The Atlas Copco brand is renowned for a wide range of surface and underground mining equipment in operation across the globe. Its mobile crushing and screening range, already an internationally acclaimed product line, is making its mark on the African continent with growing speed, writes Laura Cornish.

Having identified the ‘missing link’ in its Surface Drilling Equipment (SDE) division a few years ago, Atlas Copco resolved this circumstance following its acquisition of family-owned, Austria-based Hartl Powercrushers at the end of 2010.

The rebranded entity, Atlas Copco Powercrusher, already a market leader in Europe, is asserting its capabilities on the African continent with one of the most competent mobile crushing and screening fleets. The product range includes mobile track crushers, jaw crushers, impact crushers, cone crushers and screening plants.

Prior to the acquisition, Hartl was dealing globally through distributors. Both parties have come through the integration period seamlessly and are already working in unison. “Now a part of the Atlas Copco family, we have the muscle and capability to sell our products directly to the mining and crushed stone sector, particularly on the African continent, which, until 2010, we had very little exposure in,” says SDE regional product manager, Shaun Montgomery.

“I believe going direct is one of our main strengths, considering the recent shake up in the local crushing and screening market,” he continues. It has been a little over two years since Hartl has been adopted into the Atlas Copco family, adopted the company values and cultures and the focus going forward is to take this message to the market; ‘get the word out’ that Atlas Copco has a strong crushing and screening market offering and is pushing this perception.

The Atlas Copco Powercrusher ranges are now distributed through the company’s 70 customer centres globally. “Atlas Copco has been around for 140 years, with a well-established reputation in the mining industry. With the new names and backing of such a successful institution, our product ownership is strong and our customer values are being received and taken more seriously.”

“Going directly to the market, Atlas Copco sees the advantage of using the divisional synergies as a way of penetrating the market at all levels and areas. The stockholding and control is in our hands, enabling us to get a better feel for the customer’s technical and service requirements and offer a better response time and service. The brand name is also a plus factor as Atlas Copco is well known in the mining industry,” says Hedley Birnie, business line manager for SDE, Atlas Copco Mining and Rock Excavation Technique South Africa.

In 2009, Hartl completed the construction of a new production facility in Europe. Montgomery says it is one of the most advanced and modern manufacturing facilities. It was built to satisfy global capacities and includes a separate test box to test all machine functionality prior to transporting to its destination.

While all the equipment ranges will still be manufactured in Europe, the local Atlas Copco keeps a full spare parts complement. There has been training for local staff, although Montgomery adds that because the company is mechanically focused, the basic knowledge and understanding is already there. We have come through our integration period.

Atlas Copco is like a big ball in motion, it may roll at its own pace, but it cannot be stopped. This very notion will ensure that our endeavours into the African market space will be successful,” Montgomery notes. “Making a breakthrough into the industry, and creating a show piece for the rest of the market to see is a goal that we want to realise soon,” Birnie adds.

The equipment

Montgomery explains that while the African market is spoilt for choice in mobile crushing and screening equipment, the Powercrusher range has ‘one-of-a-kind’ distinguishing features. “The majority of crushing and screening ranges were originally designed and developed as stationary structures. Meeting the demand for the mobile equipment trend saw our competitors put their machines onto tracks. Hartl was never in the stationary business, meaning our core design and geometry is different and is still today the best suited in terms of ‘true’ mobile requirements.”

Atlas Copco Powercrusher jaw crusher

While the Atlas Copco Powercrusher jaw crusher has world-class components, it is the crusher box technology that puts the machines in a ‘class of their own’. “We are the only manufacturer that produces an up-thrust toggle plate that produces more cubicle shaped material, another added benefit is fewer blockages,” Montgomery explains.

Jaw crushers from Atlas Copco Powercrusher incorporate a unique quattro movement for maximum processing efficiency. Materials are drawn in due to a more vertical motion of the swing jaw plate and a more effective force is applied over the entire face of the crushing chamber, with an efficient post-crushing effect as rocks exit the crushing chamber.

Atlas Copco Powercrusher impact crusher

“The geometrical design of our impact crushers guarantees minimal percentage oversized fractions. As a result, clients can use impact crushers as a primary crushing tool, eliminating the need for jaw crushing entirely for soft stone materials.”

Atlas Copco Powercrusher cone crusher

The 1 000 mm cone crusher is particularly ideal from a maintenance point of view, Montgomery outlines. Only the lid needs to be removed for repair, as opposed to taking off the whole shell. It also sports a 1 300 mm cone crusher that provides high capacity output.

“The jaw crusher’s upward thrust toggle plate gives a unique action on the jaw, allowing the crusher to obtain the maximum efficiency from the unit while increasing the time between wear part change outs. The action of the quarto-type jaw movement and design allows for even more wear over the full surface of the liner and not only on the bottom end,” adds Birnie.

Cone crushers from Atlas Copco Powercrusher are able to accept ‘all-in’ feed, which minimises the need for pre-screening of material entering the crusher while maximising processing efficiency due to more particle-on-particle crushing action. Crushing occurs in a chamber between an external fixed cone and an internal moving mantle mounted on an oscillating shaft assembly. A release system provides overload protection by allowing tramp to pass through the crushing chamber without damaging it. A new Atlas Copco innovation is a steel rejection system that further increases operational uptime.

Recent successes and the future

“We have been selling our products successfully into West Africa, thanks largely to Atlas Copco’s four branches in Ghana. We continue to perform well in Latin America, the Far East and Europe, and have a massive 54 machines in operation in Libya,” Montgomery points out.

“With regards to our future, Atlas Copco strives to be the best of the best and this means constant attention to all of its product lines and their development,” Montgomery concludes.