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Tumi Theledi: A real Rand-Air ‘bright spark’!

Service Supervisor Tumi Theledi is an inspiration to his Rand-Air colleagues as, through dedication and commitment, study and hard work, he is making impressive progress – at an ‘electrifying’ pace:

Theledi started his career with the company back in 2005, and then left to lecture at Johannesburg college. “I lectured Electrical Trade Theory, Engineering Science and Mathematics,” he explains.

In 2007 he returned to Rand-Air as a student in service training, in a two-year apprenticeship. The study bug then bit, and Theledi decided to improve his career potential and take whatever courses would support this decision: “As soon as I decided that I wanted to upskill myself and better myself, Rand-Air was behind me. They gave me the time to study, and assisted me financially with tuition fees,” he says. “I believe that you can never know enough and that as a person, you must never stop studying,” he observes. True to this ethos, he enrolled at Tshwane South College in Pretoria, to study for a Certificate in Electrical Engineering. He completed this with a diploma in 2007, as well as qualifying as a millwright artisan –  a good combination of electrical and mechanical engineering. As a high-precision craftsman, he is now is well-qualified to install, dismantle, maintain, repair, reassemble, and move machinery in factories, power plants, mines and construction sites.

With each machine that is installed, whether it be rental or purchase, a Certificate of Compliance (COC) is required, to verify that the electrical installations such as the plugs, lights, distribution board, geyser and wiring in a home, business or mine, comply with the legislated requirements as detailed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In 2011, Theledi completed the year required to obtain his COC Certificate of Electrical Compliance.

“As I already had my Electrical Engineering certificate, this course posed no problems to me and, in fact, complemented my knowledge base, because the COC is more about rules, regulations and protocols,” he explains. Theledi qualified in three-phase electrical installation, he points out with pride, explaining that it means that he has a “combination” of single and three-phase certification and is authorised to submit the relevant certificate after installation of a machine.

Since 2016, Theledi has been a Service Supervisor for Rand-Air. He explains that this entails checking equipment availability, and to allocate any repairs or maintenance to the appropriate technician.

“I have a clear understanding of what is required on various sites and despatch technicians accordingly when required. I maintain an overview of what is happening in the field and ensure that back-up, support and maintenance is expedited to ensure that the customer is never inconvenienced by downtime on machinery, and that Rand-Air’s reputation for customer-centric support is upheld,” he adds.

As well as completing an Atlas Copco leadership certificate at the University of Free State, Theledi is presently in his second, of a three-year, BBA Business Degree, through Mancosa.

“If it wasn’t for the encouragement and support I got from Rand-Air, I would not have had the opportunities that I have had, and I am most appreciative and grateful for their backing. In return, I believe that my enhanced skillset is also of benefit to the company and customer base,” he concludes.

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.

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

Rand-Air’s reputation for customer-centric service and excellent equipment hire solutions has made them the rental leader across a variety of industries. As such, the company is renowned for supplying products and services which meet the most stringent standards required by industry – particularly those of the mining sector – where its equipment forms an integral part of overall mine safety.

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!”

While the company’s long-standing relationship with the mine goes back many years, he has been servicing the customer’s requirements since 2014.

“I have been with Rand-Air since 2014, starting as a technician. In terms of this particular customer, we service the section which does conventional mining on this mostly trackless, 24/7 gold mine.”

As this is the largest of several mines owned by the mining company, he explains that the responsibility is immense, and is all centred around safety.

“Safety is the foundation of all we do at Rand-Air and – along with exceeding customer expectations – it is at the very heart of our company ethos and culture. This is because we practise safety in all that we do: in the office, on site at the customer, on the road and at home. It is a way of life,” Bezuidenhout points out.

“We therefore ensure we provide safe, reliable and high-quality machines; as well as an on-site team on standby 24/7 – running two shifts – 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 therefore enhance the compressor’s robustness by adding thicker steel framework; as well as protective side-panelling, which also extends their underground life. Unlike in coal mines, the compressors do not however require fireproofing, as there is no hazard from sparks in a gold mine,” 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.

While the mine currently hires compressors, Bezuidenhout notes that Rand-Air’s recently-launched submersible pumps are also creating interest in the mining sector.

“Our equipment is robust, safe and reliable; and our variety of machines and accessories are used in many mines across the country. Recently, there has been a growing interest in our Weda range of submersible pumps, designed specifically for drainage, sludge and slurry-pumping applications. Because underground water is sediment-rich, this line of pumps is ideal for this application, owing to their excellent solids-handling capabilities,” he points out.

“I am really proud of our loyal and customer-focused technical service team, which has contributed so profoundly to the safety of this mine; and of Rand-Air as a company, which has contributed to the safety and productivity of the mining industry overall, for 47 years.

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

Service and support with every fibre of their being Rand-Air’s recent long term rental to the fibreglass industry

Rand-Air is the recognised local rentals market leader, with a track record of 47 years in the industry. As part of the global Atlas Copco Group, Rand-Air offers a comprehensive range of TUV-certified oil-free, diesel or electric air solutions, lighting towers and a range of power (generators) and flow (pump) solutions. Rand-Air upholds an excellent reputation, based on its principle of exceeding customers’ expectations.

One such recent example of the company’s customer service ethos is that of a recent long-term hire to a customer in the fibreglass sector. Benita Oosthuizen, the sales consultant at Rand-Air, explains that business relationships are built on trust and when it comes to rentals, Rand-Air shows its true colours in maintaining these relationships, for the long-term.

“Rand-Air recently secured a 12-month hire for a GA37FF electric compressor with a well-established fibreglass products manufacturer, with whom we have enjoyed a close relationship since 2014,” she says.

