MechChem Africa

Atlas Copco Vacuum Technique has become the a fifth independent business area for the Atlas Copco Group, alongside Compressor Technique, Construction Technique, Industrial Technique and Mining and Rock Excavation Technique. MechChem Africa talks to Sofiane Kerfali, regional business line manager for vacuum pumps and systems in the Middle East and Africa; and Willem Brits, the representative for Industrial Vacuum in South Africa and neighbouring southern African countries including Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Atlas Copco Industrial Vacuum GHSplus.pdfVacuum solutions originally formed part of Atlas Copco Compressor Technique’s product portfolio. Following the expansion of the product line through acquisition of respected companies such as the Edwards Group, Leybold and Quincy, along with global earnings growth, on January 1, 2017 Vacuum Technique earned separate business area status.

Globally, according to Brits: “the vacuum pumps and systems business is as big as the compressor business and, thanks to growing product offering awareness and market penetration, Vacuum is now getting onto a similar path locally. As a fully-fledged business area we are now better positioned to expand by delivering turnkey vacuum solutions to our customers across the southern African region.”

Regional manager for the new business line, Sofiane Kerfali adds: “In Africa, we have achieved our chosen accolade ‘first in mind, first in choice’ on the compressor side, with significant market awareness and penetration. But in vacuum, we are less well known. Vacuum Technique products are not known in Africa so we have work to do to catch up with Atlas Copco’s other business areas, work that will, undoubtedly, lead to substantial growth in the vacuum product line,” he tells MechChem Africa.

“We have excellent vacuum products backed by world-class service support, systems that offer the best possible energy savings and high reliability. But Africa does not know about these products, so this is our challenge. We need to make Africa aware of our capability and that of Vacuum Technique’s product range,” he adds.

With respect to markets, Kerfali says that vacuum and compressor technologies share a lot of synergies. “We target similar industries: general industry on the handling side, plastic injection moulding and vacuum packaging, and hosts of applications such as those in the petrochemical and electronics industries, and the pharmaceutical, food and beverage, packaging and mining sectors.

“There are many customers working with established brands that are now globally owned by Atlas Copco. Through these brands and by incorporating our related compressor expertise, we can claim 150 years of experience in vacuum technology and its application,” he says.

The flagship GHS VSD+

Core to Atlas Copco’s group ethos is a strong focus on energy efficiency, its vacuum products being no exception. “Our GHS VSD+ vacuum pumps for centralised solutions are our flagship. They have won several awards, such as Plant Engineering’s 2016 Product of the Year Award. This is largely due to the 50% energy savings that can be achieved compared to other similar capacity vacuum technologies,” Brits notes.

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Title: Editor
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Email: mechchemafrica@crown.co.za or peterm@crown.co.za
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Title: Editor
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Title: Advertising Manager
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