January 30, 2020
Many South Africans have recently experienced the frustration of mains power outages. While for the private citizen, the lack of electricity for an extended period is an inconvenience, for companies such as mining operations the consequences are much more serious.
In renting generators to mines, there are two aspects to consider. First of all, there is the rental of ad hoc temporary power and secondly, and possibly more crucial, is the rental generators for mine plant shutdowns.
Mining companies, in particular, with the vast sums of capital often invested in them cannot afford production downtime. Rand-Air is able to respond to such crises with high-quality rental generators and the technical support to ensure an uninterrupted flow of power. The company’s range of generators runs from 20 kVA models right up to 1100 kVA units. All run at 50 Hz but can be adjusted to 60 Hz on request. The power supply can either be single-phase 220 V or three-phase 380 V.
“Importantly, our generators are supplied with all accessories needed for immediate operation,” explains Rand-Air Fleet Manager Craig Swart. This includes distribution boards, cables, joiner boxes, COC kits and transformers if necessary.
“If required, Rand-Air is able to advise its customers on the capacity of the generator they need,” he says.
What are particularly useful are the Change over Contactor (COC) kits. These are invaluable when a customer needs a generator to be on standby and start supplying electricity automatically should mains AC power fail. In order to use a COC kit, the generator needs to have an Automatic Mains Failure (AMF) feature.
Rand-Air generators are mounted on trailers (except for the TwinPower which is containerised) and, today, many have distribution boards mounted on the trailer as well, a factor which simplifies the use of the unit. Being trailer mounted, the generators can be taken right to the point where the power is actually needed.
Innovation has always been a hallmark of Atlas Copco. As an example, to this end, Rand-Air has purchased four Atlas Copco TwinPower generators, two 550 kVA generators being installed in each container.
This containerised generator solution gives a very compact footprint, unrivalled versatility, optimised performance and excellent fuel economy in demanding modular power plant (MPP) applications. In addition, the two modules inside the container can be synchronised so that it is possible to supply either 1100 kVA or 550 kVA – a versatile and portable cost- and fuel-saving option for the customer.
“Many of our mining customers prefer to have one self-contained unit on site, as opposed to two individual 550 kVA generators in sync,” explains Swart. The footprint of the container is smaller than two individual 550 kVA generators; and having the generators in containers protects them against extreme weather conditions.
From time to time, mines need to shut down their processing plant for an extended period of planned maintenance in order to avoid un-scheduled shutdowns. With these shutdowns, on occasion, mines use the services of hundreds of subcontractors, all of whom need temporary power. Every day a mine plant is out of operation, the financial losses are considerable, so all equipment on site has to be absolutely reliable and well supported. As Rand-Air sources its generation equipment from world leading manufacturer Atlas Copco, reliability is not an issue. Combined with Rand-Air’s superb service, this is a winning combination.
“Naturally, before any equipment item goes on to site it scrupulously checked by our technicians to ensure no costly breakdowns or downtime ensues,” Swart continues.
“For us at Rand-Air, mine shutdowns, while they are challenging, are also very exciting as they give us the opportunity to show what our company is capable of,” he explains.
“The achievement of finding 50,000 cfm of compressed air for a customer at short notice and getting it safely to site on time is a satisfying and rewarding experience both for ourselves and, ultimately, for our customers,” Swart concludes.