Atlas Copco expands CustomDesign engineering facility

28 October 2010

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Atlas Copco expands CustomDesign engineering facilityAtlas Copco Compressors has made major investment in its UK CustomDesign engineering facility based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. As one of the strategically located CustomDesign engineering centres, the UK workshop now plays a major role in the supply of bespoke systems across the globe. The end products are modular 'plug and play' packaged systems, custom-built and shipped with all components - such as compressors, air treatment, dryers, filters, air receivers and control systems - on a single base frame for integration with land-based or offshore process installations.

Each project is unique, with examples of bespoke projects including: a skid-mounted assembly of compressor, blowers and booster for a hydrocracker plant in Russia; a containerised multiple compressor installation operating in the desert environment of the Gulf; a compressor and dryer package for a methanol plant in Trinidad; and a compressor, dryer, pumps and cooler installation on the northern Pacific shore, where ambient temperatures vary from -40 to +40degC.

The 800m2 workshop area operates two ten-tonne overhead cranes and one five-tonne unit with a dedicated sunken load bay for road transportation of packaged assemblies. The installation includes a cooling water supply and a permanently installed 1000kVA generator to provide power for workshop testing at 50 or 60Hz. It is important for the oil and gas industries to have all equipment-testing carried out within the workshop before shipping. On-site commissioning time is, therefore, minimised for the customer.

On completion of a custom-engineering project the skid-mounted packages are transported to UK sites or to overseas operations, normally via Tilbury, the closest sea port. The exception to this rule has been the Pluto project for the production of LNG (liquefied natural gas) in Western Australia; the compressor packaged unit was too large to be completed and shipped from the workshop so was assembled by the Atlas Copco engineering team on the dockside in Hull, from where it was transported 12,000 miles to the customer's site.

In-house expertise

The experience and skill base of Atlas Copco Compressors' CustomDesign engineering workshop covers a wide variety of specialist areas, in particular equipment that is designed specifically for operation in classified hazardous electrical environments. It also offers expertise in marine installations, PLC control systems and operation in extreme hot or cold, dust-laden or corrosive environments. It has experience of refinery service applications, as well as that of land-based or offshore operations involving process air, instrument air, starting air, emergency backup air supplies, gas purification and on-site nitrogen generation.

With considerable experience in developing bespoke compressed air systems, a UK team of over 30 people is involved with project management, procurement, assembly, test inspection and subcontracting procedures, supported by well established quality control and documentation processes.

Essential to each project is that the equipment package can be maintained by Atlas Copco personnel as part of a local service operation. The global aftermarket service employs 3600 field service engineers in 160 countries. Electronic archiving of all design and production documents, as well as parts and user manuals, means that the local service operation has ready access to all relevant data throughout the life of the installation.

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