It would be hard to name an industrial product Atlas Copco doesn’t make. The global giant serves the manufacturing, construction, automotive, oil and gas and electronics markets in more than 180 countries with offerings as small as handheld tools to those as large as 1 megawatt generators. Every product, no matter its size or application, comes with Atlas Copco’s commitment to increasing productivity, improving efficiency and ensuring ease of operation.
Nowhere is that more apparent than in the Drillair XRVS 1550 portable air compressor, powered by the Cat® C18 industrial engine. With the widest operating range on the market — 218 psi to 500 psi — it can tackle applications as diverse as foundation drilling, pipeline testing, ground engineering and geothermal drilling. And while most other large compressors move a maximum of 1,170 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air, the XRVS 1550 moves 1,550 CFM. That allows operations to get a larger volume of air from one or two fewer compressors, depending on application, saving not just on capital expenses, but also on transportation, fuel and maintenance costs.
The XRVS 1550 is as compact as it is powerful, ideal for working in confined spaces or transporting from site to site. Two compressors can be hauled on the back of a flatbed trailer, compared to just one competitive model — another cost-saver. A “mirror box” controller screen for remote operation lets drill operators operate or monitor the compressor from the cab of their machines, saving time. Other efficiency-boosting features include an easy-to-use interface and an external fuel connection that makes refueling quick.
When the time came to transition the XRVS 1550 to a U.S. EPA Tier 4 Final engine, the Atlas Copco team chose to stay with the Cat C18. Past performance certainly factored into that decision — but it wasn’t the only consideration. “The C18 was the best solution on the market because of its horsepower and torque, size and weight, and the Cat distribution and support channel,” says Robert Johnston vice president and business line manager for Atlas Copco’s North America portable air and power products. “The fact that it doesn’t require DEF [diesel exhaust fluid] was just an added bonus.”
A design that keeps its cool. Configuring the C18 engine into the XRVS 1550 involved close collaboration between Atlas Copco and Caterpillar, particularly when it came to the cooling system. Because air compressors require significantly more cooling capacity than other diesel-powered products, the engineering teams worked together to incorporate engine-mounted fans to maximize air flow. “Once we got to prototyping, Caterpillar sent their engineers to our site for 3-4 days to go through all the parameters and make sure what we were building was suited for the engine,” Johnston says.
Partners from start to finish. Atlas Copco also counts on Caterpillar to help distribute the XRVS 1550. The biggest buyers of the air compressor are Cat dealers who rent or sell it to their customers. That’s a model that works well for Atlas Copco. “Caterpillar is a trusted brand with phenomenal regional support. We use the Cat network to sell these large compressors, because they support the product so well,” Johnston says.
Cat dealers know the drill. Support is critical, because downtime on site is costly. If an air compressor fails in the middle of a drilling job, for example, the drill bit could be lost — and in some applications, a single drill bit can cost more than $150,000. “Downtime means lost production, and those costs add up quickly. That’s why dealer response time is critical. Cat dealers are able to diagnose and fix any problems fast,” Johnston says.
See what other Cat® industrial engine customers have to say about our engines and related products, and the support they receive from the Cat dealer network.