Powering the future

Atlas Copco Power Technique unveils vision for powering the future

E‌arlier in 2018 it was announced that a new company was to be established, Epiroc, which will market the company‘s rock related equipment. Now, on the 12th March 2018, the leadership team of the Power Technique business area presented its own strategic vision, outlining how it fits with Atlas Copco‘s new organisation and the customer segments it will serve.

Under the theme of ‘Powering the Future‘, Atlas Copco revealed at a well-attended event held at  London‘s Alexandra Palace, the Atlas Copco organisation for servicing the air, power and flow requirements of its construction, mining, demolition, industrial and tunnelling customers. Additionally the rationale for the divestment of Dynapac to the Fayat Group, Husqvarna‘s acquisition of its small power tools, and the establishment of a separate company, Epiroc, was explained.

Dynapac and the small power tools divisions were divested as part of Atlas Copco‘s avowed aim to focus on areas where it is either the leading supplier in the segment, or realistically has the potential of achieving that position. Epiroc is being established, subject to final confirmation at a full Atlas Copco board meeting in April, to provide equipment and services specifically for the quarrying, aggregates, mining and tunnelling customers. The Power Technique business area will however still supply its product ranges to these segments.

The main purpose of the Alexandra Palace event was to explain the focus of the Power Technique business area. “Our core competency is providing power solutions to thousands of sites all over the world. We are now focused purely on three pillars - air, power and flow, and will continue to accelerate our research and NPD efforts in these areas to pioneer the technology of the future. We are committed to offering our customers and partners premium products that will deliver exceptional value and enhance the productivity of their businesses at the lowest possible total cost of ownership,“ said Andrew Walker, president of the Atlas Copco Power Technique business area.

Power Technique was launched as a separate business area within the Atlas Copco Group in June 2017, and concentrates on the product technologies of air, power and flow. The name, Power Technique, was chosen as it better reflects current and future focus in these segments, with ‘power‘ being the key attribute of these products, and what key customer groups identify with when it comes to its portfolio. “Despite all the changes, 2017 was one of the best years (for Atlas Copco) ever,“ added Andrew Walker.

During Andrew Walker‘s speech, he outlined that the construction industry (and its associated activities) is still the core business for Power Technique, but its establishment as a separate entity will enable it to concentrate on other areas as well.  Manufacturing and industrial customers are seen particularly as areas where the Power Technique products would be particularly appreciated.

New products unveiled

As well as outlining its strategy for Power Technique, Atlas Copco also provided a ‘sneak preview‘ of some of its latest developments, some of which have not been released to the market as of yet. These new products comprised portable compressed air machinery, electrical generators, dewatering pumps and light towers. All have been designed to reduce both carbon and noise emissions, providing end users with more efficient operation and lower cost of ownership.

These advances will allow professionals working across multiple industry sectors, from construction to manufacturing, equipment rental, utilities, oil and gas, demolition and above ground mining, to make the most of opportunities presented by market trends, while overcoming forthcoming legislation such as new emission regulation changes. The key facets of the new equipment are focused on reducing both carbon and noise emissions, and increasing energy efficiency.

More power, lower emissions

Adrian Ridge, president of the Power and Flow division, revealed how low load operation problems are now a thing of the past with the introduction of the new QAS 35 VSG Variable Speed Generator, which presents many benefits in terms of operational savings, performance and reliability. Superior low load performance of the QAS 35 VSG is achieved through automatic variable speed control from 800 to 2550 rpm, and a built in Power Management System (PMS). The latter enables fuel consumption levels to be reduced by up to 40 % against comparable models. At the same time it helps increase reliability in applications with an average load of less than 20 %, such as construction projects, outdoor events or telecoms service duties.

Solutions for Modular Power Plant (MPP) applications were presented, including the brand new QAC 1450 TwinPower™ generator that delivers versatility, optimised performance and excellent fuel economy. The QAC 1450 TwinPower is a 6.096 m ISO containerised unit housing two compact 725 kVA generators which are powered by V8 Scania engines with double bearing alternators. This configuration, with its fast paralleling system, enables the two generators to work independently or in parallel with each other.

With noise pollution in public spaces a growing concern, a new ultra-quiet, diesel driven, LED light tower was shown which has been specifically designed for use in urban areas. Delivering industry leading operating noise levels as low as 55 dBA, the latest version of the HiLight B5+ light tower is ideally suited to provide illumination at events, temporary public lighting or enhanced visibility at construction sites located near residential areas. Optimum lighting performance is provided via the light tower‘s LED floodlights, which are capable of covering a 5000 m2 area at an average luminosity of 20 luxes.

New safety and efficiency enhancements for light towers were also introduced. The HiLight B5+, and any future light towers produced, will be able to be equipped with a new innovation for light towers called the SmartMast™. The proprietary technology features intelligent in built sensors that detect adverse environmental conditions, such as high winds, and will automatically lower the vertical mast when safety or stability is compromised. It is also programmed to alert end users to potential obstacles and impacts. Furthermore, it provides stability assistance when installing the light tower.