“This customer produces a range of customised products – from swimming pools to pump canopies, boats, light fittings and more – for the local and export markets of Australia, England and France. As such, they frequently need to hire a compressor, dependent on the volume of work coming through their production line.”

The oil-injected rotary screw compressors are supplied by Rand-Air’s parent company Atlas Copco, and are recognised for their outstanding performance and flexible operation.

“These industrial-strength 37kW, 400 kVA compressors weigh in at 817kg and are CE-certified,”  Oosthuizen explains, adding that they are designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with ISO 9001, 14001 and 1217, ensuring a long and trouble-free life at the lowest operating cost.”

There are several reasons why this recent hire is remarkable, including the quick turnaround time in which Rand-Air supplied the GA37FF compressor: namely, within 48 hours of placing the order.

“The customer phoned on the 8 September and wanted delivery on the 10 September. I had to ensure that the deadline was met, so I immediately started the administrative process and also confirmed that the correctly-specified compressor was available,” she adds.

Furthermore, while the paperwork was underway, Oosthuizen made sure that the compressor she had proposed to the customer was not hired out elsewhere, before the contract was signed.

“I basically ‘booked’ it, to ensure availability,” she says, adding that the customer also benefitted from an additional value-add, as the compressor Rand-Air supplied comes with the ‘full feature’ option, which includes a built-in drier, at no extra charge.

Another aspect that makes this a noteworthy hire is that it runs for an entire year, ending in August 2021. This is the longest hire that this customer has ever placed – made in a time when companies are very budget-conscious.

Oosthuizen elaborates: “Rand-Air has supplied diesel or electric compressors for short-term hires to the company, comprising a couple of weeks at a time for each rental. The customer has always hired on the back of receiving a big order, to supplement their own in-house compressors, which are used for a variety of machines on which the fibreglass production process depends – from polishing and grinding, to cutting and sawing.”

She explains that the move to long-term hire came about when she offered and explained the various contract options: namely, cash, 30 days and long-term.

“When I presented the various options, I showed the advantages of each and left the customer to make the decision based on their requirements and budget. When they saw the benefits of changing from cash to a long-term rental agreement, it made the choice easy!” she adds and underscores that knowing a fixed amount is paid each month makes budgeting that much more manageable.

In addition, Rand-Air’s hire long-term rental option takes the ‘pain’ out of maintenance and breakdowns, as the company addresses these concerns by taking on that responsibility, with technicians available 24/7 to attend to any issues that the customer may experience with the equipment, during the hire period.

Oosthuizen adds: “Rand-Air’s long-term rental model covers the cost of machinery, delivery, installation, 24/7 standby service and scheduled inspections. In addition, if required, substitute equipment is offered and maintenance, parts, labour and travelling costs are all covered.”

“The fact that this customer has switched to a long-term rental is a strong vote of confidence in Rand-Air; and is definitely an indication that we are meeting and excelling at meeting their requirements and expectations,” she observes.

“We take exceptional pride in offering value-added service of 24/7 technical support, underscored by our focused customer service. This allows the customer to get focus on what they do best, which in this case is producing world-class fibreglass products!” Oosthuizen 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.
Since 1973, Rand-Air – a part of the global Atlas Copco Group – has developed a reputation as the recognised leader in supplying portable air, flow, lighting and power equipment to the local rental market. The company is driven by an ethos of people development; and also of exceeding expectations, and delivering customer-centric, excellent service.

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.

“This was dependent on the customer’s requirements, and there have been occasions when they have hired equipment from us three times during the year,” she elaborates. The bi-annual rentals usually last approximately a month — June/July and November — to prevent power loss in the event of load-shedding, cable theft or other unforeseen occurrences.
For the most recent hire, three generators were supplied, namely two 300kVA and one 500kVA, as Oosthuizen explains that, during the recent national lockdown, some of the campuses – depending on their proximity to each other – merged. “The largest campus, home to our customer’s head office, required the 500kVA generator,” Oosthuizen advises. “We are supplying the 300kVA generators to two others as well, this time around,” she adds.

“The lockdown also entailed the hire being postponed to September, as everything was closed before then, in June and July,” she notes.
“The hire was finally 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. “This tight deadline meant securing and delivering three generators, all with their associated cabling and COCs (certificate of compliance) – including dispatching an electrician to install them – at the various relevant campuses. The aim was to ensure that the generators were installed and functioning in time for the examinations to commence on that Monday,” she says, adding that this objective was of course achieved.

Oosthuizen comments that finding solutions is part of Rand-Air’s every-day customer service; and explains that while the lockdown constrained travel and severely limited face-to-face customer interaction, it motivated her – and all her fellow sales consultants – to ensure that contact was maintained, that queries were resolved and that solutions were indeed found. “It was a challenge, as we usually visit a customer’s premises or the site and can assess physically what their needs are. During the lockdown, the Rand-Air sales team put a huge emphasis on telephonic contact, but not even that would suffice at times, as it was challenging to understand the exact situation on-site without actually being there. “We therefore had to be innovative and creative, requesting customers to send us photographs, voice notes, sms’s and emails – as well as to use Teams and WhatsApp – to communicate what it was that they required!” she says.

“However, what always stands us in good stead is that – in true Rand-Air fashion – we know our customers’ requirements even before they do, so we are typically well-equipped to handle queries and orders expeditiously,” she adds enthusiastically. In this case, through Rand-Air’s renowned hands-on approach and understanding of the customer’s requirements, Oosthuizen says that she was able to meet the institutions’ tight deadline. “The deep understanding of our customers’ requirements meant that Rand-Air was able to meet the strict delivery deadline of the generators to the various campuses, in time for their examinations to commence on the Monday. In fact, I think we passed the test with flying colours — and no crib notes needed!” she concludes.

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