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An outstanding ‘paper trail’ of success for Rand-Air with Durban pulp and paper mill customer

August 28, 2020


The combination of a very long-standing relationship with a pulp and paper mill customer and Rand-Air Durban’s excellent teamwork ensured that the company was top-of-mind when it came to the customer’s power contingency planning earlier this year.

Rudy De Vry, Area Manager for Rand-Air in KwaZulu-Natal explains that the customer has been associated with Rand-Air for many years, and is one of the biggest suppliers in the South African pulp and paper industry.

“This was a significant hire in terms of its duration, which was from July 2019 to mid-May 2020,” De Vry advises.

“The equipment on hire comprised 5 PTS 1600 oil-free diesel compressors and a DAU, desiccant air dryer, which provides 100% oil-free, clean and dry air that complies with ISO 8573-1 Class 0 certification,” De Vry explains, adding that ‘Class 0’ means zero risk of contamination or damage to equipment.

“Class 0 certified compressors are so highly compliant and safe that – apart from being very suitable for use in a pulp and paper mill environment – they also meet the stringent operational requirements of the pharmaceutical and food industries, both of which have strict adherence to zero-contamination standards,” he points out.

Liesel Johnson, Rand-Air sales representative in Durban, who was part of the team instrumental in securing the hire, explains how the equipment was used: “The compressors and air dryer went into a business unit within the ‘heartbeat’ of the mill. This section – which is home to the boiler house and compressor room – contains massive centrifugal compressors, and is the hub of the mill for power and support, feeding all the other business units.”

De Vry adds: “One of the customer’s stand-by compressors required repairs, which meant that the mill did not have any redundancy capacity. We therefore supplied the compressors and driers as a stand-by contingency measure, in the event of the installed compressors tripping. Rand-Air was furthermore able to supply the equipment immediately:

“Through the timely hire of our contingency equipment, the mill was able to continue production uninterrupted, until they were able to source and install another back-up compressor,” Johnson observes, adding: “We at Rand Air understand our customer’s industry and how important stand-by air can be operationally, and we are able to assist in the fastest time possible.”

Being able to supply certified, Class 0 oil-free air gives Rand-Air a huge competitive edge, complemented by its renowned customer-centric approach, says Johnson.

“We have in addition made a point of familiarising ourselves with all the different business units within the mill – not only the office staff – but also those on the shop floor and in operations. This approach has led to an immense sense of trust developing over the years, allowing us to get it right first time when a request is received. In this way, we are able to go straight to the source of the problem and assist.”

Rand-Air’s salespeople are also fully versed in the technical aspects of the equipment hired –  which is key to developing trust with their customers, as – along with Rand-Air’s technical team of qualified technicians – they can provide competent after-hire support and advice.

De Vry emphasises that each hire is successful only through the individuals that make up the team: “From the salesperson, right through to the technical team commissioning the equipment – every participant makes up a successful team,” he says. “This teamwork ensured that – notwithstanding the challenges presented by CV-19 and the national lockdown – the equipment was hired and installed on time, fulfilling this customer’s requirements on every level.”

The long-standing relationship with Rand-Air will ensure that the mill will undoubtedly hire equipment in the future, should the need arise.

“Through our long-standing relationship and our customer-centric approach, Rand-Air always strives to be first in mind and top choice for this pulp and paper mill’s air and power rental requirements,” concludes de Vry.