Gases and services from the Messer group are enhancing vehicle production methods and sending such processes into fifth gear.

Light and Air
For example, the noble gases argon and krypton are added to halogen compounds used in modern headlights. Another noble gas, xenon, is increasingly being used in this area.

“Xenon lamps are remarkable for their high luminance, low power consumption and extremely long service life”, explained Dr. Hermann Grabhorn, Vice President Specialty Gases.

Developments in the systems used in airbags mean that there is increased reliance on hybrid or cold gas generators, predominantly being filled with argon, nitrogen and helium.

“The early identification of faults in production makes a significant contribution to keeping costs down,” Grabhorn remarked. Helium plays a key role in this, used as a tracer gas for identifying leaks in pipelines and heat exchangers that are used in air conditioning systems.

Heat Treatments
Quality and strength of metal is crucial in car manufacturing and inert gases, produced from nitrogen and methanol, are required for the heat treatment of the metal at temperatures in excess of 750°C.

Following this, cold treatments at temperatures around minus 120°C and a process known as ‘nitration’, rely on ammonia, carbon dioxide and nitrogen to produce components that have an ultra-hard, corrosion-resistant surface.

Other thermal treatments of cast iron make use of nitrogen and argon, depending on the alloy used, while carbon dioxide is used as a foaming agent in car seats, and dry-ice can be used in the process of blast cleaning. Messer’s experience and expertise in this area provides individual solutions to each of these applications.

•Gasworld will bring its readers an exploration of Gases in the Automotive Arena, in its January Focus Feature article, to be published to the Gasworld website.