Portable compressors: new electric models and more
By Murray Pollok28 January 2013
New electric powered air compressors are among new products from companies including Atlas Copco, Sullair, Doosan Portable Power and Atmos. IRN reports.
Electric compressors may not suit all applications – and certainly not if you don’t have easy access to a power source – but they do offer benefits, especially as diesel fuel costs rise and as new emission regulations make diesel engines more expensive to buy and operate.
Atlas Copco Portable Energy has been producing electric compressors at its Wuxi factory in China for some time, because electric compressors are popular in the country, but the company is now in the process of developing European and North American versions of the recently introduced XRHE models.
John Hort, vice president of marketing at Atlas Copco Portable energy, acknowledges that electrics will not suddenly become more popular than diesel units, but that there is an increasing trend in Europe and North America in response to the higher costs associated with diesels.
The new Chinese –made models are 25 bar XRHE units, with versions for European and North America now being developed, including smaller 10-14 bar models. The US versions could well be available by the end of this year, with European models likely to following in mid-2014.
Doosan Infracore Portable Power is also looking at electric compressors, and showed one prototype unit at the Conexpo show in 2010. That was the HP750e, a 750 cfm unit, with a liquid cooled variable speed drive, and targeted at larger industrial applications rather than the smaller portable compressor market that is so popular in Europe.
Alex Persyn, business director at Doosan Infracore Portable Power EMEA, tells IRN that the HP750e is a project for Doosan in the US and that there is no definite launch date yet for that model. He says electric compressors have their place, but mainly service industrial applications and with specialist rental companies.
Also working on electric models is Sullair in the US, which in the second half of 2012 launched what it says is the first electric 900 cfm (1529 m3/hr) compressor available for North America and 460 V/60 Hz markets.
Sullair - which was recently sold by United Technologies Corp (UTC) to private equity firms Carlyle Group and BC Partners - says the new E900H offers 67% lower operating cost than equivalent diesel-driven compressors.
The unit delivers 900 cfm at operating pressures up to 150 psi and features standard 460 Volt/3 phase/60 Hz cam-lock electrical connections for use with standard mains power or portable generators for either indoor or outdoor applications.
Sullair says the E900H “provides many of the same features as its diesel driven counterpart, but without the time and expense required for re-fueling and diesel sourcing.” The compressor is powered by a 214 hp (160 kW) TEFC electric drive motor with Wye-Delta starter.
The compressor has a road towable tandem axle design that supports a full fluid containment frame; and includes electric brakes, restraining tow chains and tail lights.
Meanwhile, work continues in developing new diesel compressors. Atlas Copco, for example, used the bauma China exhibition in November to show the new XRYS1050 unit, a 35 bar compressor powered by a Cat C15 engine, with a 25 bar variant also being developed.
This compressor features a more efficient screw element as well as an updated engine controller, which Atlas Copco says will make it 3% more efficient than its predecessors: the manufacturer has chosen to make these savings to increase air flow using the same amount of fuel as the previous model. There will also be Stage IV/Tier 3b versions of this compressor for Europe and North America (called the XRVS 487).
More generally Atlas Copco is busy developing Stage IV/Tier 4 Final technology compressors and says that it might end up with a dual engine technology, using both SCR (Selective catalytic reduction) using Adblue and DPF (diesel particulate filter) engines.
John Hort says the company may well use SCR/Adblue engines for the next stage of emission regulations because the Adblue distribution networks will have become more fully developed and because the stricter emission limits provide less flexibility in terms of technical solutions.
Germany’s Kaeser Kompressoren is already using a range of engine suppliers for its compressors, including Caterpillar, Mercedez Benz and Deutz engines for its bigger machines. “We don’t choose Adblue or particulate filters”, Thomas Kaeser told IRN, “we choose the engine manufacturer. The choice of engine is very, very important.”
New from Doosan Portable Power, meanwhile, is the large 25/280 portable compressor meeting Stage IIIB (Tier 4i) emission regulations. The 25/280, which will be exhibited for the first time at Bauma 2013, has a free air delivery of 28.3 m³/min at a rated operating pressure of 25.1 bar. Dual pressure regulation is a standard feature, allowing it to supply compressed air at operating pressures of both 25.1 or 17.2 bar.
Doosan says dual regulation expands the scope of applications for the 25/280 compressor to include powering drilling and boring machines for quarrying, mining, site investigation, geothermal, mineral exploration, water well construction and shallow oil and gas projects, together with truck-mounted applications for quarry and water well drilling. The 25/280 compressor can also be used for other specialist applications such as abrasive blasting, spray painting and standby and temporary compressed air for industry.
