Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: The 2017 AICD Conference & Exhibition

The 2017 AICD Conference and Exhibition was held May 21-23 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nevada.  The membership of the Association of Independent Distributors came together to share ideas and discuss business methods to help their businesses prosper.  “The AICD has grown by 15% with 9 new distributor members,” said AICD President Phil Kruger. “The event provides both members and vendors with excellent educational and networking opportunities designed to help grow our businesses.”

 

The Conference

The Keynote Speaker was Mike Weinberg, the author of Sales Management Simplified. The focus of his presentations was on the role and effectiveness of the Sales Manager. He covered many areas – all of them very applicable to those running air compressor sales and service companies. Topics included sales talent management, supercharging sales team meetings, a list of 16 common reasons sales teams underperform, recruiting and interviewing, sales process, sharpening the sales story, solving customer issues, and a sales leadership/high-performance culture checklist.  I thought it was an excellent presentation demonstrating what a huge impact a strong sales manager can have on an organization.  Yes, he did convince me to buy his book!

Break-Out Sessions included round-tables on business diversification and maintenance contracts vs. agreements and a presentation from the Compressed Air Challenge®. It is interesting to be in a room full of owners and sales managers, of air compressor distributorships, talking about diversification. Diversification can involve geographic expansion, compressed air product or service capability expansion, or expansion into other related technologies such as blowers, vacuum, chillers and cooling towers (to name a few of my favorites)! Every company had a different history and perspective on the topic. Many firms pointed to their diversified product offerings. Others said diversification is a distraction and can cause the company to lose focus on the core air compressor business. While it’s clear there is no single right answer or strategy on diversification, all agreed the topic should only be broached if the core air compressor business is excelling and receiving the full investment required. “For smaller companies with resource constraints, diversification can make the most sense in rethinking and repackaging what you are already doing,” said AICD President Phil Kruger. “Existing preventative and predictive maintenance services like oil analysis, thermography, and vibration analysis can be repackaged and presented in different ways.”

The Compressed Air Challenge® was represented by President Steve Briscoe and Board Members Jan Hoetzel and Dan Ryan.  They gave the attendees an informative presentation on the training programs they run and encouraged air compressor distributors to consider hosting a seminar. They particularly recommended the “Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems” one-day seminar.

 

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Jan Hoetzel, Steve Briscoe and Dan Ryan, from the Compressed Air Challenge®, made a presentation at the conference (left to right).

 

The Exhibition – Air Compressors

The exhibition portion had at least 70+ companies exhibiting and during the hours allocated, I only had a chance to visit (rapidly at that) a small sampling of the booths. My apologies go out to all the booths/exhibitors not mentioned or photographed here.

DV Systems exhibited the Huron B10 Airsystem. Kevin Ray and Biren Bhalla were kind enough to describe this interesting single-phase system featuring an extremely low maximum 55 Amp draw enabling installations for customers uninclined to convert to 3-phase power. They told me it was introduced five years ago and has been extremely well received. The features on this 10 horsepower variable speed, direct drive unit include a 68 dBa enclosure, standard TEFC motor, an advanced controller able to sequence up to 8 compressors, a refrigerated dryer with prefilter, a 80 gallon horizontal dry tank with an optional demand drain. The system can deliver 37 scfm at 145 psi.

 

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Kevin Ray and Biren Bhalla next to the Huron B10 Airsystem at the DV Systems booth (left to right).

 

Sullivan Palatek continues it’s story of steady growth focusing on reliable products and long-lasting partnerships with distributors. President Steve Van Loan gave me a product update saying the SP16 Series (75 to 125 hp) has newly upgraded airends providing higher energy efficiency – particularly on the 75 hp model. Their customers and distributors like how the standard product is an open configuration – with sound attenuation packages, Wye-Delta Starters and everything else as convenient options. We will be writing more about Sullivan Palatek this summer. They’ve been in their consolidated and expanded manufacturing headquarters for a few years now and it’s about time we took a look! We are also very impressed and supportive of Bruce McPhee’s work dissuading the Department of Energy from attempting to regulate air compressor manufacturing – likely elevating the cost of manufacturing significantly and putting most smaller packagers/manufacturers out of business. Why attempt to regulate for 2-5% efficiency gains when the industry is improving efficiency on it’s own in order to compete? Why regulate the air compressor when, on average, 25% of compressed air continues to be lost to leaks in the system?!

