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Executive Hire News › Archives › April/May 2016 › Executive Report : More flair with air

Executive Report : More flair with air

Nick Johnson assesses Atlas Copco's new small portable air compressors and a hand-held pneumatic breaker that could represent a cost-effective hire combination.

Building on its experience with both product groups, Atlas Copco has introduced a new generation of small portable air compressors and a new design of hand-held pneumatic breaker. The company has been making such equipment since the early 1900s and its engineers have drawn on this expertise to develop these new products for hirers and their customers.

Although some work traditionally carried out by pneumatic breakers is now the domain of machine-mounted hydraulic breakers, air compressors and their tools remain an important line in many hire fleets. Compressor hire rates have not always been the highest, but Atlas Copco believes it can now offer a more cost-effective package. The manufacturer chose Antwerp for a pre-Bauma launch of its new additions, the location of its large portable compressor factory where the new 8 Series machines are being produced.

Replacing the 12-year-old 7 Series, there are ten 8 Series models to provide free air deliveries from 2.0m3/min (71cfm) to 5.0m3/min (175cfm). The air-only versions range from the XAS38Kd (71cfm) to the XAS85Kd (175cfm) and there are two generator-equipped machines, namely the XAS48KdG (90cfm) and XAS68KdG (135cfm), which have Mecc Alte alternators providing electrical outputs of 6.5kVA and 6.5/12.0kVA respectively. All models have new Kubota low emissions diesel engines. The 14.9kW D722 is used in the XAS38Kd whilst the XAS48Kd (90cfm) has the 18.5kW D902, and the larger compressors utilise the V1505. These engines power the latest update to Atlas Copco’s screw air end and fuel consumption is said to be 12% less than comparable models.

Access to the engine, air end and, where fitted, the alternator is achieved by opening the front hinged canopy, held up by a gas strut. To save weight, Atlas Copco no longer offers steel canopies, so the new 8 Series are distinguished by a new-style HardHat canopy. The company reports that, last year, over 95% of 7 Series models sold in Europe were supplied with such canopies, made from impact-resistant medium-density polyethylene. These can be supplied in yellow or other colours to suit individual hire companies.

A one-hour full service is now only required every two years and there are well-located liquid drain points, and the machines are designed to facilitate changing the engine and compressor oil filters and the compressor air, compressor oil filter and compressor separator element.

The 8 Series models score by being both compact and lightweight, whilst still being able to produce air at a rate up to 5.0m3/min. The smallest XAS38Kd and XAS48kd portables weigh 500kg and the larger machines are below 750kg, making them easier to tow. Whilst the XAS38Kd and XAS48kd only have 27-litre fuel tanks, they are claimed to provide improved efficiency and lower fuel consumption.

When teamed with the manufacturer’s new RTEX hand-held pneumatic breaker, the portables become an attractive hire proposition. Although the breaker weighs 25kg, it is said to provide the breaking performance of an established Atlas Copco 33kg breaker whilst using only half as much compressed air. The air consumption of the tool is approximately 18 litre/sec (38cfm), so two of them can be powered by either the XAS38Kd or the XAS48Kd, enabling hirers to offer a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly package, as there is less investment in the machinery, while transportation and fuel costs are reduced.

With several patents pending, the RTEX utilises a new operating principle called Constant Pressure Control, a longer and heavier piston, a new bottom-mounted main control valve and an innovative RHEX Power Chisel with a concave tip profile to reduce the risk of jamming. Air consumption is reduced because the machine only uses air during the return stroke of its piston. The system is designed to provide better energy transfer from the stroke mechanism to the piston, and another bonus is that the pressure on top of the piston is constant, reducing vibration.

Precise breaking is aided by the provision of an improved Softstart system that lets the operator slowly release the tool’s energy as needed. Maximum blow rate is 870 blows/min and, although it does not have anti-vibration handles, the internal reduction of vibrations at source results in a quoted tri-axial HAV figure of below 5m/s2. Atlas Copco is also expanding its ranges of mobile lighting towers, diesel engined portable generators and water pumps. Having been well known for its supply of submersible pumps under the Weda brand name, the company intends to increase its provision of de-watering pumps following its recent acquisition of the Italian pump maker, Varisco.

Models in the company’s expanded lighting tower range are now all to be sold under the HiLight brand. Following the recent introductions of HiLight V4 (with metal-halide lights) and HiLight V5+ (with LED lamps) incorporating HardHat canopies, Atlas Copco is also launching the E3+ and H5+ models, both with LED lights.•

01442 222100
www.atlascopco.co.uk


     
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