Portable compressors play major role in mining applications
Tony Van Herbruggen, General Manager, Power Technique, Atlas Copco India, speaks on how the company is taking on the challenges in terms of production, sales and aftermarket operations.
In the current difficult market conditions, how are you taking on the challenges in terms of production, sales and aftermarket operations?
We have the products to match with our upgraded portfolio and technologically advanced portable air compressors and waterwell compressors, which will continue to support key applications in infrastructure, mining and construction projects.
Our focus was and continues to be safety of our employees and our customers. We have taken the necessary steps early on to ensure social distancing and hygiene norms in our production facilities in Chakan and Dapodi located in Pune.
Tony Van Herbruggen, General Manager, Power Technique, Atlas Copco India, speaks on how the company is taking on the challenges in terms of production, sales and aftermarket operations.In the current difficult market conditions, how are you taking on the challenges in terms of production, sales and aftermarket operations?We have the products to match with our upgraded portfolio and technologically advanced portable air compressors and waterwell compressors, which will continue to support key applications in infrastructure, mining and construction projects.Our focus was and continues to be safety of our employees and our customers. We have taken the necessary steps early on to ensure social distancing and hygiene norms in our production facilities in Chakan and Dapodi located in Pune. We maintain the highest norms for employee care while ensuring our equipment meets the quality and performance, which our customers have come to know and expect.Besides this, our service team follows strict predefined SOP for on-site visits, which are necessary to ensure our portable air compressors are always up and running. We also manage service requests remotely wherever possible with our Power Connect mobile app designed to support customers online with the help of Parts manuals and systematic assistance over the computer or phone.What are the key applications of portable air compressors in construction, mining and drilling operations? What is the current demand trend?Portable air compressors play a pivotal role in mining, infrastructure and construction applications. The mining application specifically, is a segment of paramount importance, looking at the amount of aggregates, which is required for infrastructure and construction projects. Similarly, the extraction of minerals such as iron ore, manganese, coal, limestone, etc. with reliable portable air compressors with the lowest possible energy consumption is an important application under metal mining. Similarly, all the infrastructure and construction projects start with excavations where portable compressors are required and then the entire work chain starts.Infrastructure, mining, quarrying and waterwell are the four major segments of portable compressor business. With the increased focus on road development and the revival in the mining and quarrying segment, there is continued demand for portable compressors. Besides this, the waterwell segment also contributes to the demand of large compressors for borewell applications.The years 2020 and 2021 have been an exceptional year and the pandemic has affected projects worldwide. In the coming years, we look forward to infrastructure and mining projects getting kick started giving us continued opportunities to touch lives and improve infrastructure needs of people in India. We expect a slow and staggered growth in the short term but expect stability and better growth in the long term.We have a state-of-the-art factory in Chakan, Pune that is twice the capacity of our earlier set up and has a possibility to be doubled if required to meet increasing customer demands.What are the new products and solutions offered? What are the features to meet extreme working environments?Making the life of drillers easier in key application segments:The XRH 1100 PLUS is a product tailor-made for specialised applications like water well drilling, foundation drilling, coal mining and blast-hole drilling. Key features:Low cost of ownership with a highly efficient screw element design resulting in 11 per cent better fuel efficiency.Where is the silencer? The exhaust is tucked away in a smart, sleek design to ensure ease of movement during transportation from one drilling site to another.Reengineered technology for higher efficiency:The XAS 450-650 cfm range portable air compressor with four variants in its class is the new technology driver in the 450 – 600 650 cfm range of compressors to cover a wide range of applications.Key features:Higher productivity is achieved with 10 per cent better fuel efficiency. With an advanced screw element design engineered to the highest standards in the industry.A more efficient cooling system makes this compressor best in class for working in higher ambient temperatures under harsh working conditions and delivering higher output in mining applications.Further, it’s new sleek canopy and separator design, single side service