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Critical compressed air from Rand-Air ensures consistent production at platinum mine

The mining industry is a vital cog in the economic workings of South Africa, in particular platinum mines, of which the country has significant reserves, that are among the largest worldwide. 

Yet, if critical machinery breaks down – such as compressors – the resulting downtime could potentially significantly impact productivity and revenue. 

Therefore, when a customer in the platinum mining sector recently made the call for reliable and easy-to-use compressor equipment, following a critical compressor breakdown at their operations, Rand-Air – an established leader in the field of portable air, power, flow and lighting solutions, and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division – was there to answer the call.

“In this new hire to what is already a long-standing customer, we ‘sparked’ to quickly provide 17 diesel compressors within 24 hours,” says sales representative Marinda Enslin, who collaborated closely with the mine to ensure that their requirements for a swift response and efficient supply of compressed air were met in record time.

“Compressed air is the ‘beating heart’ of every mine, factory – in fact, of every industry. Therefore, if the compressor breaks down, it is like a heart which stops beating,” Enslin emphasises.

Therefore, in order to secure the customer’s operational continuity with the required 17 000 CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air, Rand-Air’s strategic solution included various oil-free, oil-injected and high-pressure diesel compressors. 

While Rand-Air maintains strong and intuitive relationships with its customers, resulting in the company being able to anticipate customer needs, the magnitude of this latest hire resulted in the company sourcing additional compressors from its branches in Gauteng and the North West. 

The hire comprised three PTS800Mk1 D800 CFM (cubic feet per minute) compressors, three XAMS527 D1000 CFM diesel oil-injected screw compressors, two XRHS3662 HP750 CFM compressors, one ZATS377 D1000 CFM compressor, one PTS9 D1500 CFM compressor, one PTS800 MK1 OF800 CFM compressor and one PNS1 OFH 1200 CFM compressor. Another five D1200 compressors were also provided.

The Atlas Copco-manufactured diesel compressors are ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001-certified; and feature the latest compressed air technology. Meanwhile, the compressors’ technical design results in economic fuel consumption, while their full portability allows for easy transportation and convenient on-site installation. 

Rand-Air also supplied more than 300m of hoses and compressor coupling accessories.

For short-term hires, as in this particular case where the compressors were used for nine days, the use of diesel compressors is ideal, Enslin points out: “It is ‘a plug-and-play’ solution, as the customer can connect the compressors immediately without worrying about an electric connection, which may be time-consuming.” 

As the compressors were also supplied with a same-day turnaround delivery, this ensured a smooth operational transition, while no stoppages or losses in production for the next shift were incurred – a key advantage to the customer.

“Moreover, the investment in this hire from a cost perspective is money well spent from the customer’s perspective, given that these compressors are used in a mission-critical application,” Enslin points out, highlighting the savings achieved by the customer in hiring the compressors from Rand-Air. 

With the guiding ethos of making agility count for customers, Rand-Air has a continuous commitment to quality customer service, by ensuring the availability of its technicians on site to assist with the connections and start-ups in all hires. “We will never ever leave our customers to do an installation without our assistance,” Enslin emphasises.

In addition to providing this 24/7 technical assistance, Rand-Air anticipates and plans for additional equipment rental requirements, Enslin says – adding that the company provides quick release couplings with its compressors to ensure fast and time-saving connection of the compressors. 

In a further reflection of the company’s exceptional customer service, Enslin notes that Rand-Air’s speedy response does not only lie in sourcing and providing the appropriate equipment tailored to the customer’s specific needs; but in continuously keeping the customer in the loop with detailed and transparent communication throughout the hire process – right from when the equipment is sourced – to when it is loaded, transported, delivered and installed.” 

This dedication in providing top-class rental requirements ensures that the customer can focus on their core business, with the peace of mind that their needs are being taken care of, Enslin points out.

“With this hire, the customer was extremely happy due to our quick response, efficient logistics, the excellent quality of compressors and our dedicated service,” she comments.

To this end, Enslin believes that this particular hire has also “placed Rand-Air on the map in terms of being a reliable and efficient supplier of compressed air to the wider mining sector”.

“Based on the success of this hire and our sound track record in the mining sector, should there be any unforeseen breakdowns, I am confident that our mining customers will contact Rand-Air because they know they can rely on us to meet their needs and keep them up and running,” she concludes.

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