 

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AICD President Phil Kruger and Sullivan Palatek’s Bruce McPhee (left to right).

 

The Kobelco oil-free rotary screw KNW Series is a two-stage 20 to 500 hp fixed speed or VFD product line delivering 72 to 2400 scfm at pressure ranges from 40 to 150 psig. Sales Manager Lane Hawkinson said the growth of the product line has been as robust as the heavy-duty two-stage compression module which is designed, tested and manufactured in the USA. They use ASTM 1144 steel rotors with exclusive PTFE coatings. Hawkinson said they’ve upgraded the I/O Link communication capabilities tied into the Allen Bradley PLC. Rogers Machinery, by the way, is doing very interesting heat recovery package installations – more to come on that later this year.

 

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Mark Duty, Chris Canipe, Rick Walsh (Q-Air), Roy Douglass (Air Technology West), Lane Hawkinson and Jeff Brennan (Compressed Air Power) at the Rogers Machinery booth (left to right).

 

Hertz Kompressoren is entering the U.S. market and had their first booth at the AICD. Robert Groendyke is the Vice President and General Manager of their Charlotte-based U.S. subsidiary. Hertz Kompressoren is the brand name, for all international markets, for the parent company – Dalgakiran Kompresor. I have seen them exhibiting for many years at the Hannover Show. They have been in business for over fifty years. They told me their “phase 1” in the U.S. will be with UL and ASME approved HDD Series, direct drive, lubricated screws up to 75 horsepower. The full HDD range is from 22 to 335 kW.

 

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Robert Groendyke and Elif Sasmaz next to the Hertz Kompressoren HDD Series direct drive rotary screw air compressor.

 

Schulz of America has been based outside of Atlanta since 1999. Sales Manager Terry Emery demonstrated their new 7.5 hp model for their Compact belt-drive rotary screw compressor line (7.5 to 40 hp) offered with a standard horizontal 60 gallon tank. They are also excited about the late 2017 launch of their new FLEX drive line of VSD compressors (25 to 250 hp).

 

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Fabio Rosa, Mark Nelson and Terry Emery at the Schulz booth (left to right).

 

BOGE is introducing the new and updated C-2 Series lubricated rotary screw compressors specifically for the U.S. market. The 15-30 horsepower units are now direct driven with standard options such as variable speed drive, tank-mounted and heat recovery. Sales Manager Jerry Elsen and Regional Manager Curt Greifer expect this product line to have a significant impact on their business.

Hitachi General Manager Camilo Villalobos was talking about their oil-free rotary screw air compressors with standard 3-year warranties. The DSP Series range is from 30 to 300 hp and the SDS Series range covers 335 to 900 hp. I didn’t know they could reach 900 hp with an oil-free rotary screw! Trivia time: did you know Hitachi introduced their first air compressor in 1911? It was a 75 kW reciprocating air compressor.

 

The Exhibition - Compressed Air Purification, Piping and Measurement

BEKO Technologies continues to innovate and was exhibiting their DRYPOINT RA VSD variable speed dryer rated for 800 to 6000 cfm and are in stock (Atlanta) up to 3000 cfm. These units use R407c and R134a environmentally-friendly refrigerants. The unit has high pressure and low pressure transducers for refrigeration system troubleshooting and a 160 °F maximum inlet temperature.

 

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Randall Corthouts, Adrian Fernandez, Josh Borrego, Eric Johnson and Jorge Ubeda next to the DRYPOINT RA variable speed drive refrigerated dryer from BEKO Technologies (left to right).

