Compressors in the Line of Duty

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  Posted by: electime      25th October 2021

Contractors have been rushed off their feet meeting pent-up demand from the loosening of lockdowns, resulting in a boom time for the construction sector. Yet with in-demand electrical contractors being booked with back-to-back jobs, the pressure is on to ensure tight deadlines are met. Consequently, seemingly small inconveniences such as overheating or loud equipment could result in costly work delays with further knock-on effects. With this in mind, Nicol Low, COO at Vert Technologies, explores how the influx in demand is affecting the electrical industry, and how the right choice of compressor can have a positive impact on worksite productivity.

According to the most recent UK construction PMI, the industry has grown at the fastest rate in 24 years, driven by post-COVID demand across both the residential and commercial markets. Despite this good news, concerns remain around skills shortages, with training organisation Electrician Courses 4U reporting that a quarter of the UK’s vacancies are in skilled trades.

This has affected electrical contractors, with electricians accounting for 13 per cent of these vacancies. So, while the sector would doubtlessly already be experiencing a dramatic increase in customers seeking their services post COVID, a shortage of qualified contractors has further exacerbated the situation.

Noise controls

Consequently, there is extreme pressure for electrical contractors to complete an increasing number of projects with an ever-shrinking pool of resources. When walking this tightrope, even small obstacles can have a large impact. Noise restriction legislation is one such example, with Part 1 of the Code of Practice for Noise and Vibration Control on Construction and Open Sites holding that site noise cannot exceed 65 decibels from 10pm to 7am.

For put-upon electrical contractors already contending with a growing list of projects and a skills shortage, this time could be golden. However, as many air compressors used with cable blowing tools can generate noise over 90 decibels, multiple important tasks cannot be completed during this all-important window.

Duty cycles

Productivity obstacles also exist during conventional working hours, due to the risk of compressors overheating. Specifically, many traditional compressors popular on worksites do not contain an internal cooling system, so are unable to perform on a 100 per cent duty cycle and therefore need to be rested, cooled down, or switched off regularly to cool.

While this can lead to installation delays, the situation can be made worse by electricians being unaware of the potential long-term damage to the unit it can cause if not adhered to. These regular compressor rest periods punctuate any installation jobs and can affect productivity levels, however failing to adhere to them can lead to further costs from having to replace a permanently damaged compressor.

Conical Rotary Compressor Technology

Taking these twin, time-consuming issues of compressor noise and overheating into account, under-pressure contractors should seek out alternative technologies that negate these concerns. One such example is Vert’s innovative Conical Rotary Compressor (CRC) technology.

Housed in solutions such as the A200 portable compressor unit, the CRC consists of one rotor inside another turning in the same direction to compress air as it travels down the conical screw. The unique design enables it to continuously deliver the 200lpm air flow required for numerous hand tools, without the need for regular rest periods, meaning that the job in hand can continue uninterrupted. . Crucially, the unit also runs at 62 decibels, meaning it can be used to power tools during hours subject to noise controls, allowing strict deadlines to be more easily met.

In conclusion, the key to meeting increasingly ambitious project timelines is to reduce avoidable opportunities for disruption, some of which can be presented by compressors. While they are necessary tools on-site, electrical contractors should look at the latest technological developments to help complete work productively within increasingly pressurised deadlines.