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Around the Shop: Airgas MicroBulk System

Microbulk System November 22, 2017

Okay, while we have a lot of fun writing really technical features for our site (we love nerding out over subjects related to magnetic shielding and manufacturing in general), we thought, why not cover something pretty topical that simply helps us in our day-to-day operations? Something that, though simple on the surface, saves us and our customers money as an underlying “product” of it’s very implementation?

Yes. Today, we place a spotlight on our Airgas MicroBulk system. Not sure what that is? Well, it’s simple In relation to MuShield and our business of working with metal in our manufacturing facility, we require a lot of hydrogen and nitrogen gas to laser cut out material blanks, weld magnetic shielding and sheet metal components and get our hydrogen heat treating furnaces “up to temp.” In the past we had the general cylinders in place that, on a small scale, you might recognize as say, the helium tank that blows up balloons at a party store. When you turn those in for a new tank, you know (or maybe you don’t…) that there’s some residual leftovers in the tank that you’ve essentially paid for (in the ballpark of 20%!), but are not using – driving the overall cost of gas up just a bit. The kicker? There’s nothing you can do about it. It just “is.” We won’t even get into the amount of time it takes to roll tanks around and install them…

So, applying that to a manufacturing facility, that residual remnants can add up quite quickly. We’re not just barbequing chicken in here…

We’ve teamed up with Airgas and have had them initiate their integrated, streamlined approach to changing out the cylinders we use to fuel our operative systems. Airgas MicroBulk is a cost-effective gas management solution that provides the efficiencies of bulk delivery and charges us only for the gas we use. It’s an uninterrupted supply that saves us time and money. Literally.

Other added benefits:

  • Fewer administrative obligations
  • Increased safety
  • Off the hook for lost cylinder costs (because, let’s face it, sometimes they just “roll away”…
  • Streamlined flow (no stoppage for swapping out tanks manually, etc.)
  • Inventory control costs
  • Space savings – no storage equals more free real estate for other needs in the shop
  • No potential contaminants entering the supply due to not having to store backups

This essentially leads to cost savings for MuShield and our customers. No matter how small a difference that may be, it’s a difference none-the-less, and depending on the job, that “residual” savings can be quite significant.

We’re so happy with this recent application to our facility. It definitely makes a difference, and gives us complete peace-of-mind. There’s a lot of moving pieces and parts around here, so not having to deal with thinking too much about fuel/energy acquisition is a piece of the pie we were glad to shift to someone else’s plate allowing us to focus our time and attention in making the best magnetic shields for our customers!


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