Atlas Copco VSD air compressor boosts productivity for commercial vehicle repair specialist

When a leading Scottish truck and van repair specialist replaced its 11-year-old fixed-speed workshop compressor with a new Atlas Copco VSD+ unit the company not only halved its energy costs but also boosted its productivity.

McKinnon & Forbes is a family-run authorised IVECO van dealership based in Paisley that also repairs and services HGV trucks, vans and private vehicles. The company employs over 30 staff at its 14,000 sq. ft. headquarters, which is devoted to vehicle repair and body-shop operations and serves many large fleet leasing groups in Scotland.

Compressed air is a vital utility for the company: supplying air tools and equipment within its three large service pits, post ramp and six standard repair bays; plus, a spray booth and two paint baking ovens.

A sales engineer from Atlas Copco approached McKinnon & Forbes to offer them an iiTrak system energy audit to check the performance of its fixed-speed compressor system. The results of the assessment revealed that improvements to the existing compressed air network were possible, and that the company could save over 55 per cent in annual energy costs by installing a GA11VSD+FF screw compressor, which automatically adjusts its motor and element speed to match the workshop’s variable compressed air demand.

A few months later, when the company’s original compressor approached the end of its working life, the Atlas Copco unit was installed. Energy efficiency savings of over £2,000 a year was not the only benefit to be derived from the new set up. The small footprint and quiet operation of the compressor enabled it to be sited within the workshop, thereby overcoming the excessive condensation problems emanating from the externally located pipework of the old system. Furthermore, the point-of-use relocation meant residual heat from the new compressor could be used to provide added comfort to the working environment.

The full feature GA11VSD+FF oil-injected, rotary screw compressor, with integrated refrigerant dryer, is powered by Atlas Copco’s own in-house designed interior permanent magnet IPM motor. This technology has turned the compressed air industry on its head by redesigning the conventional layout of a typical air compressor. Instead of the normal horizontal configuration, the unit has an upright, vertical low footprint layout designed to save floor and workspace while improving maintenance access even if placed against a wall. Steven McKinnon, director of McKinnon & Forbes commented: “I would recommend Atlas Copco to anyone, even if they were not directly looking to change their compressor. The information I received helped not only to drive down my costs and save space, but also helped bring me right up to date with the latest legislation regarding the treatment and disposal of compressor condensate.”