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Rand-Air generators and lighting towers shed light on manganese mine’s production

As part of the global Atlas Copco Group and widely recognised as the local equipment rental leader, Rand-Air delivers portable air, power, lighting and flow solutions into a variety of industries; while its agile, customer-centric service, safety and quality consistently assists customers to successfully meet their operational requirements.

A case in point was the recent long-term rental to a major manganese mine. The development of the mine began as a green fields project in June 2019 – with manganese the prime commodity – and an iron ore portion planned for phasing in during the first quarter of 2021, says Denise Olivier, Rand-Air’s sales consultant  whose technical knowledge and customer support secured this important hire.

Olivier explains: “Since the mine was new in my area, it came to my attention that they were interested in purchasing equipment and were currently exploring this option.”

However, Olivier says that once she explained the benefits of hiring over purchasing, and the additional advantages of using Rand-Air, the customer was extremely interested in her proposed solutions.

“I pointed out that we take all the effort out of equipment hire, leaving the customer to focus on their core business. We also offer 24/7 technical support, maintenance and even replacement equipment if required. This option made much more sense to the customer, rather than outlaying significant capital to purchase equipment,” she explains.

As the mine is expanding, their strategy has been to introduce two shifts – night and day – and, for the night shift, reliable and robust lighting was required.

“I submitted the quote and almost immediately, delivered the first two lighting towers in April 2020, on a long-term hire that will roll-over year-to-year. As the partnership grew steadily, so did the customer’s order, and we are currently supplying five lighting towers and two generators into the mine.”

Given every business’s desire to operate as cost-effectively as possible – particularly this year – Olivier believes that this hire is not only a win for Rand-Air; but she knows that she offered the best solution to meet the customer’s needs, by advising them to hire rather than purchase equipment.

“By offering a solution to their specific requirements – as well as professional and knowledgeable feedback to queries – the customer was satisfied that the Rand-Air option was the best,” she remarks.

The lighting towers comprise heavy-duty LED lamps with more than 50,000hrs of life expectancy, offering 5000m2 light coverage, which is perfect for adhering to the stringent safety standards required on the mine. Easy to transport, the compact lighting units come with a stable hydraulic vertical mast capable of extending to a maximum height of 8m and rotating 340 degrees.

“The lighting units are used to illuminate the nightshift operations and the two Atlas Copco QAX generators, one 20kVA and one 100kVA, are ideal to supply uninterrupted power and mobility to the office complex, processing plant and weighbridge,” Olivier explains.

“The customer required the generator supplying electricity to the office complex to switch over between solar power during the day, to generator-supplied power during night-time. This was achieved through the installation of a change-over switch,” she says.

“Aside from Rand-Air’s technology, technical expertise and advice, our reputation for exceptional customer service and providing timely solutions will endure, as our generators and lighting towers keep the lights on at night and the mine’s production running smoothly!” Olivier concludes.

Rand-Air strikes gold – again – with a repeat hire to a long-standing gold-mining customer

Rand-Air secured a repeat hire with a long-standing customer in the gold mining industry – based on a relationship dating back to 2014 – when the need arose for underground compressors for the mine:

Rand-Air was the only company then – and still is now – able to supply the customer with underground compressors modified to their particular specifications.

This is according to Rand-Air sales consultant Marinda Enslin, who collaborated closely with the customer to ensure that their very specific requirements were met.

“Our most recent hire to this customer was two Atlas Copco GA110 electric compressors, for use in underground drilling and secondary support for expansion mining in high productivity areas,” she advises.

“When it came to this latest hire, we already had the compressors in stock and were able to deliver to the mine on the same day,” Enslin advises.

“Currently, this customer has a total of nine underground compressors on hire from us, all varying in size from GA75s to GA110s, depending on the various requirements.

We collaborated with the customer throughout the compressor selection process, to ensure that their operations run the minimal number of compressors, in the most efficient way. We offer a total solution concept, tailored to each specific customer site’s requirements, ensuring that our customers can focus on their core business, while we take care of their equipment rental requirements,” she adds.

“The customer was highly impressed with our service all round, and that their machines were delivered on time and are now running smoothly.”

“We look forward to providing our underground compressors to many more customers in the mining sector, ‘striking gold’ with our service and technology excellence,” she concludes.

Full marks for Rand-Air’s campus contract!

Recently, Rand-Air ‘passed the test’ with flying colours, delivering a 24-hour turnaround hire to a tertiary education college in Gauteng:

Rand-Air recently supplied generators to certain of the college’s campuses, as part of a repeat hire contract agreement with this customer.

