Smooth sailing: Rand-Air’s compressors and generators service a large portion of KwaZulu-Natal’s marine and industrial sectors

Customer demand has driven the expansion of Rand-Air’s operations in KwaZulu-Natal over the past ten years. Although the company has had a presence in the province since the early 1980’s, the past decade has seen an unprecedented growth in the need for high-quality reliable compressors and generators.

According to Rand-Air’s KwaZulu-Natal Area Manager, Michelle Nicolaï, the company’s operations began in Durban and expanded to the Richards Bay area in 1992. “In addition to an increased demand for our products in the petrochemical and marine markets in Durban, there was a surge in the development of industrial plants in Richards Bay during this period. Businesses became more discerning and demanding in their quest to identify reputable suppliers which were able to provide them with superior customer service.”

“The decision by one of our clients to construct two smelters in the Richards Bay area in the 1990’s led to the formation of Rand-Air’s Richards Bay operations. The development of the smelters acted as a catalyst for further infrastructural growth in the area, with a concomitant demand for compressors and generators,” says Louwrens Erasmus, General Manager of Rand-Air.

“In spite of the fact that new construction work has slowed down substantially, the need for our products has remained high, as industrial companies institute annual shutdown and maintenance programmes,” adds Michelle.

Michelle points out that the company has an extensive product offering at both branches. “We supply Atlas Copco generators of 20 kVA to 1000 kVA and a variety of Atlas Copco lighting sets. Atlas Copco oil free compressors of 1200 to 1500 cfm up to 24 bar; diesel compressors of 190 to 1200 cfm; electric compressors of 100 to 1200 cfm and high-pressure compressors of 12 to 30 bar are available. We introduced our Atlas Copco breathing packages last year on request from customers and we also provide ancillary equipment such as hoses, breakers, rock drills and hand scabblers.” Michelle says that in Durban there is a higher demand for products from the marine and petrochemical markets, while Richards Bay has a mixture of marine, industrial and some construction work. “We recently supplied compressors and generators to the Braamhoek Dam project near Ladysmith. This contract extended over the three-year duration of the project and gave Rand-Air an opportunity to show its ability in a remote environment. On this, as well as on a number of other large contracts, we have been able to provide customers with the assurance of reputable and reliable machinery and uncompromising customer service. 

“Other notable projects include a multi-product petroleum pipeline and the ongoing blasting and spraying of container vessels in the dry docks. Our ability to react quickly to customer requirements and flexibly apply solutions has won us favour with a diverse customer base in KwaZulu-Natal,” Michelle adds.

Michelle points out that the focus for the Rand-Air KwaZulu-Natal team going forward will be on increased penetration into the industrial sector. “As part of the Atlas Copco Specialty Rental group, we have determined that emphasis on long-term industrial rental is crucial. We will utilise the skills we have gained in other sectors, together with our promise of integrity and service delivery, to provide industry with equipment that will enhance productivity and decrease downtime.”

While the Atlas Copco equipment supplied by Rand-Air is of the highest quality, equally important to the ongoing sustainability of the company is its team of employees. “Collectively, the Durban and Richards Bay branches have 80 years of extensive experience and knowledge in the compressor and generator rental sector. Our customers can be assured of tailor-made solutions that leverage market best practice,” concludes Michelle.

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