Electric dreams

Electric dreams

Electric dreams

CPN was invited to Atlas Copco’s ‘Journey to a Sustainable Future’ event in Antwerp, Belgium where a world’s first was unveiled amidst discussion about how best to tackle the transformation to a climate friendly, low-carbon future.

In the latest sign of its progressive shift to more sustainable equipment, Atlas Copco has expanded its portable electric product portfolio to include an all-new battery- driven portable screw air compressor. The B-Air 185-12 is, according to the company, the first of its kind within the global industrial marketplace and represents a major milestone in Atlas Copco’s roadmap towards a sustainable future.

“We are committed to accelerating the transition away from carbon dependency and towards renewable energy sources,” explained Maarten Vermeiren, product marketing manager of Sustainability and Digitalization at Atlas Copco, Portable Air Division. “By introducing the first battery portable screw compressor, we want to play our part in enabling a sustainable transformation and help build a better tomorrow – for society and the planet alike.”

Clean power

The B-Air 185-12 features 5-12 bar of pressure, a stable flow rate of 5.4-3.7 m3/min and 55-kWh battery storage capacity. With power delivered from its onboard power pack, in operation a fully charged unit is independent of the need for fuel or a local power source to plug into and has the capability to perform for up to a full typical work shift. In turn, it provides both portability and productivity for those working on sites where regular access to electricity is not practical.

Making the switch from an internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric motor brings with it a host of benefits, including less downtime and maintenance requirements. With far fewer moving (and therefore wearing) parts compared to a diesel-powered unit, the electric B-Air 185-12 only needs to be serviced every 2,000 hours, as opposed to 500 hours for a typical ICE powered unit. The machine’s state-of-the-art variable speed drive (VSD) and permanent magnet motor reduces the total cost of ownership, by automatically adjusting the motor speed to match air demand in real-time and increasing energy efficiency by up to 70%. The machine has an expected lifetime of 40,000 hours, powered by the battery pack which, it is claimed, is good for 1,800 days use.

Through Atlas Copco’s rigorous proving process, which includes rapid aging testing under harsh conditions and climactic chamber testing, the B-Air 185-12 has been proven to perform optimally even in the most extreme of climatic conditions – ranging from +45°C (+113°F) to a glacial -25°C (-13°F); and 4,500 metres (14,764 ft) above sea level. The unit is also designed to excel in densely populated urban areas where emission and noise pollution are tightly restricted, thanks to it producing no local emissions and having low noise levels. The quiet nature of the compressor enables operators to work without noise distraction, enhancing both productivity and safety.

The future is electric

The new battery-powered unit marks a vital step, says the company, in the electrification of its product offering, and is just one of many developments the company currently has in store to deliver sustainable solutions to its customers. The unit came to life thanks to the long-term partnership with Perslucht Wilda, Atlas Copco’s distributor in The Netherlands for more than 40 years.

Bert Derom, president of Atlas Copco Portable Air Division, believes  the B-Air 185-12 is a tangible symbol of the business’ commitment to delivering real-world solutions to help customers and their customers adopt a more sustainable way of working, and to turning the tide on climate change. “ We ultimately want to offer a sustainable alternative to every user and every application, and this new battery powered unit is a leap closer to that goal.”

The B-Air 185-12 is scheduled to go into production in September, using a compact and modular concept with multiple autonomy variants.

The B-Air 185-12 by numbers

Technical data Value  Atlas Copco B-Air 185-12
Working pressure bar (g) 5-7-10,3-12
Free Air Delivery m³/min 5,3-4,8-4,6-3,7
Free Air Delivery cfm 185-173-161-130
Operating ambient temperature range (standard) ºC -25ºC / +45ºC
Installed motor power kW (Hp) 26(35)
Electricity requirements
Input voltage V 380-480
Rated frequency Hz 50/60
Undercarriage (L x W x H) mm 3762 x 1593 x 2100
Undercarriage weight kg 1500


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