Cape Town-based Air Compressor Engineering (ACE) was awarded a compressed-air supply contract in March by diversified resources group BHP Billiton for its Mozal aluminium smelter, in Mozambique.
As an official representative of Italy-based air compressor manufacturer Mattei, it supplies original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) service kits and spare parts to the smelter operation, which runs over 20 Mattei 450 compressor units as part of the pot tending assemblies.
“These units are currently undergoing a 36-month refurbishment air end replacement project,” says ACE manager Geoff Ellis.
As with many other industries, the compressed-air sector has been negatively affected by market forces; however, as compressed air is widely used in most sectors, there has been a mixed impact, he states.
“Manufacturers are constantly seeking ways to improve their competitiveness. This may lead to some form of automation, which, in many cases, requires compressed air. This has meant an increase in existing customers’ compressed-air requirements, or new clients having to install new systems,” says Ellis.
ACE offers a range of equipment, which is mostly imported from Italy.
“The Chinook/Shamal range of reciprocating piston compressors, which we have been selling for more than 25 years, is a tried and tested brand of industrial quality. We also offer the Ceccato range of rotary screw compressors, which is part of Atlas Copco’s multibrand stable.
“For the last 20 years, we have also been associated with the Mattei range of rotary vane compressors. We offer a full backup service for all three types of compressors.
“We also offer a range of refurbished rotary vane compressors as a more affordable option for clients with limited budgets or who want an affordable unit for backup purposes,” says Ellis.
The company has a selection of rotary machines available for long- and short-term hire or emergency backup.
“All installations include the required ancillary equipment, such as air dryers, air-filtration units and reticulation,” he notes.
Ellis adds that ACE has retained its skills base over the years, enabling it to meet industry requirements by understanding clients’ needs.
“We can offer the right product for most applications, ranging from the mining sector to the marine environment, as well as products for the do-it-yourself enthusiast,” he points out.
ACE states that the main feature of each of its products is reliability.
“This is understandably only achievable by ensuring the correct sizing of the equipment, which ensures an efficient compressed-air system. With the advent of variable-speed drive and high-output compressors in our range, an upgraded compressed-air system can now reduce operational costs in the long term,” says Ellis.
Since its inception 31 years ago, ACE has provided the full spectrum of system design and specialised manufacture to meet customer requirements, using state-of-the-art rotary vane, rotary screw and reciprocating piston air compressors.
It supplies air compressors and spare parts throughout Southern Africa, including South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Angola, Nigeria, Kenya and Botswana.
“We maintain our philosophy of supplying quality equipment and a high-quality backup service,” he says.
Meanwhile, Mattei Compressors, of the US, has acquired packager of onboard air compressors for metro, subway, light rail and people-mover applications Transit Engineering Services (TES).
TES will now operate as Mattei Transit Engineering (MTE) and will offer a line of highly engineered transit air systems supporting on-board pneumatic operations including brakes, doors, controls, safety barriers and other systems from 1.5 hp to 75 hp.
Italy-based Mattei, which is an affiliate of Mattei Compressors, will provide MTE with rotary vane air ends for transit and other OEM applications.
“We provide an alternative to piston and rotary screw compressor technologies, which have struggled under the demanding operating conditions in transit applications, where durability, low oil carry-over and cost of operation are crucial,” says MTE technical director Nick Brearey.
He adds that MTE’s entry into on-board transit air compression is a strategic decision as it positions Mattei’s rotary vane technology to expand into new OEM applications and markets.
“Public transit is a growing need throughout North America and the world.
“The market-driven demand for improved transit infrastructure in cities and airports in the US and around the world continues to increase, creating demand for safe, environ- ment-friendly, reliable and affordable onboard air transport.
“We will continue to build on our strong alliances with the rail and people-mover segments, while expanding into electric and hybrid buses, trucks and locomotive applications,” says Mattei Compressors GM Jay Hedges.