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Rand Air’s new Atlas Copco DXT85VSD: a high-pressure ‘boost’ of oil-free compressed air – the first of its kind in the South African market

In a first for South Africa’s compressor rental market, compressor and generator rental stalwart Rand-Air recently took delivery of an Atlas Copco DXT85VSD electrically-driven, oil-free air/nitrogen booster complete with high-pressure hoses.

Coupled with their oil-free compressor and dryer, the company can now offer a total solution for 42 bar high-pressure, oil-free compressed air.

The 100kW DXT has a high outlet pressure range of 25 to 42 bars at volumes of 700 cubic feet a minute (cfm): which makes it eminently suitable for a range of specialised industrial applications, from food and beverage packaging.

“Previously, we offered diesel-driven oil injected ‘boosters’ or compressors; which we provided to our customers in response to demand from the drilling and geological exploration market sector,” explains Rand-Air Fleet Manager Craig Swart.

However, enquiries for high-pressure oil-free compressed air from the local soft drink manufacturing and bottling industry highlighted the suitability of the Atlas Copco DXT compressor. Diesel-driven oil-injected boosters were not suitable for this application as there was a certain amount of oil residue in the compressed air they supplied. Also, diesel-driven oil-injected boosters were not designed to provide a 24/7 compressed air supply to manufacturing facilities.

“While in Europe, the DXT is mainly used in steam production applications, we anticipate that in South Africa – as industry sees the potential of this compressor – there could be demand for more units of this type from a number of other industry sectors,” continues Swart.

For ease of handling and deployment, the DXT has the same dimensions and attaching points as a standard shipping container.

“This unit is obviously more suited to long-term rental applications. Should we receive more enquiries for machines of this nature, we can speedily supply additional units from Europe,” says Rand-Air Marketing and Communications Manager Byrone Thorne.

The Atlas Copco DXT85VSD, the first of its kind in the SA compressor rental market, available from Rand-Air

“We are pleased to have added the DXT to our compressor fleet, as it is operationally an expansion of our high-pressure oil-free solution offering,” he adds.

“At Rand-Air, the safety, quality and reliability of all the equipment in our rental fleet is non-negotiable. As such, we have ensured that we have the appropriately qualified technical expertise to support all rental items, including of course this new compressor,” continues Thorne.

The new DXT compressor is a welcome addition to Rand-Air’s current fleet of some 400 rental compressors, which make up part of a total fleet of 1,100 compressors, generators and related equipment.

Swart comments that with units of this nature, on a long-term rental, customers have the advantage of knowing exactly what their future compressed air costs will be over the next five years, for example. “This makes it much easier for our customers to project future input costs, total cost-of-ownership (TCO) and overall return-on-investment (ROI),” he points out.

“We understand the pressures of working in industry today; and, for that reason, the company has developed an industrial rental model which enables our customers to focus on their core businesses, while we supply their portable air and power requirements. This has been proven to impact positively on our customers’ productivity; while enhancing their operations and ultimately, their bottom line,” says Thorne.

“Rand-Air has been in the equipment rental sector for the past 45 years, with consistent and stringent standards of safety, quality, reliability and availability. Despite our lengthy track record and market leadership position, we are however always ready to ‘positively disrupt’ the market with further innovations and developments – to our customers’ strategic advantage and benefit.

The introduction of the DXT compressor – the first of its kind in the local rental market – is a great example of our ethos of innovation and commitment to exceeding customers’ expectations,” he concludes.

Rand-Air ‘amps up’ to meet increased demand from customers with major investment in generator fleet

Consistent and reliable electrical power supply is an absolute necessity for the smooth functioning of all sectors of industry and modern society today. Over the past few years in South Africa, there has however been growing uncertainty about the reliability of regular AC mains supply. This has seen the demand for so-called ‘prime’ or primary power rental increasing. In addition, new developments in industry have also increased the demand for reliable prime power.

However, equipment rental companies have to maintain a fine balance between having sufficient equipment available for rental, while ensuring optimal fleet utilisation.

“Recently, we have experienced a substantial increase in the demand for our generators across the many sectors which we supply – including the events and film industry, petrochemical, power generation, general construction and many other sectors too.

In order to address this demand, we have added 52 new Atlas Copco generators to our rental fleet, from 60 kVA right up to 500 kVA,” says Rand-Air’s Fleet Manager, Craig Swart.

“This additional investment was more a fleet expansion than a renewal. We do however regularly monitor our fleet to ensure all equipment complies with the very highest standards of safety, quality and reliability – for which Rand-Air has been known since our inception in 1973,” he adds.

“The addition of 52 new generators is also a commitment to our customers to ensure that they have prime power available as and when they need it,” says Rand-Air Marketing and Communications Manager Byrone Thorne.

Thorne explains that, while Rand-Air does supply customers with generators for standby power – for example during power outages or emergencies – the company mainly supplies customers with ‘prime power’ or generators that will be used as a primary power source and not just for standby or backup power.

In terms of new features, Rand-Air has introduced an updated controller so that its generators are able to communicate and operate synergistically in parallel or in series.

“We have invested considerably to ensure that we always provide our customers with the very latest in technology. This is particularly relevant to those with high amperage requirements: for example, running two 500 kVA in series to obtain a combined 1000 kVA output,” says Swart.

In addition – and as an exceptionally useful accessory – the new units now feature distribution board (DB) as an integral part of the generator trailer. Instead of having a separate stand-alone DB, this is now permanently mounted on the generator trailer, which gives Rand- Air’s customers a greater level of convenience.

“Features such as the updated controllers and generator-mounted DB also bear testimony to our continual investment in customising or modifying our equipment to better serve the needs of our customers,” Swart emphasises.

Rand-Air’s Marketing and Communications Manager Byrone Thorne (left) with Rand Air’s Fleet Manager, Craig Swart (right) with one of the company’s generators complete with its orange-painted integral distribution board.

Rand-Air offers prime power (and standby power if required) to virtually every sector of industry from the automotive, chemical, construction, exploration drilling, electronics, food and beverage, pulp and paper to the mining, oil and gas and petrochemical sectors.

“Lately, the demand from the event management sector has really escalated,” explains Thorne, adding that, as events are by nature one-off occasions, the importance of reliable prime power is mission-critical in this sector. “We have been offering a similar service to South Africa’s burgeoning film industry for some time now too,” he adds.

Another key area for the use of Rand-Air’s generators is during periodic industrial operational shutdowns, such as in the paper and pulp, mining and petrochemical industries.

“These shutdowns are hugely expensive and critical to the future operation of the business concerned. Reliable power is therefore of equally critical importance to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently,” Swart explains.

“The level of confidence which our customers place in our equipment – and the 24 x 7 x 365 availability and reliability thereof – is very important to us,” continues Thorne. He adds that Rand-Air has a highly competent service team of 43 field technicians, using the latest digital technology to ensure that maintenance is done timeously and efficiently.

“Our team works hard to ensure that whenever our customers rent an item of equipment from Rand-Air, they can do so with complete trust and confidence, so that they can focus on their business and allow us to supply their portable air and prime power requirements.

Ultimately, safety, quality and customer service excellence really ‘powers’ all that we do,” he concludes.

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