“This is a long-standing, loyal customer from way back in 2008, when Rand-Air developed a relationship with a college which has several campuses located throughout the province – and they have been a pleasure to service since 2014,” says Benita Oosthuizen, Sales Consultant for Rand-Air Gauteng.

Oosthuizen explains that the college’s campuses require standby power to be available during the bi-annual examinations which take place throughout the country.

“With students working on laptops, the last thing one needs is a power shortage,” she observes, adding that until recently, Rand-Air supplied generators to each of the campuses, twice a year.

For the most recent hire, three generators were supplied – two 300kVA and one 500kVA. During the recent national lockdown, some of the campuses – depending on their proximity to each other – merged.

“The hire was placed on the 4th September, a Friday, for delivery on that Saturday, 5th September, finishing on the 25th September.” This 24-hour turn-around required logistical juggling which was met with the trademark smooth delivery and expectation-exceeding service for which Rand-Air is so well-known.

“We were able to meet the strict delivery deadline of the generators to the various campuses, in time for examinations to commence on the Monday. So we passed the test with flying colours — and no crib notes needed!” Oosthuizen concludes.

Rand-Air ‘goes like the wind’ to provide lighting and power in the Eastern Cape

Rand-Air services a wide variety of sectors including the renewable energy industry, providing rental solutions to projects such as a remote Eastern Cape wind farm:

Located in a remote part of the Eastern Cape province, this wind farm project that forms part of a 700 MW wind capacity renewable tender, involving the erection of 46 wind turbines.

The contractor assembling these massive turbines generally works at night, when the site is cleared of riggers and the wind shear factor is lower.

“In the absence of defined roads, the terrain on-site is often unpredictable and hazardous,” says Liesel Johnson, sales consultant at Rand-Air responsible for this contract.

“This area is also snake-infested, so an adequate, reliable, and efficient light source was required to illuminate the work area.” Through its Durban branch, Rand-Air supplied 12 QLV lighting towers, as well as portable power for the on-site offices, in the form of four 60 KVA generators, complete with distribution (DB) boards.

The safety standard on wind farms is extremely high, and Johnson emphasises that Rand-Air more than complied with all requirements in this regard: “The customer was very impressed that Rand-Air is fully ISO-certified; and also by how seriously we take safety, conducting intense and in-depth safety inductions with the entire turbine assembly crew – and our own Rand-Air technicians. The customer was also very satisfied with our team’s technical qualifications and competency levels,” she adds.

“The incredible remoteness of the project entailed really understanding the customer’s challenges and requirements,” she advises.

The hire has been in place since February, and has been extended indefinitely owing to the CV-19 pandemic. “Rand-Air will be there until the wind farm is up and running, giving the customer the benefit of our technology and service excellence – whichever way the wind blows,” Johnson concludes.

A ‘solid gold’ 7-year safety record for Rand-Air and mining customer

Recently, a South African gold mining customer announced a seven-year, unbroken safety record – and Rand-Air’s rental equipment and technical support played a significant part in this accomplishment:

Neil Bezuidenhout, Regional Supervisor for Rand-Air and Team Leader on the gold mine, explains that the mine’s seven-year injury-free record – in an industry fraught with potential danger – is very impressive: “Given the inherently demanding conditions of mining, this safety record is a remarkable achievement!”

The company’s long-standing relationship with the mine goes back many years, and is all centred around ensuring safety:

“We therefore provide safe, reliable and high-quality machines; as well as an on-site team on standby 24/7 and available to fix any mechanical problems which may arise, thereby minimising any downtime for the customer.”

Bezuidenhout explains that the mine requests both surface and underground compressors for different applications. He describes how the underground units have been modified to withstand the rigorous below-surface conditions:

“While all the compressors are standard units, the underground compressors are deployed in a tougher environment than those on the surface. We therefore have to protect them and make sure that they are more robustly-shielded from inadvertent damage – as they are a vital part of production and safety. We do so by adding thicker steel framework; as well as protective side-panelling, which also extends their underground life,” he adds.

Rand-Air’s equipment plays a fundamental role in the safety of the mine: “Mines have return airways that supply and circulate fresh air into the mine, with the used air extracted from the other end of the airway. With above-ground compressors, Rand-Air supplies life-sustaining air to the underground refuge chambers that are the appointed gathering zones for workers in the event of an underground hazard, such as a rock fall or other life-threatening events,” he elaborates.

“We will continue doing all we can to make a positive contribution to mine safety for many years to come,” he concludes.

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