Atlas Copco compresses its footprint

Atlas Copco Compressors

The company strives for efficiency, profitability and sustainability for customers.

Setting its sights on reducing emissions is no easy feat, but Atlas Copco Compressors makes it look that way. Launching more than 15 new product ranges in the midst of a pandemic, the company is proving itself as an unstoppable force.

The Atlas Copco group is innovating for a sustainable future and has launched ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions, corresponding to the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The targets will reduce CO2 emissions with the aim of slowing down and preventing the impacts of climate change in its own operations, as well as for its customers.

For its value chain, most emissions come from the use of its products, so by constantly innovating to reduce the climate impact of its products and solutions, the company is also supporting its customers’ own sustainability ambitions.

Atlas Copco Compressors is one of the group’s signature brands, working from the research and development of compressors, through to the production and the project planning of systems and services.

As a compressor manufacturer, the company strives for efficiency, as well as the highest possible profitability and sustainability for the customers.

“A big compressor of 500 kilowatts is going to be producing about 2800 metric tonnes of CO2. What we do is develop air compressors that are 10 to 50 per cent more efficient than the typical compressors in the market,” Atlas Copco Compressors Australia oil-injected screw compressors product manager Delfin Perozo said. 

As part of the Atlas Copco group, the business has been manufacturing equipment for the mining industry for over a century, providing complete solutions for its customers, and helping to maximise operational efficiency and profitability.

Mine equipment is subjected to incredibly harsh environments and continuous operation, and any unexpected downtime from equipment failure is costly due to the lost production of minerals.

All compressed air and industrial gas solutions installed at these mining operations are required to be tough, reliable and built to last.

The engineering team can design in accordance with any specifications.

 

Atlas Copco Compressors has a proven reputation when it comes to product quality and caters to the unique needs of every mine site, with not only its products but also its in-house engineering team. 

The engineering team can design in accordance with any specifications, a turnkey installation that is exactly what is needed for the site.

The engineering team is connected with the design teams and engineers abroad at the product company, enabling them to tap into a wealth of knowledge in compressed air technology spanning decades.

“We complete the cycle, not only just supplying the equipment, but also maintaining the equipment and keeping the equipment running at the best efficiency point,” Perozo said.

“It is the complete solution that we provide to the customer, analysing what is happening with the system, and if the system is not the ideal one or if the consumption has changed on the mining side, we propose the corrective actions on how to fine-tune it to have the best energy consumption.”

The company is well-versed in ensuring its products are of the utmost efficiency. It has developed processes to make them more reliable and less stringent on the maintenance side of the business.

The company’s new generation of oil-injected screw compressors, as an example, do not require an oil change before 8000 running hours or a whole year of use. 

Traditional oil-injected screw compressors need to have the oil changed every 2000 running hours or every three months. 

Atlas Copco Compressors are not only making maintenance more achievable but are also contributing to less waste in its customers’ operations.

Research and development have been a major reason why the company has been able to continuously improve the efficiency and reliability of its products.

“We spend a large portion of our revenue on research and development. This gives us the ability to always have best-in-class equipment,” Atlas Copco Compressors Australia oil-free air division business line manager Pierre Matschke said.

“When we say best in class, we mean the performance of the free air delivery or the amount of air that you get compared to the power that you put in will almost always be better than an opposition machine.”

Throughout the last couple of years, as the world has struggled through lockdowns and restrictions, Atlas Copco Compressors has been hard at work developing new products and launched more than five new product ranges during the COVID period. 

By focusing its efforts on making compressed air systems more sustainable, the company can make a real change. 

“We estimate that 10 per cent of the total energy used globally is for compressed air,” Matschke told Australian Mining.

“If we can optimise every compressed air system by 10 per cent, then that will have a 1 per cent net effect on global energy requirements. So we can have a major impact.” 

The business has been manufacturing mining equipment for over a century.

 

Atlas Copco Compressors was the very first compressor manufacturer to use true variable speed drive technology and with that its compressors were saving on average 35 per cent in energy in the early ’90s.

“Today we have some ranges that can save up to 50 per cent in energy. Imagine if I can replace every compressor out there with a machine that can reduce the energy by 50 per cent. We could reduce the energy usage across the globe by five per cent. The impact is massive,” Matschke said.

Recently launched to the market at the end of 2021 is the GA 180-315 oil injected screw compressor family, including fixed speed and VSD+ versions, which brings with it a game-changing revolution in the compressor industry.

The VSD+ offers energy savings up to 50 per cent compared to fixed-speed models and is the most energy-efficient compressor range on the market. 

It raises the bar in performance, reliability and connectivity to support sustainability and productivity goals.

“This is the base of the hybrid solution that we just launched at the end of the year,” Perozo says. 

“They have two drivetrains, with oil-cooled motors, and we have the fixed speed version and the variable-speed drive (VSD) version of that configuration.

“The new GA180-315 family is the extension of the GA90+ 160 compressors we launched in 2018. They share the same high-efficiency oil-cooled motors and the reliability based on the IP66 drive train.”

Having two drive trains and taking the best of fixed speed technology and mixing it with the best of VSD+ technology increases its efficiencies even more.

The hybrid version is the step up from what is currently the latest innovation in the market and is expected to reach the Australian market before the end of 2022. 

“Selling, developing and having efficient equipment is only one part of what we do,” Matschke says.

“It’s not just about replacing a compressor; it’s about looking at the pipework: Is the pipework sufficient? Are they using the right technology for the right application? Are there air leaks?

“There is so much more to this than simply putting a machine on a site and pressing the start button. Our team is very consultative, very knowledgeable and very experienced.”  

This feature also appears in the March edition of Australian Mining.

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