The new design of the unit combines a reduced footprint to minimise transport costs with increased fuel efficiency. With a length (drawbar up/drawbar down) of 5150/6735 mm, a width of 2123 mm and height of 2553 mm, the 25/280 is 18% smaller than the current 25/330 Stage IIIA model.
Power is provided by a 354 kW Cat C13 diesel engine using cooled EGR with the Cat clean emission after-treatment system to meet the Stage IIIB regulations.
Mr Persyn says the 25/280, which is built in the US, is one of three new hi-pressure, large platform models following the launch last year of the low pressure 9 bar and 12 bar units. Joining the 25/280 are two European-built units, the 17 bar 17/240 and the 21 bar 21/220.
These are new from the bottom up, says Mr persyn, not just models with new Stage IIIB engines, and incorporate as standard features like multi-air outlets, bunded base, central drain and full maintenance access from three sides.
In the smaller portable sector, Doosan will now be offering the 7/26 and 7/31 portable compressors with the option of a polyethylene ‘Tough Top’ canopy, joining the 7/41 which already has that option.
Meanwhile, Atmos, based in Chrást, Czech Republic, in adapting to the new emission regulations has updated its 4 m3/min, 10/12 bar machine the PDP28, with a “very generous engine power margin“ allowing it generate the same free air delivery at 10 bar at the 12 bar version.
Atmos says the main application for these units is trenchless pipeline refurbishment and rehabilitation, where the compressed air is used to drive robots and to inflate new pipe inserts. The 12 bar versions are mostly supplied for optical fibre blowing-in.
For sand blasters the new, lightweight PDP68 machine has been derived from the PDP71 model, again featuring a very robust engine power margin offering 6.8 m3/min at 7 bar.
Also new is the PDP100, a varient of the “time-proven“ PDP90 compressor (11 m3/min at 7 bar). Also for sand blasting applications, the PDP100 has an extra 16 kW of power (from a Perkins engine), which means it can work at 12 bar providing 11 m3/min of free air delivery.
Finally, mainly for markets outside Europe with high ambient temperatures (above 50 degrees C), the company has developed the PDP80, which is designed for testing pipelines, sand blasting or heavy demolition works. It provides 10m3/min of air at 7 bar.
MAC3 launches its first compressors
New French manufacturer of pneumatic tools MAC3 has introduced its first range of portable compressors incorporating a design that allows them to be switched between skid-mounted and trailer mounted configuration in minutes.
There are four compressors in the MSP range with working pressures of 7 bar and free air deliveries of between 2.2 and 3.2 m3/min. All have two air outlets, allowing the unit to power two tools at one time.
MAC3, based Saint-Cyprien near St Etienne, was created in 2011 by a group of former ex-Sullair Europe employees, including former Sullair Europe managing director Christelle Linossier, who is now managing director of MAC3.
Ms Linossier told IRN that the company started by producing pneumatic hammers and tools, but for the last year and a half has been developing the portable compressors, which are now being launched.
"The reception for the new compressors has been great", she said, "The big difference with other compressors is that you can switch from wheels to skid mounted very quickly. Traditionally people have had to choose between wheeled or skid." She said mounting the skid unit onto the axle and trailer takes just minutes.
The initial sales focus has been on France but the company is now targeting export sales and is looking for dealers.
All four MSP compressors use three-cylinder Kubota engines (with ratings from 16.7 kW to 22.8 kW). The skid mounted units weigh between 480 and 520 kg while adding the trailer undercarriage adds 120 kg to the weight. The compressors are also compact, with a width of just 0.75 m.
Rotair bought by India’s ELGI
Rotair will continue to manufacture compressors and other products in Italy following its acquisition last year by Indian compressor company ELGI Equipment, Rotair has told IRN.
ELGI, which is based in Coimbatore, India and has group revenues of around US$600 million, will maintain Rotair’s Caraglio manufacturing facility and the production of Rotair’s three main products, compressor, breakers and mini-dumpers. The acquisition gives ELGI a new production facility in Italy to add to those it already has in India, China and France.
Rotair, in a written statement to IRN, said its products “offer ELGI group an important opportunity of diversification, offering further market growth and expansion, with a distribution network across the world. The compressor business is core product group for ELGI, but hydraulic hammers and mini dumpers will give [it a] strategic diversification opportunity.
“The Rotair brand, already strongly present globally, will give it the opportunity of further expansion, strengthening its international position and [giving Rotair] access to a global supply base with ELGI”.