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On track with a dependable air partner – Atlas Copco

Atlas Copco Compressor Technique’s GAR 5-37 oil-injected, air-cooled, screw compressors are specially designed and custom-built to meet dedicated railway applications. With built-in features including proven reliability, compact dimensions as well as low weight and noise levels, these units contribute to safety, energy savings and low operating costs, affording end-users all the associated benefits.

The GAR 5,5kW to 37,5kW compressor range has a long and successful history of meeting the most demanding compressed air requirements of main line locomotives, heavy-duty diesel locomotives, shunters, Electric and Diesel Multiple Units (EMUs and DMUs), metros and Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs).

According to André de Backer, Atlas Copco’s Global Business Development Manager Railway, who is passionate about their rail product portfolio, the GAR screw compressor is a long-term rail solution.

“Over the past years we have established a global installed base of over 11,000 units which assist railway operators to achieve punctuality, safety and reliability, while reducing operational costs.”

While the Atlas Copco GAR compressors supply air for a variety of compressed air functions such as braking, tilting and leveling, activating pantographs, but also opening of coach doors, flushing of toilets, windscreen wipers, etc., De Backer cites safety as the most important focus of the unit.

“The GAR is a critical element, bringing the train to a stop by supplying compressed air to the braking system. Reliability is therefore a top priority.”

The compressor package owes its extreme reliability to its simple design. The GAR 5-37 range incorporates a minimum of moving parts, a shaft-driven cooling fan and corrosion-resistant stainless steel and aluminium material.

The machine’s rigid and sturdy construction is capable of withstanding external vibrations, dust, exhaust gases, shock loads and projectiles. De Backer stresses that as these completely contaminant-free units contribute to increased product lifecycle and resultant uptime.

Moreover, these compressors are designed to withstand the most extreme weather conditions and are capable of performing in temperatures between -40°C to +50°C.

“This all add up to a highly reliable package,” says De Backer, noting that a customer reported trouble free running of the his GAR compressors installed 40 years ago, exceeding the units’ specified operating life of approximately 80,000 hours and more.

The integrated fan concept i.e. mounting the fan on the drive motor shaft which eliminates amongst others the need for a separate cooling system is fundamental to the GAR range’s extremely compact design which requires little space for installation. Thanks to the use of light-weight aluminium, the compressor’s approximate weight of 450Kg, incl. the full dryer package is over 300Kg lighter than its closest rival. De Backer points out that this weight difference is equal to approximately four passengers.

“The end-user can therefore increase his earning by loading more passengers within safe and legal weight limits.” 

A combination of low maintenance requirements and long service intervals guarantee availability of more than 99%.

“The fact that these compressors remarkably require only two times 2,5 hours of preventive maintenance per annum over a total lifetime of 30 years, including overhaul, delivers unrivalled uptime to end-users,” states De Backer.

Intelligent use and the sustained health of core parts are the basic requirements for the lifelong optimum availability of equipment. Here expert advice from and maintenance by specialists are key. Armed with extensive knowledge, Atlas Copco’s highly experienced consultant engineers are trained to determine an acceptable operating balance that is both within the capabilities of the compressor and also adequate to satisfy the customer’s production with minimised operational costs and maximised energy saving.

The best way of driving down running costs to earn a rapid return on investment is to take good care of equipment; this is where maintenance takes centre stage. Product monitoring through on-going or proactive maintenance and using only genuine parts by a qualified Atlas Copco technician will prevent unwanted availability losses caused by unexpected breakdowns; it will also contribute to extended product life cycle and lowest total cost of compressor ownership.

“Atlas Copco genuine parts are built according to the same quality standards as our compressors, guaranteeing end-users that availability, even after compressor servicing, will remain at the same high level,” notes De Backer.

Atlas Copco will visit customers’ facilities to assess individual requirements and propose the most cost effective Customer Support Plan to take care of all necessary maintenance needs. Maintenance contacts are also available.

Charl Ackerman, Atlas Copco Compressor Technique’sBusiness Line Manager, Industrial Air confirms that world-class quality training workshops on the correct use and maintenance of the GAR compressor range is offered at the company’s Jet Park headquarters located on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

“Training is also available on-site for customers who are not able to travel to Gauteng,”

According to Ackerman, the customer’s bottom line and maximum availability of equipment at minimum total operating costs are top priorities for Atlas Copco Compressor Technique.

“We remain committed to the maximum operational availability and efficiency of our customers’ compressed air networks. Establishing long-term customer relationships and being involved in their processes, needs and objectives from the get-go is paramount to achieving our goal of total customer care at any level of service interaction; from product installation and standardised genuine parts and tailor-made service plans to remote monitoring and optimisation. We endeavour to be a long-term product performance and service partner that contributes to the sustainable productivity of our customers’ processes,” concludes Ackerman. 

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