Compressed air for safe and accurate mining applications

Pulford Air and Gas tells Safe to Work about what is causing the rise in demand for the Nitroplus range in mining and other industries in Australia.

As the creation and development of infrastructure takes centre stage, the mining and construction industries are expected to witness significant growth in the next few years.

This is exciting news for Australia in particular, where mining and resources have been relatively stagnant up until two years ago.

For the compressed air industry, this will translate into a drastic increase in demand, according to Pulford Air and Gas.

Tom Fyfe, Pulford Air and Gas managing director and ELGi Australia president, says there has been “an increase in demand for their Nitroplus range in applications such as limestone quarries, iron ore mining, coal mining, pigging and solar panel installation” to meet industry demands.

This relates to at least two areas of mining – the cutting of steel and the use in tyres on mining vehicles.

Safe and accurate laser cutting

Stainless steel is a common find in the mining industry. Not only is it easily fabricated, inexpensive and light compared to other materials of a similar strength it is also corrosion resistant, durable and easy to clean.

It is used in a wide variety of application, including boilers, pumps, heat exchangers, pipes and structural components, among others.

The smooth hard surface is good for wet environments too, according to Pulford.

It is no secret that machinery in the mining industry need to be tough to withstand hard environments and intense mechanical standards, but equally important is the safety of these products.

Nitrogen is safe to use in mining applications. Nitrogen is non-flammable. Nitrogen is also non-reactive in general, so it doesn’t support the combustion of othermaterials.

In addition to the safety aspect, mining companies can look forward to precision.

Using nitrogen for laser cutting enhances the quality of the cut on the material being used.

From mild steel to stainless steel, nitrogen prevents oxidation of the cut surface. This allows for better application of paint and surface coating to the end of the cut steel.

Nitrogen is also better for cutting aluminium and zinc-coated galvanised sheets as its reduces dross.

Using Pulford Air and Gas on site nitrogen generation technology reduces the total cost of laser cutting with nitrogen.

It delivers no delivery fees for the mining user, as well as no running out of gas in the middle of an important job.

According Pulford Air and Gas, the on-site generation of nitrogen also provides better manufacturing cost control for the user.

ELGI Mining reduced

Preventing tyre fires

Another area of mining that Pulford is seeing a noticeable increase in sales of the Nitroplus range is for use in heavy vehicle tyres.

Pulford Air and Gas offers this unique product and it is the only one of its kind in Australia. Nitroplus is used in tyres on mining vehicles to reduce the risk of tyre fires.

Tyres on trucks, cranes and other heavy vehicles may catch fire under a range of circumstances, and even explode.

A lesser known danger arises when the combustion takes place inside the tyre, with no external signs.

Whenever excess heat is developed it can initiate a process within the tyre that can cause a build-up of flammable gases and pressure within the tyre, which may ultimately rupture or explode.

Enormous amounts of gas can be released by a tyre explosion, often leading to significant equipment damage, serious injuries or fatalities.

Pulford Air and Gas was recently acquired by international air compressor company, ELGi Equipments. Pulford is now able to offer mining companies an even wider range of products within a quicker turnaround time under the ELGi ownership.

ELGi, which offers more than 400 compressed air systems for mission critical applications, wants to become a leading player in the global air compressor industry by 2027.

The strategic acquisition of F.R. Pulford & Son, along with subsidiary Advanced Air Compressors, in July was a significant step for ELGi to expand its footprint in Australia and in this region.

Pulford has been a distributor of industrial compressors in Australia for almost 100 years.

This article also appears in the Jan–Mar edition of Safe to Work.