Dried fruits and snacks company wins GB’s oldest industrial compressor competition

Atlas Copco Compressors, as part of its centenary celebrations, ran a competition to track down the oldest* industrial compressor in Great Britain. The winner, with a still-running (albeit somewhat hot and noisy!) 1976 GA 408 compressor, is Whitworths in Northamptonshire. Whitworths is the UK’s leader in dried fruits, nuts, seed products and snacks, and has operated out of its Irthlingborough site since 1886.

The counter on the GA408 rotary screw compressor, which was manufactured by Atlas Copco 43 years ago, has gone around the clock and boasted an impressive figure of 167,364 running hours at the time of announcing its win. It still reliably provides compressed air for pneumatic controls and the actuation of valves in the plant’s food packaging machinery.

But Whitworths’ trusty old compressor can soon be allowed to retire, as the company has won a latest generation GA compressor with the same free air delivery as the old one. This replacement will be installed by Atlas Copco’s local premier distributor, Anglian Compressors. As well as emitting much less noise and heat than the vintage model, it will allow Whitworths to benefit from the numerous improvements that Atlas Copco air compressors have undergone in the last four decades, including an increased free air delivery at a reduced power consumption, smart control and monitoring features, and a smaller footprint. A perfect outcome for a company which is in the midst of a factory regeneration project and an upgrade to state-of-the art plant equipment.

*The criteria for the winning machine were that it had to be oil-injected, stationary, with a motor power rating between 30-90 kW, and still in use.

Pictured L-R: Richard Hewitt (Managing Director of Anglian Compressors) with Mark Foster (Head of Engineering) and Mike Greenham (Project Engineer) at Whitworths, alongside their winning 43 year old GA408 compressor

 

The GA408 is so old that it still sports a long-obsolete red Atlas Copco logo!