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Faster drilling with variable high-pressure compressors

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils Faster drilling with variable high-pressure compressors

IN a first for Rand-Air, the company has acquired Atlas Copco DrillAir Y1260 variable high-pressure (21 to 35 bar) compressors.

According to the company, these two new units are ideally suited for applications such as mineral exploration drilling, geothermal drilling, construction and blast hole drilling; as well as for services such as aerated drilling and the drilling of wells.

“At Rand-Air, we constantly strive to exceed customer expectations. And therefore, for our drilling customers, choosing the right compressor to match hole depth and hammer size is critical to their success,” said Rand-Air Fleet Manager Craig Swart.

“With these two new compressors, our mining customers can choose the right compressor for their core business; and have the flexibility to adapt to changes in well depth and hammer size for any custom application.”

Swart said DrillAir compressors can achieve maximum air flow at any pressure, as the relationship between pressure and flow is optimised, thereby creating the ideal combination of these two variables to improve drilling efficiency through the most efficient use of compressed air – and ultimately, dramatically reducing fuel costs.

“What sets the two new DrillAir compressors apart is their advanced PACE and DrillAir AirXpert technologies, which are simple to use and place drill operators firmly in control.” PACE (Pressure-Assisted through Cognitive Electronics) is a dynamic optimisation feature, which allows the user to tap into the compressor’s electric engine to control pressure and flow.

“Being able to match flow and pressure to their application requirements now eliminates the need to have two separate machines.”

DrillAir AirXpert furthermore offers up to 30% improved drilling speeds, he said. This performance management system includes software (Dynamic Flow Boost, Dynamic Control and XPR), as well as a LED hardware controller (Xc4003), electronically controlled inlet valve and a variable minimum pressure valve.

The Dynamic Flow Boost provides up to 4m³ a minute additional flow when flashing and during drill stem refills. In addition, Dynamic Flow Boost gives 10% more flow at lower working pressure for large diameter drilling. The key benefits include quicker flushing, faster drill stem refill, and a shorter time to complete drilling.

“Atlas Copco’s XPR (Extended Pressure Range) extends the working pressure range whilst setting it as low as 21 bar. In addition, the FuelXpert system ensures fuel efficiency and partial load with an additional fuel filter for better engine protection,” Swart said.

“The combination of DrillAir AirXpert technology, the Atlas Copco screw element and the Cummins Stage III engine provides high efficiency for a wide range of pressure and flow settings.”

With 500-hour service intervals, the machines’ centralised drain and air filtration systems facilitate easy servicing, while the design of the new oil separator system reduces maintenance time by over an hour. A dedicated service door allows for convenient oil level observation and oil filling. A three-layer coating on the body of the machine offers an extended life of corrosion-free service, further contributing to lower operational costs.

“Our new DrillAir compressors have been chosen for their robustness, and the fact that they are therefore well-suited for use in remote and harsh environments, where support is sometimes hard to access.”

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