Feature: Compressors - Power and reliability

By Steve Ducker24 March 2015

A Stage IIIB-compliant Doosan portable compressor

A Stage IIIB-compliant Doosan portable compressor

Rental companies are generally looking for robust, reliable equipment when investing in new compressors, as well as flexibility in terms of running multiple tools and adapting engine speeds to air demands.

The sector’s manufacturers are listening, and are working hard to constantly refine their designs in order to better serve the industry. While many of the latest product updates have been developed in response to strict new exhaust emissions legislation in Europe and the US, producers have also focussed on increasing fuel efficiency, extending service intervals, reducing maintenance and reducing noise pollution.

Kaeser Kompressoren product manager Ralf Hereth highlighted low-emissions machines as a key consideration for rental companies.

“Facing an increasing number of municipal environmental zones and corresponding calls for tender, it is becoming more and more important for rental companies to offer customers appropriate state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.

The manufacturer has developed a low-emission Mobilair product range for engines below 19 kW (compressor models M20 and M27) and for engines from 85 kW to 265 kW (M114 to M350 models), the former offering emissions compliance without a diesel particulate filter, and the latter using a range of aftertreatment technologies to comply.

“In the course of 2015, Kaeser will present further new innovative models and will extend its low-emission Mobilair product range down to 36kW engine power,” Mr Hereth added.

Meanwhile, Chicago Pneumatic has also launched new emissions-compliant portable compressors in the form of new versions of its 7 bar CPS 11.0 and 12 bar CPS 11-12 models, boasting EU Stage IIIB-compliant Deutz engines and a new electronic control panel which the company said made them easy for users to operate, monitor and service.

Built for tough construction and maintenance applications, Chicago Pneumatic said the CPS 11.0 and CPS 11-12 were well-suited to surface drilling, abrasive blasting and ice blasting, as well as road work and shotcrete pumping applications.

It said the 12 bar variant was also suitable for special applications such as fibre optic cabling, with the higher working pressure enabling it to push cabling through longer pipeline distances without incurring pressure loss.

The new electronic control panel was said to offer users an improved interface and straight forward control and monitoring options, as well as making it simple for operators to quickly start and stop the compressor and regulate automatic cool-down after the unit has been running at full load.

The company said the new models also featured a 175 l fuel tank which the manufacturer said allowed them to run non-stop at full load for an entire shift without refuelling. A fully automatic step-less speed regulator also means the engine speed can be adapted to air demand.

Supply agreements

Engine manufacturers have also been busy announcing supply agreements with compressor producers in the light of the strict new emissions laws in the US and Europe.

John Deere Power Systems, for instance, said its PowerTech Tier 4 Final/Stage IV engines would power three new air compressors from Atlas Copco – the XAS 750, XAS 1800 and XATS 1050 JD models.

It said the XAS 750 compressor would feature the PowerTech 187 kW PVS 6.8L engine, while the XAS 1800 would be driven by the 393 kW PSS 13.5L engine, and the new XATS 1050 JD would be driven by the 242 kW PSS 9.0L engine.

Atlas Copco and John Deere have partnered on air compressor solutions since the 1990s, when Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) off-highway diesel engine emissions regulations were first introduced. Throughout the transitions between tiers, John Deere said it had worked closely with the OEM to select and integrate engines optimised for the application.

To meet Final Tier 4/Stage IV requirements in the 93 kW and above power range, John Deere said it configured an integrated emissions control system featuring cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), a diesel oxidation catalyst (DOC)/diesel particulate filter (DPF) and selective catalytic reduction (SCR).

“We are pleased to continue our long partnership with Atlas Copco, the global leader in compressed air solutions,” said Carl Micu, manager of OEM NA/SA engines sales and worldwide drivetrain sales at John Deere Power Systems.

“We’re confident that our Final Tier 4/Stage IV solutions will not only meet stringent emissions regulations, but also provide the responsive performance, reliable uptime and low cost of operation that Atlas Copco customers need to have success.”

Mark MacInnis, engineering manager with Atlas Copco added, “John Deere took a building-block approach in the development of emissions technologies over the years. It was a gradual approach that made integration from tier to tier straightforward. For an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), that’s an advantage.”

For its part, Doosan claims to be the only compressor supplier to use its own engines within its compressor models - a fact which the manufacturer said would give it advantages in terms of aftermarket support.

At this year’s World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, US, (running from 3 to 6 February), Doosan announced that its US Tier 4 Final-compliant 37 kW D24 4-cylinder engine was now being used in its P185 portable compressor.

