Atlas Copco puts the air into Monarch’s aircraft maintenance

A compressed air system from Atlas Copco is playing an integral role in supporting maintenance procedures carried out by Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL) within its multi-million pound, giant hangar facility at Birmingham International Airport.

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MAEL is the engineering division of The Monarch Group. Its 110,000 sq ft state-of-the-art facility in Birmingham complements the company’s existing engineering operations at London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports, and supports MAEL’s ability to provide both existing and new customers with first class maintenance, repair and overhaul services. Compressed air plays an essential role in aircraft maintenance procedures so special consideration of the air supply access locations, such as positioning flexible hose reels and siting floor channels to limit clutter and allow proximity to the point of use, was all part of the original system design and procurement process. This approach has enabled optimum utilisation of floor space to accommodate simultaneous maintenance operations on a mix of wide-bodied and narrow-bodied aircraft to be carried out at any time.

The Atlas Copco compressor system, supplied and installed by the company’s premier distributor, Air Kraft Ltd, based in Coventry, comprises two GA30 VSD FF full-feature, rotary screw compressors and ancillaries. These compressors, each with an integrated refrigerant dryer, supply 7bar quality air for specific applications ranging from combination with air movers for the ventilation and emptying of aircraft fuel tanks, to the operation of air tools for structural fastening and assembly tasks and the blind riveting of fuselage panels.

A particular feature of the system is the 300 metre, multi-drop air ring main, constructed from Atlas Copco’s AIRnet modular piping system. The pipework is made from robust, lightweight, powder-coated aluminium tube and designed for easy, low-cost installation with a large selection of engineered polymer fittings. Readily adaptable, AIRnet low-friction, seamless pipework is corrosion free so it minimises pressure drop in the system and effectively contributes to energy efficiency.

Commenting on the MAEL’s purchase decision:

“ We were sufficiently impressed with the performance of the Atlas Copco compressed air solutions already installed at our Luton maintenance operation that there was no hesitation in specifying the system for this milestone development with complete confidence. ”

John Swords , Team Leader of Maintenance, Planning and Control at Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited

The MAEL facility in Birmingham can accommodate almost every aircraft type in its two bays. It incorporates industry-leading design and build standards and is one of the first to have the capacity for Boeing 787 Dreamliner maintenance, with sufficient capacity for other wide body aircraft, such as the Boeing 777, 747 and Airbus A350. The hangar is large enough to accommodate two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft or 10 narrow-body aircraft and contains a number of component-repair and back shops. The dimensions are impressive; the vast building, covering around 2.5 acres is big enough to house four full-size football pitches, 2,400 Minis or 450 double decker buses.

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Editor’s Notes:

Air Kraft Ltd, an Atlas Copco premier distributor, has provided a variety of compressed air, fluid power and energy saving solutions since 1993, including leak detection, pressure reduction, compressor control systems, compressor energy audits and energy recovery.

Atlas Copco Compressors is the GB sales and service operation of the Atlas Copco Group providing oil-free and oil-injected stationary air compressors,  gas and process compressors, turbo expanders, nitrogen generators, air treatment equipment (such as compressed air dryers, coolers, and filters) air management systems, and custom designed engineered packages. Atlas Copco Compressors’ sales and distribution network means that specialist compressed air advice and service is always within easy reach. A team of over 80 service engineers operates across the country, to ensure maximum running efficiency and minimum downtime at its customers' sites. In the United Kingdom, Atlas Copco also handles the sales and marketing of construction and mining equipment, portable compressors and electric power generators, industrial power tools and assembly systems – all backed up by a nationwide sales, distribution, service and maintenance network. Atlas Copco is a world-leading provider of sustainable productivity solutions. The Group serves customers with innovative compressors, vacuum solutions and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. Atlas Copco develops products and service focused on productivity, energy efficiency, safety and ergonomics. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 180 countries. In 2015, Atlas Copco had revenues of BSEK 102 (BEUR 11) and more than 43,000 employees. Learn more at

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