Rock Solid Industries (RSI), manufacturer of pickup truck canopies, has purchased two nitrogen (N2) generators from leading local manufacturer and supplier of N2 generators, NitraLife, to augment and strengthen its manufacturing efficiencies and capabilities.


Michael Voss, Managing Director of Rock Solid Industries (RSI) with a NitraCut nitrogen generator from leading local manufacturer and supplier NitraLife.

In 2014, RSI began producing stainless steel canopies and modular accessories for the leisure vehicle industry. The innovative stainless steel patented design of the ‘SmartCanopy’ – which is modular and requires very little maintenance – are primarily used as mobile field service workshops and other pick-up-mounted utility applications.

“Two key aspects of the RSI SmartCanopy manufacturing process are the cutting of thin gauge stainless steel up to 2 mm; and the spray painting of their finished units. In keeping with their ethos of continuous improvement and innovation, RSI sought to improve both these processes even further and is now using our N2 generators to enable them to do so,” explains Tom Sowry, Managing Director of NitraLife.

“This one supplies assist gas to the company’s fibre laser cutter; while the other provides clean, dry N2 gas for RSI’s spray painting facility,” he explains.

Sowry adds that, with the fibre laser cutting of stainless steel, N2 gives a superior quality cut which is clean, with no oxidation.

“Generating N2 for laser cutting on-site and on-demand has proven to be a convenient and cost-effective boon for our customers, including RSI. Furthermore, it has another key added advantage over cylinder gas supply in that customers never run the risk of downtime due to running out of gas,” he points out.

The use of N2 also has substantial benefits for RSI’s spray-painting section. “Overall, our quality has vastly improved. We get fewer runs and sags, and consistently achieve excellent gloss levels, even when the ambient temperature is high,” Voss explains.

Importantly, he also notes that the company has had a 15% reduction in paint consumption since the adoption of N2 in their spray painting process.

The issue of quality is very important to RSI. “Today’s pickup trucks have sophisticated paint finishes which match that of any luxury German sedan. Therefore the quality of our paint finishes has to match these high standards,” Voss elaborates.

Taking the ongoing demand for quality into account, Voss was quick to see the advantages of having an independent N2 supply, both for the laser cutting and spray-painting processes in the business.

“Having NitraLife generators means that we can have a reliable supply of gas on-site and on-demand. We estimate that the purchase of the NitraLife units – in comparison to conventional cylinder supply – paid for itself in about 13 months. Thereafter, the only costs to RSI are maintenance and service, which are minimal.”

Sowry concurs, adding, ”We see considerable growth in the supply of NitraLife N2 generators to the spray-painting industry in particular, where the benefits of N2 over compressed air have been clearly illustrated time and again.”

“For NitraLife, it has been a privilege working with our valued customer RSI, as our companies share a passionate dedication to innovation, service and quality,” says Sowry.

“We look forward to seeing our on-site, on-demand N2 playing its part in enabling RSI to continue producing their innovative, premium-quality products going forward,” he concludes.

RSI, based in Pietermaritzburg, the capital of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, exports to 22 countries and has a manufacturing capacity of 2,500 canopies a month with further expansion expected in 2019.