Wiring wizards solve Short’s circuit problem

An Ecoair A15 compressor is being used to animate angry rattlesnakes and half-crazed miners in the latest entertainment to be installed at the Chessington World of Entertainment theme park.

It is also used to power the braking equipment on the £2m Rattlesnake ride, in which up to 32 people in eight carriages hurtle through 180 turns down into a silver mine where the main effects take place.

At 11kW, the A15 chosen by Rattlesnake designers Tussaud Studios is the latest and most powerful in the range of compact rotary screw machines. These cover compressed air outputs from 0.31 to 1.70 m3/min over the pressure range 7 to 13 bar.


Tarmac has converted spraying equipment on an 18-tonne lorry from hydraulic to pneumatic control using the vehicle’s on-board compressed air supply.

The refurbishment avoided installing a separate power source, and the cost savings made have led the company to fit the same pneumatic system on a second lorry.

Pneumatically actuated three-port ball valves control the flow of resin and hardener from two 900-litre storage tanks into a mixing chamber, where it becomes tar. It is then driven through sprayers by compressed air. The pneumatic control system was developed be Spirax Sarco.


Pneumatics company Festo has joined with automation specialist Rockwell to make it simpler and quicker for customers to build flexible, decentralised control systems.

The result is a product that integrates the Allen-Bradley SLC500 miniature PLC with Festo pneumatic valve terminals. There is a choice of control block and three sizes of modular valve terminal, covering flow rates between 400 and 4,500 litres/minute per valve. The operating pressure ranges from -0.9 to 16 bar.

The assembly is compact enough to be mounted directly on to a machine, avoiding the cost of a control cabinet.


The latest version of the Intellisys microprocessor-based controller, developed by Ingersoll-Rand for its SSR and oil-free Sierra compressors, has a number of new features.

It can reduce off-load running time to as little as two minutes compared with 10 minutes on other systems. Starts per hour can be limited to a fixed number, typically six.

A new display with easy-to-use touch-button control pads includes the start, unload, load and stop buttons.

The screen provides quick access to a wide range of functions and permanently displays discharge pressure, running condition and mode of operation, with a flashing warning sign if any operating parameter has been exceeded.


One way to cut the cost of fuel consumption is to spread the load evenly across the supply, whether that be electricity or compressed air. Atlas Copco’s E300 pressure band controller regulates the air net pressure of a multi-compressor installation according to demand.

It handles up to 16 compressors and produces better energy distribution and greater cost savings than a pressure cascade system, says Copco. Pressures can be set manually or in week mode.

The ES300 links directly into compressors fitted with a processor-based control, or via an interface to electro-pneumatically regulated compressors. For maintenance, a compressor can be isolated from the central governor.


Ceramic slide technology at the heart of the Isomax range of ISO sub-base valves and manifolds provides high flow rates up to 1,000 litres/min at 6 bar.

Units have been tested to over 100m operations on non-lubricated air.