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Atlas Copco expands the WEDA range with the S50 Sludge pump

Atlas Copco has developed a new addition to the WEDA submersible dewatering pump range with the WEDA S50. Fitting into the S family of WEDA sludge pumps, the new model complements the other pumps in the range in terms of specifications.


The WEDA S range is designed for thick, soft, wet mud or other similar mixtures. These pumps are ideally suited for construction dewatering, industrial or refining applications. The technical specifications of the new S50 model place it between the S30 and the S60 pumps. It offers a maximum flow of 1450 l/min while pumping sludge with a specific gravity of up to 1400 kg/m3. The S50 has a rated output of 4.8 kW and a maximum solid handling size of 50 mm, which is the same as both the S30 and S60 models.

“The WEDA S50 is an ideal pump for rental companies and general contractors where they don’t have to worry about what goes in the pump,” explains Hrishikesh Kulkarni, Product Manager, Atlas Copco Power and Flow division. “Accordingly, these vortex designed pumps are ideal for abrasive media and handling solids up to 50 mm (2”). The S50 fits neatly into the existing range of Sludge pumps, making our S family portfolio complete with a range from 0.5-1-3-5 and 7.5 KW.” The Sludge portfolio covers a wide range of applications such as cement plants, industrial process water, sedimentation tanks, treatment plants, construction sites etc.


The WEDA S50 comes with the standard WEDA+ features, including rotation control, phase failure protection, thermal switches in each motor winding, and 16 Amps phase shifter plugs. All WEDA+ pumps are fitted with a 20 m cable and the reinforced cable entries ensure high resistance to water leakage.

S50 pumps are built with hardened high-chrome impellers and volute which provides high wear resistance. The aluminium alloy construction also offers high corrosion resistance. All these features combine to ensure durability and reliability in harsh environments. Low weight materials have the extra benefit of making handling and transportation easy. The Sludge range along with the new S50 is, therefore, an attractive option for rental use in the construction and industrial sectors.

For extra protection, the casing rib design offers external cooling to the motor in case of dry running which gives the S50 exceptional dry running capabilities.

Everything about the WEDA S50 is configured for ease of operation and maintenance. WEDA seal systems have a unique modular design, thus allowing for flexibility and ease of maintenance. Service technicians can change S50 seals at the job site with minimum impact on pump availability. The pump has an external oil inspection plug making it a simple maintenance task to perform quick inspections.

The S50 base is designed for stability while the bottom side discharge allows the passage of solids up to 50 mm. It offers several options and sizes for connections and flow-direction is changeable from 90 to 180 degrees on the discharge.

An extensive network of dealers and service technicians support the WEDA S50 along with the entire WEDA range. Spare parts are readily available and easy to fit.

Atlas Copco QAS generators boost snowmaking capacity of Chile ski resort

To combat unseasonably low snow cover and to maintain optimal slope conditions, Ski Portillo in Chile now has five times more snowmaking capacity thanks to the installation of four Atlas Copco QAS generators powering 25 snow cannons.

Chile brings together world-class snow destinations that are key businesses for tourism and industry of great relevance for the country’s economy. Annually the country receives almost one and a half million visitors to its ski centres such as Portillo, the oldest ski area in South America.

In order to ensure ideal ski conditions on many of the resort’s intermediate slopes at times of lower than average snowfall, Ski Portillo has had to complement natural snowfall with sufficient man-made snow to cover nine snow tracks over an area of 10 hectares. During the 2019 season, a new snowmaking system was installed comprising 25 snow cannons positioned throughout slopes. These are powered by a bank of four skid-mounted Atlas Copco QAS 630 generators, housed in a plant room adjacent to the main complex.

Boosting snowmaking capacity

As a result, snowmaking capacity has been boosted to five times that of the previous season and it is now possible to create up to 16 inches of new snow over a 70-hour time period, with equipment functioning day and night if the ambient temperatures will allow.

Snow cannons require two climatic variables for their operation, a specific environmental temperature and a percentage of air humidity. When the system detects these conditions, the snow generation cycle starts up gradually. Whether it is to run for just a couple of hours or operate a full 24/7 session, it relies 100% on the power supply from the QAS machines as a single source of energy.

The new system is fully automated which allows maintenance teams to control and monitor the status of each machine at all times – even from a smartphone. The system is a combination of mobile and fixed machines, which allows uniform coverage of the slopes and the ability to move the machines as needed.

