- Atlas Copco (0.06 MB)
/ MEDIA STATEMENT / This content is not written by Creamer Media, but is a supplied media statement.
While South African business, mining and industry have been under prolonged pressure caused not only by the protracted global economic downturn but also by economic, political and social difficulties on the local front, Atlas Copco Compressor Technique remains resolute in its commitment to providing customers with sustainable productivity solutions through people development, continued stability and growth.
During hard-hitting times, sustainable productivity becomes even more essential to mining and industry in order to remain competitive. As a major player in the global arena for over 145 years and in the local market for over 70 years, Atlas Copco has the necessary global and local experience, expertise and know-how to continue providing sustainable productivity solutions.
“In order to assist our customers with sustainable productivity it is our responsibility to ensure that we are in a position to deliver seamless support through the provision of world-class quality, efficient and reliable products backed by unsurpassed service levels,” comment Pieter van Wyk and Charl Ackerman, Business Line Managers for Oil-Free Air and Industrial Air respectively.
“While growth is difficult during market inertia and project mothballing, we simply cannot afford to stagnate. There will be an upswing albeit a conservative one and we must be ready for it. So we have not rested on our laurels waiting for things to happen; instead we have been proactive and are making it happen.”
Atlas Copco’s Compressor Technique business area which comprises oil-free air, industrial air, after-market service and more recently Vacuum Technique, is nearing its conclusion of a three-year plan that has been focusing on a number of initiatives in preparation for the economic upswing. A strong focus area is the development of people skills through training programmes and the upgrading of work tools. Employee satisfaction has resulted in the business area retaining its staff and subsequently people skills.
A professional and motivated team brings stability and Compressor Technique’s investment in its people has paid off. “With a 100 plus strong team and a solid, stable foundation we can provide complete quality air solutions – compressors, dryers, filters, vacuum pumps as well as parts and service.
We are now more than ever before ready for growth through the identification of sectors that show the greatest potential, increased market penetration, expansion of our product ranges, the constant improvement of products and efficiencies and finally by matching our company and product strengths to markets.”
Compressor Technique is moving its focus from saturated markets and from areas where coverage of its medium and high pressure offerings is good to sectors showing strong growth potential. Ackerman notes that the medical sector remains largely untapped by Atlas Copco. “Our ISO 7396-1 certified medical air systems which include the GA MED compressors, dryers and receivers, mVAC vacuum products and oxygen generators, deliver reliable, efficient and ultra-pure air.”
Two further growth areas where Atlas Copco plans to increase its footprint is rail as well as onsite on-site industrial gas (nitrogen and oxygen) generators which offer a more sustainable and cost-efficient solution compared to gas delivered in cylinders or bulk liquid supply which also requires a bulk storage area. Our latest NGP+ onsite nitrogen generator with PSA technology can simply be plugged into an existing compressor network to produce nitrogen with purities of up to 99,999%,” reveals Ackerman.
Another major focus area is the food and beverage industry, a sector which Van Wyk points out has been less affected by the economic downturn. Here Atlas Copco draws on its leadership in the field of oil-free solutions. As the first company to be certified as 100% oil free with ISO 8573-1 Class 0 certification of its oil-free compressors approximately eight years ago, the company took oil-free air to the next level. In 2015 Atlas Copco scooped another first by becoming the first compressor company globally to receive ISO 22000 Food Safety System Certification for its production facility in Belgium.
“This has certainly opened up new markets for us as alongside food and beverage processing there are many other applications within pharmaceutical manufacturing and packaging, chemical and petrochemical processing, electronics and textile manufacturing, automotive paint spraying as well as medical diligences that demand 100% oil-free air,” affirms Van Wyk.
Product range expansion positions Atlas Copco to penetrate markets with end-to-end quality air solutions for small, medium and large air demands. Alongside the expansion of Atlas Copco premium GA, GA+, GA VSD (variable speed drive) and GA VSD+ compressor ranges, the GA oil-injected screw compressors now include 200 and 250 kW VSD versions, closing the gap in the 160 and 315 kW VSD ranges.
VSD presents an efficient option for operations where compressors are regularly run at below maximum capacity, by matching the compressor’s speed to the compressed air demand. The boosting of GA VSD+ technology offers increased efficiencies that deliver significant cost savings to customers. The GA 7-75 VSD+ compressors and GHS 350-900 VSD+ rotary screw vacuum pumps can cut energy bills by as much as 50%!
On the ultra-high efficiency side Atlas Copco has extended its Permanent Magnet VSD+ compressor range. With Permanent Magnet (PM) motor being the most efficient option for compressors running at maximum capacity 24/7, the GA VSD+ compressors have been completely redesigned to make optimum use of patented PM motor and drive train technology.
While VSD compressors are not widely used in mines, Van Wyk says that they have seen immediate success with this technology amongst energy-conscious customers. Aeration in mining presents a huge market for low pressure and Van Wyk envisages particularly good growth in the gold and coal mining sector for Atlas Copco low pressure ZS blowers. Here too the ranges have been expanded; the ZS offering now goes up to 355 kW and also includes VSD options.
The turbine range, previously limited to 132 kW, now go up to 250kW, and VSDs can be coupled to almost all compressors in the range. “We are now positioned to offer best-fit solutions for almost any application requiring low pressure compressed air.” Low pressure compressors are also widely used for wastewater treatment; pneumatic conveying of powders such as cement or dry food powders, for iron smelting furnaces and for chemical industry processes.
The recent expansion of the vacuum ranges has warranted the establishment of Vacuum Technique as a separate business area within Atlas Copco. “Vacuum technology is almost as big as the compressor business and we have not even begun to scratch the surface locally,” says Vacuum Pumps and Systems Sales Representative, Willem Brits. The GHS 350 - 5400 VSD+ rotary screw oil-lubricated single-stage vacuum pumps bring far-reaching innovation in vacuum technology with energy savings of around 50%, a dramatic reduction in lifecycle costs and improved productivity.
The GVS single-stage and GVD double-stage oil-sealed rotary vanes, DVS dry vane, DZS dry claw vacuum pumps (VSD also available), ZRS Rotary Lobe booster pumps and AWS single stage and AWD double stage liquid ring pumps complete Atlas Copco’s current vacuum product portfolio.
While the main focus for growth remains local, Atlas Copco Compressor Technique’s growth strategy extends to the rest of Africa with EPCs as the main route to market. “We perceive a slight yet noticeable upswing with new projects, expansions and upgrades leading to more RFQs and boosting orders which leaves us optimistic about the future.
We are fully equipped and ready to deliver end-to-end quality air solutions to assist our customers in becoming more successful and profitable through improved product efficiency and equipment reliability, increased uptime and reduced operational costs for sustainable productivity and lowest possible cost of ownership,” concludes Van Wyk and Ackerman.