Atlas Copco’s E-Air V1100 Variable Speed Drive (VSD) electric compressors are helping Mexico-based manganese producer, Autlán, improve the effectiveness of its ore sorting process by providing clean, dry compressed air whose temperature doesn’t exceed 20°C above ambient, the company says.
Compressed air is an essential component in the production of manganese nodules, with one such area being the company’s mineral sorting machine, which helps to classify the manganese ore. It blasts air at stones deemed to be waste, separating them from stones with high manganese content.
To do this, it needs clean, dry compressed air whose temperature doesn’t exceed 20°C above ambient. The amount of free air (FAD) needed to do this task is 45 Nm3/min at 150 psi.
Atlas Copco Power Technique Mexico worked closely with Autlán to understand and define the optimum airflow for the process. It advised Autlán that a constant flow of air was not required because the air shots were not continuous (only when stones with low manganese grades needed to be separated). Because of this intermittent requirement, Autlán could specify a compressor that met its FAD requirements but saved energy and lowered costs.
The suggested solution was to install three E-Air V1100 VSD mobile compressors: two compressors for production and one for stand-by purposes. These electric mobile air compressors with VSD technology are built to operate in harsh and outdoor conditions. Because of their robustness, Autlán did not need any special installation or compressor room, saving money on civil works, Atlas Copco says.
Atlas Copco’s E-Air VSD comes with the standard spillage-free frame that offers 110% fluid containment, providing reassurance against possible spillages on site. This was a key feature for Autlán, avoiding the possibility of polluting the soil of the mine, which is strongly regulated.
Moreover, the compressors come equipped with potted motor windings to prevent dust and water ingress, an IP65-rated controller, an IP67-rated water-cooled drive, single-sheet steel, non-welded undercarriage, and a three-layer anti-corrosion paint system, the company explained.
As the compressed air quality is vital for this project, Atlas Copco recommended adding its UD+ filter after the cooler to ensure the air guns didn’t clog. The UD+ filter is a patented design, two-in-one coalescing filter that takes out oil aerosols, dust and water, providing clean compressed air with hardly any pressure drop or efficiency loss. Moreover, this system is a space-saving option compared with traditional filter packages, according to Atlas Copco.
Julio Ponce, Sales Engineer & Air Master for Atlas Copco in Mexico and Central America, says: “The E-Air VSD provides Autlán with a reliable flow of compressed air without any CO2 emissions.”
The E-Air’s integrated VSD-driven permanent magnet electric motor only requires low power for start-up, so there is no need to oversize the power supply. The VSD and permanent magnet motor also make an important contribution to efficiency. Combined, they offer the best-in-class efficiency at partial load and ensure that power consumption closely follows the air demand trend, according to Atlas Copco.
These electric mobile air compressors with VSD range include the Atlas Copco’s PACE system (Pressure Adjusted through Cognitive Electronics). This enables users to control the pressure between 5 and 12 bar, in precise 0.1 bar increments, thereby adjusting the flow to the optimal level for their application. Because of this, one compressor can handle various jobs that previously would have required multiple units.
The E-Air VSD features the Smart Air Xc4004 controller. This increases the efficiency of operations by providing insights and features in an easy-to-use interface that allows a simultaneous view of several parameters, including pressure and flow. Additionally, top structured alarm settings allow for operation monitoring.
The E-Air VSD range is also equipped as standard with an after-cooler, providing high-quality air for applications like sandblasting.