Industrial group Atlas Copco’s blowers for low-pressure compressors will be avail- able locally from compressor and generator hire company Rand-Air, which forms part of Atlas Copco. The company is planning on adding these units to its fleet in the near future.
Rand-Air GM Louwrens Erasmus says the addition of the ZB turbo blowers and ZS oil-free screw blowers will enable the company to offer blower technologies to the mining industry.
The ZB turbo blower is a 100% oil-free high-speed drive turbo blower, with an integrated variable-speed drive (VSD). The technology is efficient and reduces maintenance costs owing to the integration of new technologies, such as VSDs, that result in increased life-cycle cost savings.
The blower’s compact design and low noise levels make it a suitable solution for several applications.
In addition, Atlas Copco’s ZS range of 100% oil-free screw blowers have a flow range of 147 cubic feet per metre (cfm) to 2 700 cfm, with pressures of up to 1.2 bar(e).
Atlas Copco states that the ZS screw blower is on average 30% more energy efficient than a traditional roots-type lobe blower.
The lobe blower, the development of which has had few advances since its introduction in the nineteenth century, clearly consumes far more energy.
With the ZS blower, customers can benefit from installation cost savings, as the blower comes as a complete plug-and-run unit with an integrated VSD and controller.
Meanwhile, Atlas Copco’s ZE/ZA compressor range is also available from Rand-Air and offers industries a reliable supply of 100% oil-free compressed air, which is critical to ensuring production continuity, especially in harsh and dusty environments.
The low-pressure ZE/ZA compressors offer a constant air flow at lower energy costs.
Oil-Free Air Technologies
“Rand-Air focuses on oil-free air technologies because of the benefits it provides for various industries ,” states Erasmus.
“Demand for this type of equipment has become far greater in the last couple of years owing to the environmental and cost-reduction benefits.
“In addition, government’s increased awareness of environment-friendly production processes and industries has also led to greater demand,” he states.
Rand-Air rental and projects manager and expert for mining in Africa Ceu Moreira points out that there is no legislation that can force companies to use oil-free air in their production processes.
She stresses that the food and chemicals industries ideally need to use oil-free air, as oil contact can be problematic in these industries.
Moreira states that oil-injected air will always be in demand, as it is one of the most efficient and cheapest sources of energy and is used in all manufacturing plants for system lubrication.
Erasmus agrees that the use of oil-free air compressors is more affordable in the long term, noting that the use of filters in oil- injected air compressors results in restrictions, which increases energy costs, as the compressor has to work much harder.
“The efficiency of technical oil-free air is currently being debated in the pneumatics industry, as it is not actually 100% oil free and can be costly because the filtration systems, which the air and oil go through, have to be continuously replaced,” he notes.
Applications that are particularly suited to the use of oil-free air compressors include food and beverage processing, pharmaceuticals manufacturing and packaging, chemicals and petrochemicals processing, semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, the medical sector, automotive spray-painting applications and textile manufacturing.
Atlas Copco undertakes continuous research and development into oil-free and clean air technologies and is ISO 8573-1 Class 0 certified.
Meanwhile, Rand-Air is visiting various wastewater treatment plants in Africa to create awareness of the benefits of using low-pressure blowers in the recycling of water, Erasmus states.
Low-pressure blowers can assist in treating the wastewater, which can then be recycled and returned to the environment, explains Rand-Air marketing manager Byrone Thorne.
In conventional wastewater-activated sludge plants, bacteria are used to feed on organic waste and break it up into carbon dioxide, nitrogen (gas) and water. Because the bacteria need oxygen, large amounts of air are blown into the aeration tanks, Rand-Air explains.
The aeration blower system accounts for up to 70% of the energy use in a typical biological wastewater treatment plant.
To reduce energy consumption and costs in these continuously operating plants, Atlas Copco’s air blowers incorporate the latest energy efficient design and technologies.