25 September, 2017

Mark MSM compressor aids disabled engineering solutions unit

22 February, 2015
MERU produces a range of disability equipment solutions to meet individual needs. There are many ‘off the shelf’ items in the catalogue, however MERU specialises in the design and build of bespoke equipment for children. While upgrading its production facility, the organisation required an improved compressed air set-up, which led it to Mark Compressors’ Full Feature unit. The installation of a new CNC machine at MERU’s Epsom design offices and workshops, replacing the existing lathes for the milling of metal parts, meant that the quality of air supplied by the old, struggling, piston compressor was just not good enough for the new demands. “The CNC machine needs pure, dry air to operate it,” said Gary Scarlett, chief design engineer and facilities manager. “Therefore, we looked for a compressor and dryer combination which could provide that need.” At the same time it was decided to completely re-spec the compressor to fulfil a number of new requirements. The air-output capacity needed to be increased because there would now be occasions when the CNC machine would be running at the same time as a sandblaster and other air tools. Certain plastic-moulded parts require that there is no moisture contamination and so, once again, the need for dry air was paramount. While 7-8 bar is the constant pressure needed, it was decided to go for a machine with a capacity of 10 bar to cover any contingency situations. The arrival of the CNC machine meant a need for continuous air supply, so reliability became a key issue, since any interruption to the air supply would mean a complete re-set of the task programmed into the CNC. All these points were coupled with a need for a quieter machine, while still retaining a small footprint to suit the area where it was to be located. After looking into a number of options, Scarlett and his team opted for a Mark MSM 4kW DX compressor, including a dryer, integrated as a receiver-mounted combination. This fulfilled all the requirements, giving 100 per cent dry air and a noise level as low as 62 dB(A). As one member of the team remarked, “Compared to the old banging piston machine, we hardly know the Mark compressor is running. It’s a real joy not to have that thumping sound in the corner of our otherwise quiet workshops.” In addition to the specialist design engineering team, the workforce at Epsom is supplemented by both engineering students on work-experience placements and a number of volunteers. MERU was founded in 1973 as a charity by William Bond, a senior lecturer in design engineering, and Trefor Llewelyn- Bowen, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who were both concerned at the lack of clinical facilities that could provide equipment for disabled children. They saw that some children have disabilities so complex that no available ‘off-the-shelf’ equipment met their needs. Working towards providing answers to these problems is still the driving vision at MERU and the organisation works closely in consultation with medical teams, considering individual cases and providing products to meet each specific brief. The result has seen some extremely innovative solutions, among them a powered indoor chair called Bugzi. This allows the severely disabled to move themselves around at an early age, substituting the equivalent of movement that a child would normally have at the crawling or early walking stages of development. Bugzi is one of the main products in evidence when touring the production facility, and it was to meet the demand for increased numbers of chairs that led to the installing of this new range of equipment. However, many other important items have been developed by the team, including travel seats for use on aircraft, arm guards, grab bars and flexible gadget stands, which allow perfect positioning of a device, such as a phone or iPad. www.markcompressors.com





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