Atlas Copco VSD+ compressor improves production efficiency

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Natural Stone Surfaces, one of the UK’s leading quartz and granite worktop manufacturers, chose Atlas Copco to upgrade its essential compressed air supply and has improved its productivity and saved over £4750 in annual energy costs as a result.

Eamonn Farrelly, director at Natural Stone Surfaces, explains: “Our commitment to continually improving our growing manufacturing facility put us in a position where we had increased the number of production machines and also amplified the number of hand finishing staff within the plant. One of the major requirements for these additions was a higher volume of compressed air to enable us keep up with demand.”

The original air supply was provided by three fixed-speed compressors that were all running continually at full capacity. Farrelly adds: “We needed to reduce the cost of running these three compressors and were looking to replace them with a single machine. My first thoughts of choosing a new compressor were to turn to Atlas Copco, as it was a company I was aware of as a leader in the industry.”

The choice of supplier was also influenced by Atlas Copco’s environmental credentials, which echoed those of the company. Natural Stone Surfaces is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, maximising recycling and reducing waste. In addition, the company’s workshop and production machinery utilise recycled water that is cleaned on site.

To determine the optimum compressor system for the company, Atlas Copco conducted an iiTrak system energy audit to monitor Natural Stones Surfaces’ air demands during 1 week. The results of the assessment revealed improvements to the existing compressed air network were distinctly possible, and that the company could save over £4750 in energy costs by opting for a Variable Speed Driven (VSD) compressor.

As a result, a GA18VSD+FF full feature compressor with an integral refrigerant dryer, together with pipework, ducting and filtration, was installed. The variable speed rotary screw compressor supplies 7 bar high-quality air at a rate of 14.7–61 l/s (31.2–131 cfm). This is sufficient to meet Natural Stone Surfaces’ compressed air supply demands, which is essential to power a variety of production equipment. The company’s current factory inventory includes five vacuum lifts: two for manoeuvring slabs of granite, marble and quartz on to saw beds, another for loading and unloading an automatic inline polishing machine, and two for manoeuvring cut pieces of stone and quartz in the hand finishing department. Other applications for compressed air include: a battery of hand polishing tools, CNC cutting saws and inline automated straight edge polishers.

The success of the project is summed up by Eamonn Farrelly: “From my initial inquiry to the day of installation, I have to say the experience was flawless. The after-sales service and back up has also been impeccable. In addition, we have the benefit of the compressor featuring Atlas Copco’s SMARTLINK remote monitoring system, which notifies us of any maintenance issues. Moreover, as we have grown another 40 per cent in the 10 months since the initial enquiry, we have recently ordered an additional VSD+ compressor. The only difference this time is I didn’t have to shop around; there was only one phone called I needed to make!”

Founded in 2001, Natural Stone Surfaces occupies a 25,000 sq ft. state of the art manufacturing facility in Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire. It is an enterprise that has made considerable investment in the latest computer controlled CNC technology. This approach allows for a wide range of profiling techniques and finishes to be applied to the company’s versatile output of quartz and granite worktops. Raw materials for its products are sourced from all over the world, then cut and finished by an experienced team of craftsmen. Every item supplied is finely polished, cleaned and sealed prior to despatch from the factory. This ensures every worktop surface provides customers with maximum satisfaction and enduring quality.

Natural Stone Surfaces’ customer base includes many kitchen studios across the UK and other European countries. The company’s commitment to quality and attention to detail has contributed to its continuing growth over the years. This has resulted from working with some of the industry’s most prestigious kitchen manufacturers and interior designers; all of whom demand an efficient service at a competitive price.

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