Installing and servicing increasingly complex compressed air systems presents a challenge, especially to small companies, which is difficult to overcome alone. Many systems are not at optimal operation, consume a great deal of energy and are often at a standstill. Most companies therefore outsource compressed air services. Different outsourcing models are available - from maintenance contracts with the manufacturer to rental of entire systems to energy delivering contracting.
With contracting, customers do not generate their own compressed air with their own compressors but purchase it at a fixed price. Cost transparency is one advantage of this model, in which contractors set up the compressors at the company. Contractors can analyze potential savings, plan the best compressed air station, carry out the installation with all pipes and operate the system through remote monitoring, and service and exchange parts. Their customers save investment costs, and instead pay a fixed rate depending on the term of the contract or a flat rate depending on consumption for providing the system as well as a fixed energy rate per cubic meter of compressed air.
In addition to service and maintenance, manufacturers and/or suppliers keep the technology up to date and scale the supply up or down according to changing needs if necessary.
“Compressed air contracting is a growth area because ultimately users don’t actually want compressor hardware. They want a reliable supply of compressed air at minimum cost”
Contracting may be in line with current trends, but it is by no means a new one. "We’ve been providing compressed-air hardware for more than 20 years and we’re noticing now that more and more companies are opting for contracting solutions," says Thomas Kaeser. Atlas Copco has also discovered that "Compressed air contracting is praised in many places as an ‘innovative’ achievement of the past few years; however, Atlas Copco showcased it to the industry at Hannover Messe in 1989 as ‘compressed air at a fixed monthly price’ and has been successful on the compressed air market ever since." "Managers do not like to invest in things that they can rent instead." Back then, Atlas Copco was already selling its “risk and worry-free compressed air supply" under the motto "air instead of compressors". The term "compressed air contracting" came later.
In 2015 Atlas Copco will be exhibiting at ComVac. “As the world’s leading trade fair for compressed air and vacuum technology, ComVac is an absolute must for industrial users seeking the best the market has to offer in terms of cost, quality and availability,” says Marc Siemering, Senior Vice-President of HANNOVER MESSE, Deutsche Messe AG. “In Hall 26 visitors will discover compressed air and vacuum technologies in all their many forms and facets. That’s everything from systems for generating, treating and distributing compressed air, to applications for using it in production plants and machinery, right through to contracting and services,” says Siemering.
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