Airing out the mine site

Atlas Copco can customise compressors for each individual mine site.

Atlas Copco Compressors is providing solutions for the mining industry across the globe. 

The high performance and efficiency of modern mining plant and equipment is something the industry places significant value on. 

Yet the attention rarely focusses on the innovations behind powering many of the machines that make up the mining process.  

Operations require heavy duty industrial air compressors and blowers for their plethora of applications.

Energy efficient solutions

An effective air compressor must combine high performance and reliability with energy efficiency. 

Atlas Copco will be one company to watch as the mining industry strives for a more sustainable future through more energy efficient solutions. 

“Our compressors are known for their longevity and reliability, and we have machines that are still running after 20 years of operating in harsh mining environments,” Atlas Copco business development manager for the mining sector Tony Dias says.

Variable Speed Drive Compressors

Atlas Copco’s variable speed drive (VSD) compressor range is designed specifically for challenging conditions such as those in Australia’s surface and underground mining operations. 

The company was a pioneer of VSD technology in the early 1990s, which matches air production to demand, leading to substantial energy savings of up to 50 per cent and reduced carbon emissions.

“Approximately 10 per cent of the world’s energy today goes towards compressing air and if we can save one per cent of that by providing more efficient compressors, that could be a huge saving globally and will have a massive impact on global carbon emissions,” Dias says.

“Mining companies are driving demand for a more sustainable future through energy efficient solutions.

“It’s a major driver for all companies, not just mining as shareholders are demanding that companies reduce their carbon footprint.”

Fast and capable service

By positioning itself on the doorstep of major mining regions in Australia, Atlas Copco offers fast and capable services to remote mining areas. 

Dias says the company has begun offering compressed air as a utility as some customers do not want to invest in a fixed asset.

“It is a new solution for the industry and something we are now doing, albeit in a limited way. We are selling air by the cubic metre,” Dias says.

Atlas Copco guarantees a fast and capable service.

Customisation for mine sites

Atlas Copco understands that no two mine sites are the same, which is why its local and international resources include dedicated engineering teams that help to formulate customised air compressor solutions. There is an increased demand for customisation of the company’s equipment.

Mining companies benefit from this service as it supports the diverse range of environments that their operations are located in.

“There is fairly high demand for customisation of our compressors, so they are suitable for harsh environments,” Dias says.

“Customers want to customise and almost cherry pick different elements of the compressor – they demand that we upgrade our standard compressors to  suit custom requirements.”

The perfect plug-and-play solution

The AIRCUBE allows companies that don’t have the time or space to add an indoor compressor room to quickly add compressed air capacity. It also solves a challenge many resource sector operations face: how do you get a dependable, high-quality air supply to some of the most remote places on this planet? Welcome to AIRCUBE.

Hydrogen to fuel the future for greener power

With mining companies facing stringent environmental, social and governance (ESG) requirements, Atlas Copco is developing a 1000-bar compressor for hydrogen.

“Hydrogen is obviously touted as a clean fuel of the future and being able to utilise it as a fuel source is all about reducing the carbon footprint,” Dias says.

While development is in its early stages, hydrogen fuel is another step in the industry’s shift to greener power to cut carbon emissions. 

Low pressure blowers

Atlas Copco’s low-pressure blowers and compressors deliver a steady supply of high-quality, oil-free air with industry leading energy efficiency and reliability.

Its multi-stage centrifugal blowers guarantee a continuous supply of 100 per cent oil-free air and come in a flow range of zero to 68,000 cubic metres per hour, with pressures from 48 to 160 kilopascal gauge. Mining applications include leaching and flotation. 

Nitrogen and oxygen generators

A full range of on-site nitrogen and oxygen generators are part of Atlas Copco equipment offerings.

With a 150-year history, Atlas Copco has grown to become a globally renowned brand with technical and engineering teams based across Australia.

Atlas Copco’s service to the mining industry shows that it is capable of powering vital mining equipment through its wide range of air compressor technologies.  

This article appears in the November issue of Australian Mining.

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