De-Icing the Locks to Extend Shipping Movements to the Great Lakes

Montreal rental company Location d’Outils Simplex (Simplex) has rented out 15 compressors to prevent water freezing in locks on the St. Lawrence River, helping to maintain shipping through to the Great Lakes.

A mix of 15 Atlas Copco compressors – XAS 1600, XAMS 1050 and XAMS 850 – were delivered last Fall by the rental company Location d’Outils Simplex, to four locks along a 50 km stretch of the St. Lawrence Seaway around between Saint-Lambert and Beauharnois, Quebec.

Used in groups of 2 to 4 units, supplying up to 4000 cfm per lock, air is pumped directly into the lock water for agitation preventing the water from freezing and improving the stability of the ships within the lock.

This provides an extension for shipping movements in the Fall and again with an early start in the Spring.

The compressors operate 24/7 for three weeks in December and again in April.

Simplex has been supplying compressors for this purpose since 2005, then using a mix of Atlas Copco and other brands of compressors.

“Today, it will be, without any hesitation, 100% Atlas Copco,” confirmed Simplex workshop manager, Stéphane Castilloux. “With temperatures hovering between -10°C to -20°C, it is essential that all the compressors include the Atlas Copco ‘cold weather’ package and that we maintain constant checks,” he said.

For example, oil levels and all functions are checked and daily maintenance carried out. Twice a day a mechanic visits each installation to check all are working.

Headquartered in Montreal and with 38 branches around the Quebec province, Simplex has a fleet of 100 Atlas Copco portable air compressors – all delivered at regular intervals over the past 4 years – with the rental company standardizing in Atlas Copco for all its new compressors.

Source: Atlas Copco Portable Air Division

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