Atlas Copco: Keeping Abreast of Market Trends

S Kumar
What is the current demand-supply scenario for air compressors in construction, mining and quarrying segments?

For the past five years or so we have been witnessing good demand for compressors in most sectors, especially in mining and quarrying, where portable air compressors play a pivotal role. The quarrying application is of paramount importance given the amount of stones required for infrastructure projects, as also in the extraction of minerals such as iron ore, limestone etc. What is especially important is the use of reliable portable air compressors that have the lowest possible energy consumption.

The growth potential of the air compressor industry is very positive as the country's infrastructure development is seeing huge investments being made for construction of roads, metro rails, expressways, airports, and for the expansion of existing highways. At Atlas Copco, we have the products to meet the required demand. In fact, our new factory in Chakan, Pune, has twice the production capacity as that of our earlier set-up, and the capability to double production, if required.

A combination of smart engineering, time tested technology, and quality components add up to highly reliable and energy- efficient solutions, says S Kumar, Business Line Manager, Atlas Copco India Ltd. Portable Air Division.

What are the different air compressors being offered by Atlas Copco?

We have a good mix of compressors in our diesel range starting from 140 cfm to 1350 cfm, and with a pressure range of 7 bars to 35 bars, covering all pneumatic applications. We also have a good electric range starting from 45 kw up to 75 kw (300 cfm up to 500 cfm; 7 bars to 12 bars).

Our additional options include:
  • skid or trolley mounted
  • flexible tow bars
  • sheet metal or hardhat canopies to suit various applications
  • zone specific compressors meeting safety norms
  • containerized super silenced compressors
  • reciprocating booster compressors.
The range includes lightweight compressors with small dimensions, making it easy to manoeuvre them on site. Our highly productive compressors for mining and quarrying have the following features:
  • High machine uptime
  • Operation with 50-degree LAT
  • Options to operate till -15 degree Celsius
  • High reliability and performance
  • Closed door operation and less noise with well-designed canopy.
What advancements have been made on the compressors to increase their energy efficiency, reduce noise & vibration, and improve life of the consumables?

HiLight V5 led
Sustainable productivity and safety are guaranteed features in all Atlas Copco compressors. Since they are designed and developed for Indian jobsite conditions, we do various innovations through re-engineering. The element, which is the heart of the compressor, is engineered to the highest standards; in fact, all Atlas Copco portable air compressors are new-generation screw elements, which are energy-efficient and engineered to power.

For instance, the change of element in our XRH1100 resulted in a higher capacity of 1200 cfm and higher pressure for increased penetration without any additional load. Similarly, the XRHS650/250-300 dual pressure compressor with advanced technology, has the maximum pressure in this range by reducing the load with a 2-stage screw element design, which enhanced its productivity and fuel efficiency.

All our compressors have aesthetically designed canopies loaded with foam to control the noise level on site, and is the highest standard achieved in the industry, so far. Further, the quality of all our consumables is as per Atlas Copco global specifications so they last longer and have fewer maintenance intervals. In fact, we keep upgrading our product portfolio keeping in mind the product gaps and future challenges.

What digitised support does the company provide to its compressors for preventive and predictive maintenance, and does it undertake re-manufacturing to extend their life?

The industry is moving from a manufacturing society to a service-based, information-centric society. Advances in technology will continue to impact market trends. At Atlas Copco, the service division is focused on digitalization to enable fleet tracking, monitoring on real-time basis, and proactive maintenance, and thereby bring in major improvements in inventory management and performance tracking. Our service and support are highly trusted because of our timely preventive maintenance and onsite breakdown resolutions, even in remote locations.

Digitalization is the new buzzword and we are also bringing in unmatched service with a strong digital footprint. We are complementing the traditional way of service, with engineers monitoring the health of the machine with advanced digital systems like Fleet Link. Fleet Link is a connectivity (telematics) solution which represents all relevant operational and service information of connected machines on the website and dashboards. It offers remote insights on the vital stats of our customers' portable air compressors on site.

Furthermore, our latest dealer management software ensures maximum equipment uptime. Our inbuilt fleet link and 50+ dealer network pan India also provide periodic maintenance and ensure that parts are replaced on time to extend the life of our equipment on site.

We have a robust refurbishment program at our centralised warehouse in Chakan and at our dealer workshops in Tiruchengode and Indore, both of which are well equipped to refurbish machines. With refurbishment seen as a quicker and more cost-effective solution, we are seeing a growing demand from customers who are keen to give a second lease of life to their equipment.

We also measure the MTTR for all calls through our centralised system at our head office in Pune to ensure that our customers get service on time. The focus now is on quick and easy connectivity, hence, our in-built Fleet Link device in our portable air compressors is available as an option. We make continuous improvements with better features and tracking mechanisms for the satisfaction of our customers.

What about Atlas Copco's research and development, manufacturing and testing capabilities?

XRHS 650
At Atlas Copco Power Technique, we aim to provide technically-advanced and more fuel-efficient compressors, which gives us a competitive edge. Customers today are also scaling up in terms of quality and service expectations, and we will continue to provide them with our time-tested technologies based on intensive research. In fact, Atlas Copco is a big investor in R&D in India, and as leaders in innovation, we focus on localization and developing new technologies.

As stated above, the heart of all Atlas Copco portable air compressors are the new generation screw elements, which are energy-efficient and engineered to power the best, and the canopies have been acoustically designed to make operations sound-proof.

Furthermore, the new environment legislations to control pollution in India have ensured that states are now actively supporting stable grids. With Atlas Copco electric compressors there is no fuel usage, so zero emissions, while the hood type canopy of these compressors is designed to ensure silent operations on site, making them ideal for use in urban areas.

Atlas Copco's newest addition to its portfolio is the HiLight V5+ LED light tower, which illuminates an area of approximately 5,000 sqm with an average brightness of 20 lux. This LED light tower is the first CPCB II compliant light tower in India for the entire light tower, which ensures that sites are brighter, safer, and more productive.

Our Chakan plant has an advanced test lab where machines are tested and certified for despatch so that customers get ready-to-operate equipment. We also invest in designing equipment that consume less energy, while giving a higher output.

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