Tony Van Herbruggen, General Manager, Atlas Copco India
With its continuous focus on developing innovative technologies, new products and features, Atlas Copco is setting new benchmarks in the portable air compressor segment. Tony Van Herbruggen, General Manager, Atlas Copco India, elaborates on the company’s product developments like the LED Light Towers and the Electric Portable Compressors, and the scope he sees for their application across industries.

What is the growth prospect of products like compressors and light towers in view of the ongoing infrastructure development, including tunnelling and mining activities?
The mining sector is of paramount importance in India looking at the huge amount of aggregates required for infrastructure and construction projects. All infrastructure and construction projects start with excavations, where portable compressors are required, and then the entire chain of work starts. Similarly, the extraction of minerals such as coal, iron ore, manganese, etc. need reliable portable air compressors with the lowest possible energy consumption and is an important application in metal mining.

Overall, the mining sector is showing positive signs of recovery and a huge market potential. As a critical aspect of infrastructure projects, tunnelling projects speed up road development and increase connectivity across the length and breadth of the country. Electric portable air compressors play a pivotal role in tunnelling applications by providing consistent and reliable air within the tunnel itself, hence, making jobs like shotcreting and breaking more efficient and productive.

XA500E in tunneling application

What are Atlas Copco’s latest technological innovations in the field of tunnelling and mining?
Atlas Copco portable compressors give free air delivery with a consistent volume of air, so that the drilling tools can deliver optimum output. Our portable air compressors also score high on fuel efficiency.

We have expanded our product offerings in the growing tunnelling and mining sector with products like our portable LED light towers. These offer advanced lighting technology in the single- and two-cylinder segment at tunnelling jobsites as they can be deployed even after sunset and across shifts.

Some models which demonstrate how we lead innovations and change the market dynamics in mining sector include our portable air compressors ranging from 160 cfm to 1250 cfm, 7 bar to 35 bar covering diverse applications.

Electric portable air compressors: Our electric range of compressors offer different pressure and flow combinations so that customers can experience the full power of electric! Equipped with the right ergonomics and inbuilt features to enhance performance, these electric compressors offer 19% faster drilling with 11% less power consumption as compared to other compressors in its class.

Re-engineered technology for higher efficiency: The XAS 450-650 cfm range has four variants. Their new technology driver covers a wide range of applications such as blasthole drilling, shotcreting, and DSI (dimensional stone industry). The XAS300-100 and the XAS400-100 portable air compressors are upgraded versions of the XA 157 and XA187 models.

What are the competitive features of your compressors that help customers optimize the lifecycle cost of their products?
Atlas Copco’s newly designed 455-650 cfm air compressor range for powering productivity in quarries and mines, has advanced features like: the concept vessel for easy access to the air receiver; and closed frame and baffle design for efficient cooling. This ensures 10% better fuel efficiency and improves productivity and profitability.

Additionally, our 300 - 410 cfm air compressor range has got a makeover. Specially designed for versatile applications in harsh conditions, it is now equipped with a highly efficient screw element and a new, simple oil separator tank. This range offers 10% lower fuel consumption, and easy servicing.

Our newest addition is the HiLight V5+ LED light tower 2-cylinder engine with 350W LED bulbs. The fully directional LED lens design maximizes light coverage and reduces lighting waste, and ensures a brighter, safer, and a more productive site. Features include:
  • A compact & lighter LED setup which increases light tower stability and robustness
  • Modular COB type LED floodlights with unique directional optics
  • New generation Floodlight that increases expected lifetime by 40% (approx lifetime is 50,000 hours)
  • LED lamps are made as per IK08 and IP67 standards
  • A single HiLight tower can illuminate an area of approx. 5,000 sqm with an average brightness of 20 lux
  • Hardhat® canopy ensures robustness, no rusting, and higher resale value
  • Fuel savings of up to 60% compared to metal halide
What measures is Atlas Copco taking to reduce carbon emission, and how sustainable and energy-efficient are its products?
Sustainable productivity and safety are guaranteed features in all Atlas Copco compressors. The products are designed and developed for Indian jobsite conditions, and we do various innovations through re-engineering. We are consistently upgrading our product portfolio keeping in mind the product gaps and future challenges. For example, all Atlas Copco compressors are designed with advanced screw elements, which deliver high flow at committed pressure with fuel efficiency. The element, which is the heart of the compressor, is engineered to the highest standards in the industry.

To prove this, the change of element in our XRH1100 EXCEL resulted in a fuel saving model XRH 1100 PLUS with 11% better fuel efficiency. Similarly, the XRHS650/250-300 dual pressure compressor has the most advanced technology with maximum pressure in this range, by reducing the load with a 2-stage screw element design, which increased its productivity and fuel efficiency.

All our compressors have aesthetically designed canopies to control their noise level, and is the highest standard achieved in the industry so far. We give equal importance to the operating conditions; hence, our special cooling design makes the compressors more suitable for working in high ambient temperatures and in dusty environments. Further, the quality of all our consumables is as per Atlas Copco’s global specifications, and, therefore, more durable and have longer maintenance intervals.

Our electric range of portable air compressors offers higher KW from 45kw to 160 kw, and we are undisputed leaders in the above 90KW category. We offer breakthrough technology which impacts overall productivity and efficiency. As we strive for zero emissions, we will continue to deliver the most sustainable solutions for every tough application in every industry.

What support and service does the company extend to its customers?
As a product- and customer service-driven company, we ensure optimum support for our compressors. Maintenance is undertaken by our in-house service teams, and we also train the service engineers of our dealers. We ensure instant parts supply, even for equipment working at remote locations, through our 50 dealers spread across the country.

Our compressors are service-friendly with one side service and modern operating controls such as FleetLink technology to help customers monitor and control their machines conveniently. Our Power Connect LIVE is a remote augmented reality-powered video assistance service, which allows our technical support team to troubleshoot remotely. Mobile apps such as PowerHub for our field service engineers and dealers, and PowerCare for our customers ensure easy and quick connectivity.

As we stand at the threshold of a new era, we will continue to educate the market with live demos of our products so that customers can experience our solutions first hand, rather than just our products. This will help them accept technological advancements and embrace the paradigm shift that technology is bringing in the field of construction.

What significant changes and developments do you think will impact India’s air compressor industry in the coming years?
The Construction Equipment (CE) sector of India is contributing around 60% of the total infrastructure development investments. The industry is continuously evolving through innovations in application and in the high-tech products being developed. India is a growing economy, and looking at the overall infrastructure requirements coming up, we expect the CE industry to bounce back strongly and support the country’s economic revival.

The construction and infrastructure segment today requires more innovation in all areas of core infrastructure developments such as roads, metro rails, expressways, airports, and for expansions of existing highways. Advanced technology and better productivity solutions will be the demand drivers, going forward.

More and more customers are moving towards high-pressure band for greater productivity and are seeking results with a higher penetration rate and reduction in fuel consumption. In keeping with this demand, Atlas Copco will continue to offer products that will meet customer needs and ensure long-term benefits to them.
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