Consistent and reliable electrical power supply is an absolute necessity for the smooth functioning of all sectors of industry and modern society today. Over the past few years in South Africa, there has however been growing uncertainty about the reliability of regular AC mains supply.
This has seen the demand for so-called ‘prime’ or primary power rental increasing. In addition, new developments in industry have also increased the demand for reliable prime power.
However, equipment rental companies have to maintain a fine balance between having sufficient equipment available for rental, while ensuring optimal fleet utilisation.
"Recently, we have experienced a substantial increase in the demand for our generators across the many sectors which we supply - including the events and film industry, petrochemical, power generation, general construction and many other sectors too.
In order to address this demand, we have added 52 new Atlas Copco generators to our rental fleet, from 60 kVA right up to 500 kVA," says Rand-Air’s Fleet Manager, Craig Swart.
“This additional investment was more a fleet expansion than a renewal. We do however regularly monitor our fleet to ensure all equipment complies with the very highest standards of safety, quality and reliability - for which Rand-Air has been known since our inception in 1973," he adds.
“The addition of 52 new generators is also a commitment to our customers to ensure that they have prime power available as and when they need it," says Rand-Air Marketing and Communications Manager Byrone Thorne.
Thorne explains that, while Rand-Air does supply customers with generators for standby power – for example during power outages or emergencies – the company mainly supplies customers with ‘prime power’ or generators that will be used as a primary power source and not just for standby or backup power.
In terms of new features, Rand-Air has introduced an updated controller so that its generators are able to communicate and operate synergistically in parallel or in series.
“We have invested considerably to ensure that we always provide our customers with the very latest in technology. This is particularly relevant to those with high amperage requirements: for example, running two 500 kVA in series to obtain a combined 1000 kVA output,” says Swart.
In addition – and as an exceptionally useful accessory - the new units now feature distribution board (DB) as an integral part of the generator trailer. Instead of having a separate stand-alone DB, this is now permanently mounted on the generator trailer, which gives Rand- Air’s customers a greater level of convenience.
“Features such as the updated controllers and generator-mounted DB also bear testimony to our continual investment in customising or modifying our equipment to better serve the needs of our customers,” Swart emphasises.
Rand-Air offers prime power (and standby power if required) to virtually every sector of industry from the automotive, chemical, construction, exploration drilling, electronics, food and beverage, pulp and paper to the mining, oil and gas and petrochemical sectors.
“Lately, the demand from the event management sector has really escalated," explains Thorne, adding that, as events are by nature one-off occasions, the importance of reliable prime power is mission-critical in this sector. “We have been offering a similar service to South Africa's burgeoning film industry for some time now too," he adds.
Another key area for the use of Rand-Air’s generators is during periodic industrial operational shutdowns, such as in the paper and pulp, mining and petrochemical industries.
“These shutdowns are hugely expensive and critical to the future operation of the business concerned. Reliable power is therefore of equally critical importance to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently,” Swart explains.
“The level of confidence which our customers place in our equipment - and the 24 x 7 x 365 availability and reliability thereof – is very important to us," continues Thorne. He adds that Rand- Air has a highly competent service team of 43 field technicians, using the latest digital technology to ensure that maintenance is done timeously and efficiently.
“Our team works hard to ensure that whenever our customers rent an item of equipment from Rand-Air, they can do so with complete trust and confidence, so that they can focus on their business and allow us to supply their portable air and prime power requirements.
Ultimately, safety, quality and customer service excellence really ‘powers’ all that we do," he concludes.