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B-Air: the world’s first battery-powered portable air compressor

Atlas Copco built the first piston air compressors in 1904, and 25 years ago, the organisation was first to introduce the revolutionary Variable Speed Drive (VSD) compressor technology. Staying true to this pioneering spirit and forward-thinking philosophy, Atlas Copco now unveils the first battery-operated portable screw compressor that incorporates VSD and PACE (Pressure Adjusted through Cognitive Electronics) technology!


The B-Air 185-12 is not only an innovation that is set to transform the industry but is also a sustainable game-changer for the environment. It is compact and portable, reliable, clean (no local emissions), energy efficient and quiet. Due to its mobility, the machine has been engineered by Atlas Copco with autonomy top of mind. The compressor gets maximum performance out of its battery to provide a working pressure of 5 to 12 bar (72–175psi) and free air delivery of 5.3–3.7m3/min. The 55kWh battery can be connected to the grid or to a renewable power source. Once fully charged, the battery will power the machine for at least one full working shift in typical conditions and applications. “Operators will be able to operate their pneumatic equipment during load shedding, ensuring uninterrupted production and high productivity,” says Atlas Copco Power Technique’s Portable Products Business Line Manager, David Stanford.

The exceptionally energy efficient, ultra-quiet, 37kW Permanent Magnet (PM) motor, is at the core of the B-Air. “VSD technology works best with rotary screw compressors as their flow rate and power consumption are virtually proportional to speed,” explains Stanford. “The rotary screw elements adapt in sync with the motor so that the amount of compressed air delivered matches air demand. Owing to this PM motor – VSD combination, the compressor is 50% more energy efficient than a fixed speed unit in partial or unloaded conditions. As the compressor operates under these types of conditions for most of its working life, it means that operating costs are significantly reduced over the machine’s lifespan.”

The incorporation of PACE technology into the B-Air takes efficiency to a whole new level. This intuitive electronic pressure regulation system adjusts its output depending on the requirements, and allows multiple pressure and flow combinations, delivering the widest operating pressure range within a single compressor. Compared to a regular compressor which is limited to a certain pressure and flow rate, a compressor equipped with PACE has the ability to provide extra flow at lower pressure levels. This technology allows the motor speed to be adjusted according to the load, resulting in substantial energy and cost savings.

With only a few clicks of the digital controller, operators can easily find the perfect combination by selecting a pressure in increments of 0.1 bar (2psi). “This smart technology enables users to accommodate different applications with one compressor,” notes Stanford. “For example, the operator can, on the same machine, select 6 bar (90psi) to power a handheld tool, or 10.3 bar (150psi) and 12 bar (175psi) respectively for sandblasting and cable blowing applications.”

The compressor offers complete flexibility because it can essentially operate anywhere. The IP-66 rated PM motor is uniquely designed by Atlas Copco to withstand stringent outdoor applications and is completely sealed from water and dust ingress. The liquid-cooled battery pack is contained in a triple enclosure that provides excellent protection. The B-Air is able to operate reliably in ambient temperatures ranging from -25°C to +40°C (with a standard heater and a minimum battery cell temperature of -20°C), offering the ideal compressed air solution for harsh applications that have to be addressed in a sustainable way.

Source: Atlas Copco