Dalkia Industry CZ a.s. recently completed a multi-year process of replacing their compressed air equipment with latest technology from Atlas Copco. The modernized compressed air system offers higher safety, lower energy consumption along with a sophisticated control system, energy recovery capability and low maintenance.
In 2005, when Dalkia Industry CZ replaced the first turbocompressor at one of their mines, it literally set off an avalanche. "In just six years, Atlas Copco machines replaced the old turbocompressors on all of Dalkia’s 9 active mines," says Francesco Pinna, General Manager of Atlas Copco Compressors, Czech Republic. The 20th and last compressor has recently been ceremonially put into operation. Atlas Copco delivered the equipment as complete and integrated packages, equipped with all components, internal pipe systems and connections. Annually, Dalkia can produce 2.4 billion cubic meters of compressed air for the miners there.
"The main requirement is large and stable output, a pressure of 4 to 4.5 bar at a temperature below 60°C," says Laurent Tupinier, CEO of Dalkia Industry CZ, adding: "For work in mine shafts, compressed air is absolutely key for operational and safety reasons.
Lower cost, less emissions
All units, Type ZH 10000 and ZH 15000, are water-cooled, two-stage centrifugal air compressors and connected to central controllers which, if needed, alternate operation of individual compressors and monitor the entire compressor station. This safeguards that the compressors produce only the actual needed volume and unnecessary running times are avoided. The results are drastic savings of energy cost and lower CO 2 emissions. Thanks to their energy recovery system, the cooling water of the compressors heats up the water used in the miner's showers, which additionally saves energy cost.
According to Dalkia, the new equipment minimizes maintenance time as the old equipment demanded constant attention and today it’s enough to inspect the compressors once or twice a shift, which only takes several minutes.
Compressed air - the safest medium
The Atlas Copco machines support miners working as far as a kilometer below the ground. When tunneling passages that air can't get through, ventilation pipes with fans are needed to exhaust not only used air, but also some methane at the same time. And compressed air is the safest propulsion medium for fans. Besides fans, in mine operation other equipment is run by compressed air, such as drilling machines, transport gates, pick hammers, hand tools and much more.