and common drainage points ensures ease of service and higher machine running hours.One compressor, many applications:The XAS300-100 portable air compressor is an upgraded version of the current XA 157 model.Key features:A new highly efficient screw element, which results in, improved overall efficiency by 8 per cent.Efficient filtration is managed with a separate air filter for both engine and compressor and a new simple canopy design makes servicing easy.Time spent on maintenance is further reduced due to the SIMPLE VESSEL DESIGN radiator and cooler placed side by side for efficient cooling. XAWS 550 portable air compressor:The NEW XAWS 550 has many FIRSTS to its name:First portable air compressor to operate at 15 bar pressureFirst option to choose pressure range from 6-15 barFirst portable air compressor to have single side servicing for compressor as well as engine.First portable air compressor to have common drain points.Impact on overall productivity/efficiency:Cost of ownership is low: Higher resale value, low logistics cost and low service cost with better fuel efficiency by 8 per centBreakthrough technology for shallow waterwell drilling and coal mining:The XRS750 offers higher flow and pressure, which is suitable for 6-inch drilling up to 500 feet resulting in the lowest liters consumed per meters drilled. The XRS 750 is developed to have a low footprint, increased reliability and the low fuel consumption as compares to competition.Drilling made easier, faster and cost effective:The XRW 1250 offers higher-pressure range from 17 bar to 24.5 bar makes the compressor the only waterwell compressor with this drilling efficiency at higher depths with higher pressure.What are the key productivity parameters of portable air compressors?We cannot ignore that customers are also scaling up in terms of quality and service expectations, and we will continue to provide them with the time-tested Atlas Copco technology. Atlas Copco is a big investor in R&D in India. As leaders in innovation, we focus on localisation and developing new technology.We have a good mix of compressors in our diesel range with the following productivity parameters:starting from 160 cfm to 1250 cfm,pressure range of 7 bar to 35 bar covering diverse applications,we also have a good electric range starting from 45 kw up to 132 kw (300 cfm up to 600 cfm ; 7 bar to 14 bar)The range combines lightweight compressors with small dimensions, making it easy to manoeuver on site. Other key productivity parameters are pressure and flow and we deliver both as what we commit so fuel efficiency and return on investment is ensured.What are the environment-friendly features in your product range?Our electric range of portable air compressors deliver no emissions and low sound levels. With no fuel usage, there are no emissions while the hood type canopy of the Atlas Copco electric compressors is designed to ensure low sound levels on site, making them ideal for usage within city limits. We also now offer a new E-Air range of electric driven mobile compressors from 90 KW to 132 KW, which are more energy efficient machines.For all upcoming and existing portable air compressors, we continuously monitor the emissions as well as focus on reducing the carbon footprint. In fact in all the new products launched in 2020-2021 the aim is to reduce the carbon footprint by 8 to 10%. Additionally, other product categories like the light tower segment also focuses on 40% reduction of carbon in our new HiLight V5+ 2 Cylinder light tower.Do you offer customised products and solutions? If yes, what are the key parameters involved in the process?We offer options such as:skid or trolley mountedflexible tow barssheet metal or hardhat canopies to suit various applicationszone specific compressors meeting safety normscontainerised super silenced compressorsreciprocating booster compressorsCustomer choices depend on the demands of the working site as well as application and project requirements.What are your future plans in the changing market and operational conditions?In terms of the future market requirements we foresee demand for:More productionNew technology to achieve more productivityService set up: Digitalisation, better service set up and expertise is needed.The challenge for manufacturers is to bring in new technology on a consistent basis. We as market leaders will launch advanced technology products to grow faster than the industry; for that, we will continuously innovate.Collaboration is going to be important for a faster recovery for all sectors. Take for example the water well compressor segment. The rig owners association in Tiruchengode is going to play a key role in restarting drilling operations and at Atlas Copco, we stay connected and understand their concerns while shaping up our portfolio for their upcoming needs. Our close co-ordination with engine manufacturers and key component suppliers is also what we focus on to ensure there is a good understanding on scope of supply in their challenges if any which we can support on.With continued focus to power the future with innovative technology, Atlas Copco sets new benchmarks in the portable air compressor segment, with the launch of forward thinking compressors.