QAS generators

Each of the four QAS 630 plug-and-play generators delivers 630kVA/500kW of prime power at 50Hz and offers a combination of reliable engine power, compact design, 500-hour minimum maintenance intervals, simple paralleling and long service life. All QAS generators incorporate dual-stage filtration with a safety cartridge and dual-stage air cleaning. This centrifugal dust separation unit, together with the heavy-duty filtration system, helps to prolong the generators’ life. Although in the Portillo application the generators are protected by a plant room environment, they are essentially designed to survive extreme outdoor conditions. Units are fully protected by heavy-duty, weatherproof, enclosures which feature an integrated door sealing system comprising a unique foam and seal layering structure to ensures water-tightness and improved sound attenuation. The QAS machine’s anti-rust canopy has a unique “no weld” corner design to eliminate traditional rusting spots. Furthermore, the spillage-free frame that is standard across all QAS models helps to minimise environmental impact.

Power management system

A major feature of each of the QAS 630 units is a controller equipped with an energy management system to optimise fuel consumption and extend the useful life of multiple generators when they run in parallel to form a mobile or independent power plant.

The generators at the Portillo site incorporate Atlas Copco’s Power Management System (PMS). It is an innovative feature that manages the four generators running in parallel with load demand, starting and stopping units in line with increases or decreases in load. In this way, the load on each generator remains at a level which optimises fuel consumption and eliminates the need to run with low load levels, a situation which can cause engine damage and shorten the life expectancy of the equipment.

Rental company upgrades air compressor fleet with XAS 88 8 series compressors

Continued best in class reliability

For the past 12 years, 5 XAS 77 Atlas Copco compressors have been a valuable part of Espinosa’s fleet. Their positive experience with regards to reliability and service set the standard for the replacement order. They were looking for the same quality and user-friendliness. The new 8 Series range showed Atlas Copco continued to innovate after releasing the 7 series. The HardHat PE hood stood the test of time. Despite being towed around different customer sites; the units still looked brand new and more importantly, remained performing. The new 8 Series XAS 88 features the same HardHat canopy, in a new design. Next, the undercarriage is standard 110% containment spillage free, made from a single sheet and with a 3 layer anti-corrosion protection (C3 certified). In addition, the anti-air lock and starter motor protection system improved the reliability even more. All features that ensure a long lifetime of the compressors.

Easy to service in-house

Easy access to all service points speed up the servicing

Exclusivas Rodriguez Espinosa services their own fleet in-house so it is important new equipment is easy to service. The XAS 88 small air compressor is easy to service: just open the HardHat hood and all service components are easily accessible. Combined with the spin-on filters for the compressor element, engine and separator; service can be completed in under one hour. On top, service is only required every 2000 hours. Finally, the dedicated QR code on the data plate leads directly to service tips, service manuals and spare parts needed for the specific unit.

Five XAS 88 compressors will strengthen Espinosa’s fleet

The old XAS 77 compressors are still in good condition.

The new XAS 88 small air compressors embodied all requirements defined by the rental company. In addition, all these features are available in a compressor that weighs below 750 kg so it can be towed without the need for a special driving license. Easy to tow and manoeuvre on site thanks to the low weight and small footprint; the 8 series compressor range was a complete deal for Espinosa.

An outstanding ‘paper trail’ of success for Rand-Air with Durban pulp and paper mill customer

The combination of a very long-standing relationship with a pulp and paper mill customer and Rand-Air Durban’s excellent teamwork ensured that the company was top-of-mind when it came to the customer’s power contingency planning earlier this year.

Rudy De Vry, Area Manager for Rand-Air in KwaZulu-Natal explains that the customer has been associated with Rand-Air for many years, and is one of the biggest suppliers in the South African pulp and paper industry.

“This was a significant hire in terms of its duration, which was from July 2019 to mid-May 2020,” De Vry advises.

“The equipment on hire comprised 5 PTS 1600 oil-free diesel compressors and a DAU, desiccant air dryer, which provides 100% oil-free, clean and dry air that complies with ISO 8573-1 Class 0 certification,” De Vry explains, adding that ‘Class 0’ means zero risk of contamination or damage to equipment.

“Class 0 certified compressors are so highly compliant and safe that – apart from being very suitable for use in a pulp and paper mill environment – they also meet the stringent operational requirements of the pharmaceutical and food industries, both of which have strict adherence to zero-contamination standards,” he points out.

