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When Class O means top-class medicine!

The pharmaceuticals industry requires a pristine manufacturing environment to ensure the integrity of the final product, which must meet the strictest levels of hygiene. A key enabler in producing these sterile ‘clean room’-standard manufacturing conditions lies in the application of oil-free compressed air.

Leaders in the field of portable air, power, flow and lighting solutions, and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division, Rand-Air plays a major role within the pharmaceutical industry, delivering agile, customer-centric solutions across every aspect of this demanding manufacturing environment.

Rand-Air Sales and Marketing Manager Byrone Thorne says: “Wherever industries demand the highest air quality for the end-product – and throughout the production process – Class 0 oil-free air is the solution. This includes within the pharmaceutical and food and beverage processing industries, and others.”

As world focus intensifies on the medical and allied sectors to produce a vaccine for the current Covid-19 pandemic, and in support of guaranteeing sterile and safe manufacturing conditions, Rand-Air supplies Atlas Copco Class 0 oil-free compressors to the pharmaceutical industry, where the demand for medical products and services is growing.

Thorne adds: “Within the pharmaceuticals sector specifically, there is zero tolerance for any contamination during manufacturing, and this is where Atlas Copco’s internationally-recognised TUV Class 0 oil-free compressors have made their mark in various aspects of manufacturing, including packaging and conveying the medical product during production via systems using pneumatic valves. Also, in the production of a variety of medical accessories such as the sachets used for intravenous drips, oil-free compressed air is a major part of the manufacturing process.

“Rand-Air supplies the PT- PN- and Z- range of compressors which are Class 0 oil-free. We focus on quality, health and safety, with solutions ranging from the lowest to the highest flows, and we keep abreast of technological advancements in key target markets, such as in the pharmaceutical sector,” he adds.

To this end, he notes that Class 0 oil-free compressors guarantee 100% oil-free, dry air, as they comply with ISO 8573-1:2010 certification, a stringent standard that each compressor must meet. The standard specifies purity classes of compressed air with respect to particles, water and oil. It also identifies gaseous and microbiological contaminants.

Thorne adds: “The PT range of portable oil-free compressors – both in diesel or electrical options – have a Teflon-coated air-end, and contaminants such as dust, oil or water vapour do not come into contact with the customer’s product on the production line, thereby removing any contamination risk.”

He explains, “At the intake section that draws in ambient air, a combination of driers which are only compatible with this range of compressors adsorb 70% of any moisture that is present (much like silica crystals found in some packaging); and the air that comes out is 100% clean and dry, obviating the need for extra filtration. As this moisture-absorbent material regenerates, it can be re-used several times, making it environmentally-approved, unlike technically oil-free compressors, where airborne oil is removed afterwards, using a variety of filtration processes,” he says.

Furthermore, Rand-Air’s Atlas Copco Class 0 oil-free compressors come with a reduced carbon footprint and are also the most cost-effective answer to compressed air requirements, while adhering to the strictest environmental regulations.

Thorne notes: “A technically oil-free compressor is potentially prone to failure as the result of poor maintenance and filter cleaning – amongst other factors -, creating a contamination risk within the environment in which it is operating. There is also the high energy running cost to consider,” he points out and adds: “Rand-Air’s class 0 oil-free compressors have a number of features – including variable-speed drives (VSD) – which make them energy-efficient, increasing their environmental and energy compliance.”

Thorne observes that there is a growing demand for long-term hires into the medical and pharmaceutical sectors, specifically the ZT class of fixed compressors for use in applications such as critical care units, where reliable air flow can be controlled and is consistently safe for the environment.

“The Class 0 oil-free range offers long-term hire customers long-term peace of mind, which is a cost saving in itself – along with the other support services that Rand-Air offers, including 24/7 technical support and the option of a replacement compressor should the need arise. The long-term hire option compares favourably with purchasing which, at a time when finances are generally tight, entails significant capital outlay,” Thorne points out.

“Rand-Air takes care of all aspects of compressor hire for the pharmaceutical and other industries which we supply – allowing our customers to focus on their core business – while we guarantee a long-term, safe, continuous supply of Class 0, totally oil-free, sterile air,” he concludes.

Handwashing CSI initiative – keeping communities healthy!

While good hygiene is always recommended, the stark reality is that in South Africa today, many of our schools do not have access to safe, clean running water. This fact has been exacerbated more than ever during 2020, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, when washing hands is a priority first defence against the virus and, not only recommended, but mandated by the government.

Having already teamed up in 2018 with Atlas Copco’s ‘Water for All’ initiative, as the key sponsor, this year Rand-Air saw the opportunity to once again make a meaningful contribution to the community, by providing disadvantaged schools – particularly in outlying rural areas – with handwashing facilities to enable them to meet this vital hygiene criteria. This was done in an effort not only to counter the spread of the virus, but to instil a mindset of cleanliness and good hygiene among the children.

