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Hired compressors provide an emergency solution

Home Infrastructure Energy – Power Generation Hired compressors provide an emergency solution

WEDNESDAY 24 January 2024 was a usual busy day at Rand Air with machine hires going in and out of the yard in Jet Park, Johannesburg, when a frantic call came in from a prominent platinum mine near Rustenburg in the North West Province, urgently requesting 12,000cfm (cubic feet per minute) of compressed air to keep their underground mining operations going.

The mine, which shares a proud long-standing business relationship with Rand Air, had experienced a breakdown of its air compressor, subsequently halting production. The compressor supplies critical air to power pneumatic equipment underground.

Understanding that every hour of downtime incurs significant losses for the mine, the proficient Rand Air team, coordinated by Yolande Schmidt, internal sales, immediately flew into action. Sixteen high pressure oil-injected diesel compressors of varying sizes allocated to the project were inspected by the service team and transported to site where they were connected to the mine’s main air supply line by a Rand Air service technician. Within 24 hours the units were fully operational, constricting the amount of downtime.

Tshepo Mashaba, external sales at Rand Air, points out that the air has to travel a great distance from the surface to reach the underground equipment so it is absolutely critical to correctly spec the compressors to eliminate potential pressure drops and loss in airflow. “Hence we provided a combination of 800cfm, 1,000cfm and 1,200cfm machines to meet these requirements. Our service technician also visited the mine site daily to ensure that all sixteen compressors were running smoothly.”

Four days later, having suffered yet another breakdown, the mine reached out to Rand Air, requesting a further 14,000 cfm in order to maintain production.

“Undeterred by the fact that it was a Sunday, the well-oiled Rand Air team did not miss a beat,” says Schmidt. “It so happened that we had just recently received a consignment of brand new PTS916 air compressors. We got nine of these fresh-off-the-container 1600cfm units to site and operational for our mine customer within a 24-hour turnaround time.

Furthermore, our team educated customers on correct machine operation to boost uptime.”
The 25 hire compressors operated seamlessly on the mine site for 17 days with only one unit requiring some attention from Rand Air’s technician who was stationed nearby for the full duration of the hire.

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