Liesel Johnson, Rand-Air sales representative in Durban, who was part of the team instrumental in securing the hire, explains how the equipment was used: “The compressors and air dryer went into a business unit within the ‘heartbeat’ of the mill. This section – which is home to the boiler house and compressor room – contains massive centrifugal compressors, and is the hub of the mill for power and support, feeding all the other business units.”

De Vry adds: “One of the customer’s stand-by compressors required repairs, which meant that the mill did not have any redundancy capacity. We therefore supplied the compressors and driers as a stand-by contingency measure, in the event of the installed compressors tripping. Rand-Air was furthermore able to supply the equipment immediately:

“Through the timely hire of our contingency equipment, the mill was able to continue production uninterrupted, until they were able to source and install another back-up compressor,” Johnson observes, adding: “We at Rand Air understand our customer’s industry and how important stand-by air can be operationally, and we are able to assist in the fastest time possible.”

Being able to supply certified, Class 0 oil-free air gives Rand-Air a huge competitive edge, complemented by its renowned customer-centric approach, says Johnson.

“We have in addition made a point of familiarising ourselves with all the different business units within the mill – not only the office staff – but also those on the shop floor and in operations. This approach has led to an immense sense of trust developing over the years, allowing us to get it right first time when a request is received. In this way, we are able to go straight to the source of the problem and assist.”

Rand-Air’s salespeople are also fully versed in the technical aspects of the equipment hired –  which is key to developing trust with their customers, as – along with Rand-Air’s technical team of qualified technicians – they can provide competent after-hire support and advice.

De Vry emphasises that each hire is successful only through the individuals that make up the team: “From the salesperson, right through to the technical team commissioning the equipment – every participant makes up a successful team,” he says. “This teamwork ensured that – notwithstanding the challenges presented by CV-19 and the national lockdown – the equipment was hired and installed on time, fulfilling this customer’s requirements on every level.”

The long-standing relationship with Rand-Air will ensure that the mill will undoubtedly hire equipment in the future, should the need arise.

“Through our long-standing relationship and our customer-centric approach, Rand-Air always strives to be first in mind and top choice for this pulp and paper mill’s air and power rental requirements,” concludes de Vry.

Rand-Air: Female ‘powerhouses’: the power of women to make a positive impact in the industrial sector

As the established leader in the local portable air compressor and generator rental market, Rand-Air forms part of the global Atlas Copco Group. Through the regular training and development of its people and investment in the latest technology, Rand-Air maintains a sound track record of customer service excellence and exceeding customers’ expectations.

Both Atlas Copco and Rand-Air in South Africa are led by women and – with the national focus in August being on Women’s Month – the two leaders offer insights into qualities which have led them each to their current high-level positions in the equipment rental and industrial sector:

Wendy Buffa-Pace is Vice President and Managing Director of Atlas Copco Group SA; while Kim Coetzee is General Manager of Rand-Air. As such, they are both testament to the growing influence of women within senior positions, in what are typically considered male-dominated sectors of industry.

While each woman has risen to her present position via a different route, there are many synergies when it comes to business practices.

Buffa-Pace believes that throughout her career, by viewing every challenge as an opportunity, she was able to ‘read’ the business landscape and keep an eye open for opportunities. “I see most situations as an opportunity to learn something new and in which to find creative ways to add something different to the mix. I think having a sound mind and balanced outlook has afforded me the chance to not only see but take opportunities as they were presented,” she says.

Coetzee echoes this sentiment and states that a positive attitude and looking beyond her role – with a holistic overview – has helped her reach her present position. “I really believe that being positive and passionate within your role opens doors to extensive opportunities. Therefore, I am not limited by a title,” she adds.

Both are relatively new to their roles, encountering similar environments when they were each appointed. Coetzee says that her new role created excitement and enthusiasm and she was eager to embrace it: “As a go-getter, I was eager to take on the responsibilities – when, three months in, the CV-19 pandemic took hold in South Africa and everything basically ground to a halt!”

Buffa-Pace agrees: “It was as a well-known quote goes, a case of ‘the best laid plans of mice and men’ going awry. No sooner was I set to shoulder the role and make a positive impact, than Covid-19 arrived. That said, this is where the ability to draw on the resources of an agile team came to the fore,” she adds.

To this point, both women see close collaboration with their respective teams as crucial to developing an agile mind set and getting through a challenging period such as 2020, with work teams able to ‘pivot’ at short notice, adapting as needed and yet remaining simultaneously cohesive.

Nevertheless, both women emphasise that being an example to their teams is vital to coping with the changing landscape. Coetzee says: “While people have skills, you cannot teach intangibles like passion and this is where my team shines.