Dewatering pump technologies were introduced, including both electric submersible pumps and diesel driven centrifugal machines. From the latter category a highly efficient PAS pump was demonstrated. The PAS range was recently expanded to include 18 new models, and is suitable for multiple applications, from dewatering on construction and mining sites to solids removal, drainage and even emergency situations involving flooding and shipping. The modular design of the PAS range allows many different configurations and comes in 100 mm, 150 mm, 200 mm and 300 mm models. All pumps in the diesel dewatering range feature a patented hinged door that provides fast access to the impeller and wear plates. This innovation makes issues previously related to on-site service and unclogging a thing of the past.

Recent additions to the Atlas Copco family of submersible dewatering pumps were also shown. In particular, the WEDA+ range, which has recently undergone a radical design overhaul, was highlighted. The overhaul has resulted in several innovative new pumps being developed that offer up to 20 % overall reduction in power consumption when compared to previous models, and provide greater efficiency, simplified maintenance and increased capacity.

Providing extended periods of unattended dewatering operation, WEDA+ submersible pumps are designed to meet the demanding requirement of raising water from great depths or lowering water tables in challenging environments. As they are sub surface units, they are able to continue working under ice in freezing conditions as long as the pump is completely submerged and where appropriate to the task, electric pumps also offer environmental compatibility. For instance, quiet running is an essential feature of their performance when they are sited in populated areas or employed in night time operations.

Electric technology

The Portable Air division announced the forthcoming introduction of its revolutionary E-Air 250 ‘plug-and-play‘ portable, electric powered compressor with Variable Speed (VSD) Drive. Peter Lauwers, president of the Portable Air division, explained the efficiency and the new electric technology used on the E-Air compressor provides up to 40 % greater flow for the same power consumption when compared to conventional portable compressors. This is the latest addition to the Atlas Copco E-Air range, but the first to appear under the 8 Series banner.

The XATS 138 model was also on display. This model provides a combination of efficiency and flexibility through its intuitive PACE (Pressure Adjusted through Cognitive Electronics) pressure adjustment system that enables end users to precisely match air flow, and pressure, to their specific application needs. With the PACE system, operating flow and pressure may be adjusted, in a matter of seconds, by increments of 0.1 bar via an intuitive XC2003 controller. The fully integrated, ergonomically positioned controller facilitates diagnostics, tracks the compressor‘s utilisation and indicates planned service interventions.

Peter unveiled other new innovations within compressors which encompass the latest additions to the rugged and lightweight 8-series compressor range. This included the XAS 88G, which combines a reliable source of compressed air with a 9 kVA built in generator. The pioneering concept of the latest model, and all machines in the 8-series compressor/generator combination range, is designed to optimise fuel consumption in line with load demand.

Ray Löfgren of the Atlas Copco Speciality Rental division emphasised how his division is focused on delivering packaged solutions to a cross section of industries. The PTS 800 was show cased - part of their 100 % guaranteed oil free compressor range - that provides an optimised and reliable source of reliable compressed air for a wide variety of rental applications. The diesel driven PTS 800 delivers reliable air quality and flows of up to 800 fm3 at 10 bar. It also includes a fuel efficient engine that conforms to the latest standards and offers emission levels close to zero. This guarantees optimal efficiency and provides customers with the peace of mind they are fully compliant with the latest regulations.

Connectivity and Service

An interesting development which received a great deal of attention at the event was Atlas Copco‘s FleetLink and Power Connect systems. In recent years, manufacturers in the construction, mining and rental industries have experienced growing demand from end users for intelligent digital solutions capable of providing accurate and timely information. Being able to adapt and manage challenges on site is vitally important, no matter the size of the machine fleet. Atlas Copco has been quick to recognise that customers want to be closer to their jobsite, machines and teams.  As a result, it has developed two smart connectivity solutions - FleetLink and Power Connect - that give customers the information they need, in the palm of their hands, to increase productivity and make it easier to do business.

FleetLink is an intelligent telematics system designed to optimise fleet usage, reduce maintenance costs and ultimately save time and money. It enables customers to remotely manage their equipment, whether big or small, anytime and anywhere, with the latest fleet information being at hand. FleetLink provides an effective way for its users to remotely communicate with their machinery, with state of the art digital monitoring tools, such as geo-fencing, remote function lock out and automatic reporting, keeping them connected to their job site, equipment and team members around the clock.

Power Connect is an online portal that enables customers to find specific information about Atlas Copco machinery. In February this year, the Power Connect App was introduced to make it even easier to access and share information. By scanning the QR code on an Atlas Copco machine, the app takes prospective buyers and customers directly to the relevant section on the Power Connect portal. Here it is a simple process to quickly access an array of different information on the piece of equipment, including instruction focussed videos, interactive manuals, and details about how and where to buy spare parts. This information may be shared with colleagues or customers via an easy share button.

Brighter more economical and environmentally friendly future

The new Atlas Copco organisation, Power Technique business area and its products are focused on the future. The key theme for both the company‘s recent divestments and reorganisation are to be the market leader in its operating areas. This will be achieved through focusing on the needs of its customers, and this will be accomplished through producing economical and environmentally focused products customers really need. As the products covered shows, this approach is already finding tangible representation in the latest range of Power Technique products and services.

Autor/Author:

Roger Murrow, Marketing Means Communication MMC 2100/UK

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