“It has been amazingly rewarding working with our co-sponsor Atlas Copco and proudly South African Filpro, the inspirational company behind the manufacture and distribution of the handwashing units which we are sponsoring – while knowing that we are empowering children to wash their hands and take responsibility for ensuring their own health and safety,” says IPR Accounts and Communications Manager Mpho Ngamlane, the driving force behind this project from Rand-Air’s side. 

“One hundred schools have each been the recipient of an innovative, robust, mobile handwashing unit, that were Filpro’s brainchild. Coloured bold orange so that you cannot miss them, with a stainless-steel basin, each unit has the capacity to wash 9 000 hands per tank of clean water, and each unit is operated via a foot-pump with a refillable, hygienic, integrated soap dispenser. What makes the unit user-friendly and practical, is that each one is mounted on its own trailer, making it mobile and easy to position in the most opportune location within the school premises,” Ngamlane explains.

“In addition, this year, Filpro gave hugely of their time and effort to assist Atlas Copco and Rand-Air to identify schools in need within in Mpumalanga and Gauteng and to get the units distributed accordingly,” Ngamlane points out.

In 2021, Rand-Air will begin by distributing units to schools in Limpopo province, and will thereafter identify schools in other outlying rural areas of the country to which to distribute units.

“We feel strongly about this initiative, and believe that it does not have to end here! In fact, we believe it should start here! We challenge every person and company, whether in the private or government sector, to come on board and do their bit to provide clean, running water to disadvantaged communities and schools, by sponsoring the roll-out of these incredible units!” Ngamlane urges.

“We will never ‘wash our hands’ of ensuring the welfare of children, preferring to ‘get our hands wet’ to ensure their ongoing health and well-being,” Ngamlane concludes.

Atlas Copco PAC H pump for high pressure application, prolongs product lifespan and increases uptimes

Atlas Copco announces the launch of the PAC H pump for high pressure applications, designed to reduce downtime and prolong lifespan, saving service OPEX. Part of Atlas Copco’s Head series, the PAC H is a centrifugal pump that can handle liquids containing solids of up to 89mm (3.5”) in size. This makes it particularly suited to industrial applications, such as water transfer in the oil and gas sector, quarrying and surface mining, construction, and municipal applications. The addition of the PAC H completes the extensive range of pumps available from Atlas Copco and means that specifiers and end-users can source all their pumping requirements from a single supplier.

PAC H64, high head pump

The PAC H pump has been designed with a number of features to ensure it performs reliably, for longer and has a low cost of ownership. The exclusive closed impeller is equipped with deflector vanes that keep the mechanical seal clean and free of detritus. This helps the mechanical seal last three times longer. Moreover, it eliminates the need to use flush water to keep the pump clean: offering significant energy and cost savings over the pump’s operational lifetime.

The semi-cartridge seal design on the PAC H pump is unique. It allows changeout without dismantling the pump and makes the lip seal and impeller easily accessible: reducing downtime and simplifying maintenance. Unlike many competitor products who offer cartridge seals as an option, this feature comes as standard on the PAC H.

Other features that minimize downtime and make maintenance easier include the innovative Atlas Copco hinge kit – a ‘swing door’ that allows quick and easy access to the pump’s internal workings – and a single bolt to remove the impeller. Bolted wear rings make for precise and simple replacement compared to pressed alternatives, and link belts are used to enable changeovers without having to dismantle the entire wet end of the unit, reducing MTTR (mean time to repair) by up to 30%.

The new PAC H pump range from Atlas Copco is fully EU Stage V compliant and feature a 120% fully leak free structure, making it a clean and green machine. The standard diaphragm vacuum pump has no carry over of pump media and hence the pump has zero contamination towards surroundings. The PAC H pumps are available in sizes up to 150m head, with a capacity of up to 1200 m3/h. Their compact design is up to 30% smaller than equivalent pumps on the market, which frees up valuable space and increases the operational efficiency of these pumps.

PAC H pumps take advantage of digital technology, featuring QR codes that mean essential information about parts and spares is just a scan away. Users can also take advantage of the fleet link secured and remote monitoring feature that means they are always in control of pumping operations.

Like all pumps in the Atlas Copco range, the PAC H comes with full after sales support and ready availability of spare parts, as well as the option of product training, via the company’s global network of customer centers.

HiLight H6+, a light tower to rise illumination while reducing noise and operational costs

The new light tower from Atlas Copco offers low operational costs and reduced noise levels while increasing illumination coverage. The HiLight H6+ is ideal to use in tough environments, such as applications in construction, mining, events, and rental, thanks to Atlas Copco’s innovative HardHat® body.

