applications (fewer trips around the object)
  • Fewer solvents (reduced flash time, possible shorter Bake Cycles)
  • Paint is better distended on the target, resulting in better Distinction Of Image (DOI) and higher quality
  • Less contamination = less sanding and buffing
  • Less material usage with better coverage
  • Reduced time in the paint booth
  • Greater productivity
  • Less VOC produced

Quantitative benefits:

  • Paint saving of 15% ~ 20%
  • Low operating costs, and sustainable nitrogen supply


Since the first-ever installed plant - Nitrogen for spray paint application has been evaluated by similar customers at other sites as well and to this date running successfully.

Atlas Copco with its global experience and as a single source supplier helping the customers to complete the installation in a cost-effective way and thus achieving the long term energy savings with peace of mind.


Did you know Atlas Copco is a leading global service provider of industrial gas solutions with 3000+ references in more than 70 countries? Further, we are the only manufacturer that designs, services, and manufactures the complete Nitrogen plant.