The P185 can deliver 185 cfm with 100 psi at 185 cfm (5.2 m3/minute) of air at 100 psi (6.9 bar). Doosan Portable Power assistant product marketing manager Josh Goodman, said that the unit offered superior cold starting characteristics, 7% better fuel efficiency than the model it replaces, 10 hours of running time between fuel refills, 500 hour service intervals and quite running – the unit registers 74 dB(a) of noise at a distance of 7 m.

Mr Goodman said that other units would follow featuring other Doosan engines, as well as the D24 at different power ratings. “We’re not done with this engine yet,” he said. “It can go in a lot of our products.”

Airend development

At the higher end of the product range, Doosan has developed the HR350 airend – the component which compresses air.

This is a two-stage unit rated at 350 psi (24 bar). With an output of 900 to 1170 cfm (1529 to 1988 m3/h) it is designed for large compressors in drilling and similar applications.

Rus Warner, global air products manager at Doosan Portable Power said two more airends single-stage airends will be rolled out over the next 18 months for smaller classes of compressors. He added that these would be available to other OEMs and in some cases could be retrofitted to existing models.

And Doosan has also expanded its compressor range available in the Middle East and Africa – it now offers its full range of compressed air applications from construction, rental, utilities and manufacturing to quarrying, waterwell drilling and the oil and gas industry, with free air deliveries from 185 to 1500 cfm (5.0 to 42.5 m3/min) at output pressures from 100 to 500 psi (7 to 35 bar) in the region.

As well as a wide selection of Tier 3 High Ambient models, it said the range also included several Tier 1 or Tier 2 engine-powered models, suited to the fuel quality levels found in these regions.

New from Doosan Portable Power in Europe, meanwhile, is the Stage IIIB-compliant 7/125-10/110 portable compressor, which boasts a new dual mode feature as standard, with a choice of two pressure and flow ratings on the same machine.

By pushing a button on the keypad, the operator can switch between ‘LO’ (low pressure mode: rated pressure 6.9 bar/free air delivery 12 m3/min) and ‘HI’ (high pressure mode: rated pressure 10.3 bar/free air delivery 10.6 m3/min).

Finally, the company said it had also branched out in Latin America, where it launched its new 185 cfm (5.24 m3/minute) portable air compressors — the new P185 and recently redesigned C185. These compressors have been designed to power handheld air tools, chippers and breakers.

Aimed at road building contractors, the compressors are powered by a 65 hp (48 kW) turbocharged Kubota engine and can deliver air at 100 psi (6.9 bar). Doosan added that the units have been designed for different environmental conditions, including working at high altitudes.

Another manufacturer targeting the Latin American market is Sullair, which has introduced its expanded ShopTek line of lubricated rotary screw air compressors to the region, adding models ranging from 25 hp (18.6 kW) to 100 hp (74.6 kW) to its existing line of smaller compressors from 5 hp (3.7 kW). The line-up now boasts 14 models.

Brent Mumford, vice president and general manager for Sullair Stationary Air Compressors, said, “While we have had smaller horsepower units available for several years, many Latin American countries are experiencing growth in manufacturing.

“The larger ShopTek units provide more choices for helping our distributors match the right compressor to the right customer. Our global manufacturing capabilities have really made this expanded ShopTek launch possible.”

Improving volumes

Meanwhile in North America, Jenny Products focussed on improving volumes with its latest launch – the electric-powered J5A-30P air compressor, which it claims boasts the highest volume in its class. It pointed out that the 30 gallon (114 litre) air tank was ideal for running multiple tools simultaneously.

Driven by a 5 hp (3.7 kW) electric motor, the J5A-30P features a four-cylinder pump and can produce 19.4 cfm at 100 psi (33 m3/h at 6.9 bar) or 19 cfm at 125 psi (32.2 m3/h at 8.6 bar).

Jenny Products said the compressor contained many standard features to maximise service life while requiring little maintenance – characteristics that will likely be of interest to rental buyers. The manufacturer explained that pump temperature was kept low by the directional air shroud and large flywheel, while its Ultimate Blue synthetic pump oil protected the unit’s pistons, crankshaft, bearings, rings and cylinders through a splash lubrication system.

Furthermore, the unit contains protectively mounted fittings, and the belt is completely enclosed by a heavy-duty belt guard - helping reduce maintenance requirements.

And Jenny Products said the J5A-30P also contained pneumatic tyres and lifting handles, together with a manual tank drain, safety relief valve, stainless steel braided discharge hose, large canister intake with replaceable filter elements, anti-vibration feet, and pressure gauges for the tank, regulator and outlet.

This is a feature from the March issue of IRN. For the full feature, including extra images and box stories,or to see other features from the issue, please subscribe to the magazine: http://www.khl.com/subscriptions

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