Technology, Energy Efficiency Maintenance

Three Key Factors for Low Pressure Compressed Air in Mining


Mining operations work round the clock in conditions that require sturdy equipment. The mining environment can be harsh and pace of work unrelenting, so reliable machines are a must. Drills, loaders, haul trucks and every other piece of equipment needs to be ready to operate at any time, and the same holds true for blowers and low-pressure compressors.

The entire mining process, from exploration and ore processing to smelting and refining, uses some form of compressed air. For applications that require large flows of air at lower pressures, blowers and low-pressure compressors are uniquely suited to meet flow and pressure requirements.

But when selecting rotating equipment, not all machines are equal. Below are the three key factors to consider when selecting for rotating equipment, including low-pressure applications, for mining:

  1. Reliability – This is the most important factor when selecting equipment for the 24/7 operation of mining processes. Down equipment can mean lost production, and lost production means lost revenue. The environmental conditions in some mines will push the limits of rotating equipment, which places even greater emphasis on having reliable equipment that can withstand the demands of the application.
  2. Efficiency – Efficiency is key in any process that has high duty cycles for equipment. Electricity costs over the lifetime of compressors and blowers will be several times the capital cost of the equipment itself, so every percentage gained in energy efficiency means lower operating costs for mining customers and better operating margins.
  3. Minimal maintenance and service – In addition to being reliable and efficient, machinery needs to have minimal maintenance requirements. Remote locations restrict access to machinery, and frequent maintenance can quickly incur large costs. When a more serious issue arises, it is critical that parts and services personnel are available to get the equipment running again. By selecting a machine that has minimal service requirements, mining operators won’t lose valuable hours to unexpected downtime.

Atlas Copco carries a range of reliable, efficient and easy to maintain products ideal for mining applications, including the ZM multistage blower, ZS rotary screw blower, ZB high-speed turbo blower and the ZE/ZA lower pressure compressor. These pieces of equipment are used in various mining processes, such as lagoon aeration, leaching, pneumatic conveying (positive pressure and vacuum), flotation cells, combustion air and coal bed methane.

Check back next week as we examine the best equipment for mining applications and the benefits they bring to the processes. Do you use Atlas Copco blowers or low-pressure compressors in your applications? Let us know in the comments below!