“All my experience has led to where I am right now: I am exactly where I want to be.”

Both women recognise that while there have been times that their individual journey has not been a direct route – and that there have been occasions where a different decision could have been made – there is absolutely no room for regret.

“While we all make mistakes now and again, ultimately, any decision I have made has served as part of the journey and led me to where I am now. As you gain acumen, you increase sound judgment and may make different decisions in the same circumstance the next time it occurs — if it does,” Buffa-Pace adds.

While the perception is that there are few women in senior roles in their sectors, both women report that the landscape is definitely changing in this regard.

“Rand-Air has always been female-dominated, even though the industry has traditionally been male-dominated. However, over the past decade, I am encouraged to see some change has occurred in the wider industry,” Coetzee points out.

Buffa-Pace concurs, adding: “I can say that I am privileged to be part of a progressive, global organisation which focuses on diversity across the board. It is not good enough to simply have women making up numbers, but to have women progressing in their careers and achieving in senior positions.”

Both feel that mostly – while there are always exceptions – women tend to be more realistic, but are not always as confident as their male counterparts in ‘selling’ themselves in the work environment. “We need to change this outlook and this mindset; we need to uplift each other – and ourselves – and gain confidence in our skills and self-worth,” Coetzee advises.

Both leaders believe that businesses generally could adopt strategies which create opportunities for women to venture into areas that would have traditionally been outside of their scope of knowledge or interest.

Buffa-Pace adds: “In my case, Atlas Copco created opportunities for me to learn how the business functions. I had the chance to be exposed to all areas of the company; and, over time, to gain the deep understanding thereof, which has helped me to attain my current position.”

Coetzee observes that the presence of women in senior roles creates a sense of desire within fellow women and a drive to achieve something similar; adding that, while women want to see other women succeed, within industry overall, the possibility of male inclusion within female-orientated forums could educate men to develop a more holistic understanding of women in the workplace – and in so doing, eradicate some gender bias.

Buffa-Pace adds that while she acknowledges that men need to be educated about women, it also behoves society to educate girls and women about the qualities they place importance on in male role models – to prepare the ground for, and assess, what they are prepared to accept in terms of societal roles and behaviours later in life.

“Men and women need leadership skills, and women bring diversity to the table,” Buffa-Pace says.

That being said, both women agree that the viewpoint which espouses that each gender is equipped with a different set of qualities and skills specific to that gender is not accurate; and that in fact, there is a blurring between the two genders in terms of attributes. “We all have a little bit of everything, and this is what creates the rich diversity which both genders bring to any situation,” Buffa-Pace comments.

Speaking to the need for women to support other women in the workplace, Buffa-Pace comments that throughout her career she has only ever encountered supportive women who have helped her. She points out that it is a matter of how one perceives the actions of other women when countered or criticised – not taking anything personally, but rather in the constructive spirit in which it is offered. “Think: ‘this person sees potential in me,’ rather than feel that you are being put down – and step up to the plate!” she urges.

Within the business world, there is sometimes the perception that women may appear abrasive and are sometimes perceived as aggressive. Buffa-Pace comments, “It is really a case of addressing issues as they arise, of ‘having the conversation’ – facing and not veering away from an issue. It is also the manner in which one addresses a situation, of developing a skill in which to address a sensitive issue without creating a defensive response. People will respond depending on how they are addressed.”

Coetzee suggests that as the landscape is changing, so are perceptions around gender differences and says, “As long as people in the business world are talking from the same level of maturity, there is no reason for aggression.”

Both Atlas Copco and Rand-Air encourage and support staff skills development and training. Coetzee describes her participation in a couple of initiatives for women: “I am part of a global gender diversity networking group which offers support and networking for women in similar positions, who can share experiences and talk about their challenges. I am very fortunate in that I have Wendy here in South Africa to bounce ideas off,” Coetzee comments.

She also points out, “There are programmes that focus on learning in the workplace and many of our team are busy completing their degrees.” Buffa-Pace adds: “Atlas Copco has also conducted networking and diversity programmes over a number of years, in a variety of forms, specifically for women. At the outset, we ran a programme called the Pleiades Network, and Kim was part of that. I can say with pride that the vast majority of participants went on to hold a variety of senior positions, and I put this down to having the right attitude. So a good attitude is vital: that would be my one piece of advice to young women starting out in business,” she says.

“My one piece of advice would be ‘don’t be so hard on yourself, and believe that whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve!” Coetzee concludes.

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