Manu Claes, spokesperson for portable energy equipment at Chicago Pneumatic, examines some of the latest developments in portable compressor and generator technology.
Portable compressor and generator technology has advanced a lot in recent years, especially in the UK market, where contractors are becoming increasingly canny when it comes to purchasing decisions.
For contractors, key things they are looking for from portable equipment include versatility, toughness, reliability and ease of movement and operation.
Indeed, with the latest types of portable compressor, contractors can now choose between different pressure settings, which opens up the possibility to use the same piece of equipment for different applications.
For example, with our recently launched CPS 11-10 and CPS 11-14 compressors, we are providing contractors with the flexibility to choose between two different pressure settings per compressor. The CPS 11-10 can be set at either 7 or 10 bar, while the CPS 11-14 can be set at a pressure of 12 or 14 bar, providing contractors with the benefits of two machines in one package.
The demand for versatility also applies to mobile and stationary power generators, which contractors rely upon to support a wide range of applications on construction sites, from powering electrical power tools to lighting and site office electrification.
When working to time sensitive deadlines, ensuring a reliable and continuous power supply, with high levels of safety is of paramount importance. For this reason, contractors are advised to only select generators that include reputable engine brands, and which are quick and easy to maintain, in order to reduce costly downtime.
Another key consideration is toughness, with contractors wanting machines that are robust enough to deal with demanding construction site conditions, but which can also be depended upon to work continuously without breaking down.
For this reason, many newer types of portable compressors are being equipped with tough polyethylene canopies, which are proven to be as durable as steel without the downside of dents, rusting and added weight. This includes our recently launched Red Rock compressor range.
To show just how tough the polyethylene canopies are, we threw everything conceivable at them during the testing phase, from bricks to logs, to assure contractors that the compressors are highly protected.
The use of polyethylene canopies also makes compressors remarkably lightweight, making them easier to transport both on and between worksites.
With our Red Rock range, all models weigh in at less than 750kg, and therefore can be easily towed by a standard passenger car. The compact design of the new compressors means that they take up less space on site, and can be transported on a single truck.
Two models in the range even include a built in generator, yet still come in under the 750kg mark.
Portability and toughness are also key considerations when it comes to generators. The need to deploy generators at multiple points on construction sites means they have to be easy to transport.
For this reason, buyers should look for generators that feature integrated forklift slots and a lifting beam as standard, so they can be quickly moved across site. Versatility is a key attribute to look for, and the best mobile generators can be equipped with a variety of tow bar and coupling options.
For added protection, generators should ideally feature rugged frames for added impact resistance. With our CPDG generator range, we also offer an optional galvanised skid to add extra robustness to the base-frame of the generators.
This latter feature is specifically designed for applications where the machine will reside on uneven surfaces, or, if needs be, moved across the ground over short distances.
For added peace of mind, compressors and generators are now being designed to be even faster and easier to maintain than before.
Leading manufacturers are developing compressors and generators with easy serviceability as a priority. The latest portable compressors should take minutes, rather than hours, to service and require an oil change a maximum of once per year; with no special tools required.
For generators specifically, large doors are preferable for easy access and the maintenance process should be simple to follow.
With a view to the future, compressor and generator manufacturers are also looking at ways to offer contractors greater control over their portable equipment.
With our latest equipment featuring intuitive control systems, we are taking a step in this direction, but are also looking at ways to support our customers further in the near future, whether it be through remote monitoring or GPS tracking.