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100% contaminant and oil-free air makes for good medicine

February 21, 2019

In the process of manufacturing pharmaceuticals, every input into the final products has to be scrupulously hygienic and sterile, from the start to the end of the manufacturing process.

We are proud to have been able to contribute to South Africa’s pharmaceutical manufacturing industry this year. The company supplied an Atlas Copco ZT315VSD oil-free air compressor to Adcock Ingram, a major South African pharmaceutical manufacturer, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange which manufactures, markets and distributes a wide range of healthcare products and is a key supplier to both the private and public sectors.


Rand-Air (Atlas Copco South Africa) Marketing Manager Byrone Thorne explains how this came about: Towards the end of last year, Rand-Air's Business Development Manager for Long Term Rental, Henry Fourie approached the customer, as the pharmaceutical industry is an important vertical target sector for us. He established that, at Adcock Ingram’s Steriles and Critical Care Manufacturing facility in Aeroton, there was a requirement for a standby compressor."


Adcock Ingram’s Aeroton facility plays a key role in South Africa’s pharmaceutical supply chain, producing a range of intravenous fluids, renal dialysis products, LVPs (large volume parenterals) and SVPs (small volume parenterals); as well as medical-grade sheeting for steriles and blood collection bags.


“ In spite of some competitor competition, Henry pressed home the advantage of our successful track record in terms of the provision of reliability, safety, quality and superior customer service - and won the order ”

Byrone Thorne , Rand-Air Marketing Manager

The pharmaceuticals facility currently has its own two centrifugal compressors, which supply oil-free air. This high-purity oil-free compressed air is fed into an extensive stainless steel piping installation which prevents rust formation, oil carry-over or other contamination. The Atlas Copco ZT315VSD with its 1,557 cfm, 8.6 bar supply is eminently suitable for this application as it supplies completely contaminant- and oil-free air, Thorne adds.


In this instance, we did not supply a dryer as Adcock Ingram’s takes the feed from our compressor through their own in-house dryer.


While the ZT315VSD is a standby unit, in the event of an operational issue with one of the in-house centrifugal compressors, it would take over the supply of compressed air with minimum disruption to the facility’s manufacturing capability. The unit is well-suited for the rigorous 24/7 duty cycle required by the customer; and its output is critical in ensuring uninterrupted production.


An absolutely reliable supply of completely contaminant and oil-free compressed air is essential for pharmaceutical high-speed mixing processes

... and also for blending, packaging and the in-house water plant which produces the water, combined with active ingredients used to make drugs that are injected into our bodies. This water is also used as the final rinsing agent for any component that comes in contact with the drug such as vials, ampules, caps and stoppers.


With the Atlas Copco ZT315VSD, the lead-time from order to delivery was a comparatively short period of 14 weeks, and the unit was modified as per the customer’s requirements.


While the customer has the responsibility to make sure that the compressor is suitably located and secure, our high-quality service and maintenance is all part of the package. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that the customer experiences any issues, we will be on hand to supply a replacement unit in the interim. “So it really is a hassle-free service,” asserts Thorne.


“ We were pleased with the way the installation went and are happy to have this extra standby capacity. This is very much in line with Rand-Air’s rental ethos, where the customer is given the freedom to concentrate on their core business while leaving the responsibility for the provision of essential, contaminant and oil-free compressed air to us. ”

Johan Bredenkamp , Adcock Ingram Process Improvement Project Engineer

For more information please contact:


Atlas Copco Group
Great ideas accelerate innovation. At Atlas Copco we have been turning industrial ideas into business-critical benefits since 1873. By listening to our customers and knowing their needs, we deliver value and innovate with the future in mind.

Atlas Copco is based in Stockholm, Sweden with customers in more than 180 countries and about 37 000 employees. Revenues of BSEK 95/ 9 BEUR in 2018. Learn more at www.atlascopcogroup.com.

Specialty Rental is a division within Atlas Copco’s Power Technique business area. It serves customers in all industry segments around the world with temporary air, power, flow, steam and nitrogen rental solutions. The specialty rental services are offered under several brands. The divisional headquarters is located in Belgium.

About Rand-Air


With 11 branches and agencies spread across Southern Africa, and eight in South Africa, Rand-Air continues to expand its footprint to service a diverse market. Since 1973, Rand-Air has been driven by an ethos to exceed customer expectation and satisfaction. This is complemented by a product offering that adheres to the highest quality standards in the industry. Rand-Air’s staff products portfolio includes oil-free compressors, industrial air compressors, diesel compressors, electric air compressors (all screw compressors), diesel generators and lighting towers.


As the market leader in portable air compressors and generator rental, Rand-Air upholds its reputation through regular training and upskilling in business related and product-specific matters.


Rand-Air is part of the Atlas Copco group and is a Level 4 B-BBEE rated company.