The air motor market has a directly proportional relationship to the economy, subsequently making aftersales support and services key focus areas for industrial product supplier Actum Group, says Actum’s Deprag product leader Herman Parsons.
This focus, combined with Actum’s approach of providing niche products, ensures that the company’s air motor division remains competitive, despite the lagging South African economy.
Parsons cites the niche aspect as being of particular interest to original-equipment manufacturers(OEMs), as they often require custom built, special-purpose equipment.
Actum, which has exclusive distribution rights for German brand Deprag air motors, through its partnership with Deprag, arranges for staff to train at the Deprag premises in Germany, thereby ensuring that employees have the required technical capabilities to repair and maintain Deprag products. Parsons notes that training occurs prior to a product launch.
Since the beginning of the year, Actum has been involved in marketing and distributing the Power Line ATEX range of air motors – first launched in November last year – suitable for applications in environments vulnerable to dust and gas explosions as well as aggressively corrosive environments such as paper, pulp and board manufacturing.
The range is also available in stainless steel, and the anti-corrosive characteristics of the motor makes it ideally suited to marine applications. Parsons believes that the motors could also be used in construction equipment and machinery, as well as in steel manufacturing equipment.
He comments that the new Power Line ATEX range uses the same basic design of the previous Power Line range except for two design changes. Firstly, the motor complies with European Union (EU) Parliament directive 2014/34/EU on equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres, effective from February 26, 2014. Secondly, Power Line ATEX motors have increased power capacity and effectiveness.
“The Power Line ATEX motors range from 1.6 kW to 18 kW. They are distinguished by their unparalleled, low performance-to-weight ratio.
In accordance with 2014/34/EU, the motors, which fall under Category 2, are designated for use in areas where a potentially explosive atmosphere, consisting of gases, steam, smoke or a dust-air mixture, is occasionally likely to arise, Parsons explains. Further, the motors’ explosion-prevention measures guarantee safety of both staff and equipment even in the event of a motor fault.
Parsons adds that the accreditation is important for large multinational companies with ties to the EU, including OEMs and suppliers that operate in South Africa, owing to companies’ obligations in terms of safety and conforming with international and EU standards.
Further, he notes that air motors in general are already ideally designed for this type of explosive environment application, as the air movement generated by the motor cools the motor down. As such, the risk of gases igniting because of high temperatures is significantly reduced by using an air motor.
In addition to the EU ATEX certification, Deprag engineers have further optimised the existing Power Line motors, this means that the same motor size is now even more efficient.
The high speeds of air motors ensure that gears are frequently required for speed regulation. However, Deprag motor drives are equipped with a standardised International Electrotechnical Commission- (IEC-) flange connection such as that used for electric motors and standard gears. The IEC-flange allows for the connection of varying EU ATEX conforming gears. This may include planetary, spur, worm and bevel gears, as well as other gear types.
In addition, all the drives are also reversible, meaning that the motors work in both rotational directions. The air motors can be controlled using an external directional control valve. Alternatively, there are also air motors which can be manually controlled using a lever.
Power Line ATEX motors are also available with integrated brake control. The holding brake is controlled through a separate control line. If the pressure in the brake line falls, the holding brake is automatically activated. If the operating pressure in the control air connection for the motor brake is higher than 5 bar, the motor spindle will turn freely.
Parsons notes that, while Actum keeps a limited number of standard air motor products in stock locally, most of the products are airfreighted from Germany, ensuring lead times are kept to a minimum.