HiLight H6+ light tower with exclusive HardHat® body

The HiLight H6+ light tower’s toughness improves reliability, extends application opportunities, reduces total cost of ownership, and preserves resale values while offering superior performance during operation

Félix Gómez , Atlas Copco Divisional Product Marketing Manager – Light Towers

HiLight H6+ light tower

The HiLight H6+ light tower comes with Atlas Copco’s innovative HardHat® body, made of medium-density polyethylene rather than metal, to protect the working operation underneath from the elements. This design-focus and tough material ensures the performance and appearance lasts throughout years of service, helping to retain a high resale value and provide the customer with outstanding total cost of ownership. The HardHat® is resistant to corrosion, crack-resistant, environmentally friendly, and better able to meet the tough demands of on-site use. Molded into a single pop-up canopy it is easy to fit and remove from the light tower, providing an access of 360º to the unit for internal maintenance, so it is easy to maintain. Service downtime is decreased due to its heavy-duty filtration system. The HardHat® is resistant to both low and high temperatures thanks to its UV stability and the long-term antioxidants of the plastic, making it suitable for work in virtually any environment. Additionally, HiLight H6+ offers customizable colors to meet customers’ needs.

Maintenance and transport efficiency were a priority when designing the HiLight H6+. On the first front, the light tower only requires a simple service after 600 hours of operation which can be carried out in 40 minutes. The light tower features an adjustable tow bar to provide flexibility, as it allows users to handle and transport the HiLight H6+ easily while towing with vans, trucks, and pick-ups.

The HiLight H6+ features a new generation of LED floodlights that are more efficient and provide optimal light distribution up to 6,000 m2 illumination area. The new light tower from Atlas Copco comes with a dimming function to offer the right luminosity at each moment, delivering up to 40% C02 savings and extending the autonomy over 300 hours. The control panel for the HiLight H6+ is in an exterior lateral so it is easy to access and use. This is a great benefit for users, as the doors where rotating parts are do not need to be opened to operate this light tower. The LED lighting units have 50.000hrs lifespan and are supported by an 8m galvanized mast.

Excessive noise generated by portable equipment is becoming increasingly unacceptable in urban environments, industrial work areas and events. For this reason, the HiLight H6+ delivers a significant reduction in noise levels, becoming the quietest light tower in the market emitting 55dBA at 7m.

The HiLigiht H6+ will also be available in a 48V DC version for applications or markets  that requiere low voltage. Atlas Copco offers a broad choice of flexible and dynamic portable lighting solutions, which combine robust build quality and compact size, while addressing all aspects of efficiency, safety, and environmental impact to provide cost-effective lighting.

Atlas Copco helps Raylex create a hybrid generation system to power an autonomous communication system for Enel in Los Cóndores, Chile

When Raylex, a specialist in highly complex turnkey projects in the electricity, telecommunications, governmental, and mining sectors, needed to create an autonomous radio communications system as part of its hydroelectric project, it turned to Atlas Copco Power and Flow for a solution.

Raylex was commissioned to deliver a hydroelectric power station for the electric utility giant Enel Generación in the Maule River basin, in Los Cóndores, Chile. The development consisted of a run-of-river hydropower plant with an approximate installed power capacity of 150 MW.

The isolated location meant that no grid power was available, and the harsh weather conditions during the winter months made the site inaccessible for a considerable part of the year. That is why Raylex required the autonomous radio communication system to operate reliably with servicing only once per year, and practically no supervision.

Atlas Copco’s QES 14 generators

To overcome the challenge, Atlas Copco Power and Flow worked with Raylex to design a hybrid generation system using photovoltaic panels as the main source of power. The system stores surplus energy in a battery bank while providing power to four radio antenna stations. Each set is supported by two of Atlas Copco’s QES 14 generators with an expanded 1,000-litre tank, equipped with a diesel boiler for autonomous pre-heating and a double battery.

Thanks to a transfer and control panel, the generators can interact with the system via a control logic method to control operation during low temperature, failure, or unavailability of one part of the solution, or lack of fuel or low battery charge. They can also manage features including periodic start-up of equipment to ensure operation, maintenance routines, and equipment priority change routine in case of failure. Other controllable features include autonomous alarm recognition and low battery start-up of equipment. To ensure ease of operation, all features of the units can be controlled by Enel Generación, without assistance from Atlas Copco or Raylex

Our projects require creative, efficient, and flexible solutions, and Atlas Copco has been a strategic partner in this. For years, we have worked together to design the best bespoke solutions that meet our customers’ needs. From the conception of an idea to the execution of the project, Atlas Copco’s team is involved in the entire process, crucially contributing to its success. They understood the challenges the hybrid generation presented and worked with us to configure a customized system that we use today as a benchmark for the industry.

Rodrigo del Valle Mijac , Business Manager at Raylex

We are delighted Raylex trusted us with this project. To deliver the right solution for our customers, we need to understand their needs. In this case, considering the combined challenge of the isolated location, extreme weather conditions and lack of electricity network helped us choose the right generator for Raylex’s project. Our QES range was the perfect fit: it is very versatile, thanks to the multiple customization options available, and it provides features including the high level of performance required.

Jorge Lopez Cabello , Key Customer Manager at Atlas Copco Chile SpA
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