Compressors tool up power

Compressors are one of the most important pieces of equipment for any construction site from general road construction through to more technically challenging high-rise projects. The units themselves power a wide range of tools including jackhammers, cleaning equipment, painting and sandblasting.

  • E-Mail
By  Colin Foreman Published  August 7, 2004

Compressors tool up power|~|Compressors Body.jpg|~|Portable compressors are found on almost every construction site|~|Compressors are not only used by the construction industry. “Compressors are used extensively in marine repair business and the oil and gas sector.” says Pat Fallon, general manager, Byrne Equipment Rental. “Their uses for these versatile items of plant will vary depending on the market sector but at the moment the majority of the demand for compressors in the UAE comes from the construction industry,” he adds. With so many projects now underway, and more in the pipeline, the market for compressors in the UAE is growing. “About 400 new units were supplied into the market last year, and I expect there will be 400 to 500 units supplied this year,” says Hussain. “A compressor has a life of 15 to 20 years, so the established main contractors already have compressors so they often do not need buy,” adds Hussain. The market for rented machines is also busy. “The rental market is extremely buoyant at the moment and we at Byrne Equipment Rental have extended our fleet considerably over the past 12 months adding a number of the new Ingersoll Rand 800cfm and the larger Sullair 900cfm/350psi units to our fleet. The spot- hire market, where you have short-term hires of two or three days is good at the moment, and unusually for this time of year the long-term hire business is also strong. Because of this we are working at substantially higher utilisation than normal at this time of the year,” says Fallon. Although mobile compressors are the most commonly used, the industry relies on both portable and stationary units for its pneumatic power. “Stationary units are generally used for larger projects where they can be used to power a number of tools or a workshop,” says Ahmed Hussain, regional sales manager, Kaeser Compressors. For example, a number of large stationary units are currently in use at Dubai International Airport expansion along with an even greater number of mobile units. One supplier alone has 50 portable units at the airport. In general the construction industry uses 180 cfm, 250 cfm, 400 cfm, 750 cfm and 800 cfm mobile compressors. “The popular unit sizes are the 180s and the 250s, because they are used for a wide range of frequently performed tasks on basic projects like road construction, where they are used for cutting and digging. Larger units are required for blasting because they require more air,” says Hussain. “The larger units like the 900 cfm units are more commonly used on the oilfields where large volumes of air are required to clean pipelines, flare off or simply to power the on-rig equipment” says Fallon. “ Although the manufacturers continue to launch new products, compressors have not radically changed over the years. “The machines today are essentially the same as what they have always been. There have been no radical changes when it comes to product development,” says Fallon. One area where there has been considerable development over recent years is the application of computer technology. As with all construction equipment, manufacturers are able to improve efficiencies by adding computer controlled management systems that monitor a machines performance. These systems have to be specially tested for this region because of the extremely high ambient temperatures. “Computer systems in this region have to be able to withstand extremely high ambient temperatures of well over 50oC” says Hussain. Such systems are now widely used for large stationary units that are operated by trained technicians. A number of manufacturers now have training facilities in the region to help operators receive the training for the latest products. The smaller portable compressors have so far not been affected by computer technology as manufacturers strive to keep the machines as simple as possible for there users. This is important because the smaller units drive standard work tools like jackhammers and are typically operated by general labourers with little to no technical training. Bearing this in mind it is likely that portable compressors will remain electro-mechanically operated for quite some time; especially in this market. “I don’t think that computer technology will be incorporated into portable compressors in the future. This is because the people that work with them are not highly trained. They need a machine that you just need to push a button and it works,” says Hussain. Another area that is more likely to see more development is improved stopping and starting. For example remote stopping and starting is no used to make the units easier for one operator to use and unlike computer technology does not require special training.||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code