Business: From no Air to Rand-Air in 48 Hours
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Rand-Air, a leading South African plant-hire company supplying specialised compressed air services, was recently called upon to supply emergency support, when a major centrifugal compressor failure at the President Steyn Gold Mine gold mine in the Free State was threatening to lead to a major compromise in productivity.
This is according to Louwrens Erasmus, General Manager for Rand-Air.
“The Rand-Air team is used to reacting swiftly and efficiently when there is a problem of this nature. It is part of our service ethic to customers that when a crisis like this arises, we will do our best to assist – and in this case, our team certainly upheld this ethos,” says Erasmus.
Rand-Air specified 16 oil-injected compressors to meet the challenge. The compressed air for the mine is used to power a wide range of pneumatic equipment, hence the need for oil-flooded air. Sourcing the equipment for the job was not a problem, since Rand-Air has 17 outlets in South Africa. The logistics of getting the right machines to the correct location however, required co-operation and quick thinking.
“We pride ourselves on offering 24/7 support,” says Ceu Moreira, Area Manager Free State, North West, Northern Cape and Lesotho responsible for the job. “A large emergency rental project such as this is a huge logistical challenge; because we not only have to bring in the right equipment, but we have to ensure correct positioning, installation and to keep it operating at the required capacity for the duration of the contract.”
Rand-Air managed to source all the required equipment, and arranged for it to be transported, delivered, installed and commissioned as quickly as possible.
Says Perie Smith, manager of number 3 shaft for President Steyn Gold Mine: “Within 48 hours, the mine was equipped with all it needed, in order to resume full production. The rental installation proved itself within days, and we decided to extend the rental period to four months, to allow for extra maintenance on the fixed plant and to avoid any impact on productivity.
Despite the challenges of the situation, we were very impressed that Rand-Air were nonetheless able to render this excellent service.” Amidst a shortage of portable compressors Rand-Air were still able to
render excellent service.
“A short-notice project such as this calls for quick planning, and this is where our logistics department is invaluable,” continues Ceu. “As a company, Rand-Air has worked hard to ensure we can respond quickly to emergency demands, with a manageable level of surplus capacity at each of our branches. The key is to be able to bring this capacity together, so we can meet a demand for a large quantity of compressed air without delay to the customer.”
Rand-Air's General Manager Louwrens Erasmus concludes: “It is gratifying to see how the Rand-Air staff engage the full spectrum of resources, both human and technology, in order to meet the expectations of our customers. We know how critical delays can be to production, and consequently our ability to get the right equipment to the right place - at the right time - is one of the aspects of our business that we are proud of, and will continue to improve and refine.”
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