 

JORC introduced several new Industry 4.0 concepts into the compressed air condensate management technologies starting with a new timer drain concept. They have eliminated the potentiometers (the time cycle knobs)! You can program the ON and OFF intervals from your smart phone. A key advantage is the knobs can’t be tampered with and left ON  as we often see. President Jan de Bie also showed me their “no air-loss” KAPTIV-CS drains, where they’ve introduced a digital sight port so one can monitor the condensate level in the reservoir and monitor the operation.  JORC introduced their vision of being able to wirelessly monitor and control all drain and oil-water separator operations to ensure reliable condensate management.

 

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Anthony Yacucci and Aaron de Koning displayed new JORC remote monitoring and control of compressed air condensate management systems (left to right).

 

SPX FLOW launched the new 75 to 550 scfm FLEX Series of phase change material (PCM) energy saving refrigerated dryers. Sales Manager Ray Brahm told me they expect to launch units up to 3000 scfm by the end of the year. These cycling dryers feature a controller with a digital readout communicating the percentage savings at that moment in time. The units have oversized condensers and demand drains on the condensate separator. The new technology is what they call PCM (phase change material) encapsulated between the refrigeration and compressed air circuits and serving as a highly effective reservoir for thermal storage. The 3-in-1 heat exchangers using PCM are patent pending. This cycles the refrigerant compressor less often than conventional energy-saving designs.  Another benefit is that the PCM itself is an eco-friendly refrigerant that melts and solidifies above 0 °C (32 °F) and does not require the use of glycol, pump, tank or hot gas bypass.

 

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Mike Lewis, Ray Brahm, Roger Michael and Chris Spainhower next to the new Hankison FLEX energy-saving refrigerated dryer from SPX FLOW (left to right).

 

After private labeling for a number of years, MIKROPOR is now aggressively introducing their own brand of compressed air treatment products into the U.S.  Corporate Vice President Volkan Ayhan announced the appointment of Nitin Shanbhag as President, Mikropor America. Their effort is supported by their 75,000 square foot warehouse in Michigan City (Indiana) - fully stocked with UL and ASME approved MKUS refrigerated dryers, desiccant dryers and filters.  Mikropor participates in the CAGI Testing program for refrigerated dryers.

 

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Nitin Shanbhag, Michael McCulley (Quality Compressed Air Services) and Volkan Ayhan at the Mikropor America booth (left to right).

 

Parker’s Gas Separation & Filtration (GSF) Division had a very important product launch at the AICD. Allan Hoerner was kind enough to walk me through the new Parker Airtek CDAS (Clean Dry Air System) and OFAS (Oil Free Air System) featuring the newest generation of adsorption drying technology.  Deploying an integrated activated carbon filter for oil vapor, the OFAS is third-party validated by Lloyds Register to provide ISO 8573-1 Class 0 compressed air - with respect to total oil content.  The packaging and design of these units makes me think I could even do the maintenance. Features include threaded top end-caps for speedy desiccant cartridge replacement and a 5-year cartridge life. Pre-mounted Parker domnick hunter OIL-X pre-filters and after-filters are front-mounted and easy to get to. A prominent large HMI display screen cleverly allows users to select from three ISO 8573-1:2010 pressure dewpoint classes: - 4 °F (Class 3), - 40 °F (Class 2), and - 94 °F (Class 1). This feature, along with the ability to automatically extend purge cycles to respond to varying inlet and ambient conditions, allows for energy savings in the form of reduced purge air. I was extremely impressed by these two new innovative products.

 

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Jim Ellis (Brehob) and Allan Hoerner next to the innovative new modular desiccant dryer at the Parker GSF booth (left to right).

 

MTA continues it’s history as a leader in cycling energy-saving refrigerated air dryers. Howard Kielar and Roberto Bettin showed me their DE ETM (Enhanced Thermal Mass) cycling dryers which have just arrived in the U.S. Very innovative! We also reviewed the DEi TECH refrigerated dryers and the TAEevo TECH chiller range from 1.7 TO 57.5 tons. MTA USA is on a growth surge with the largest regional manager sales force I’ve seen them have capitalizing on a strong surge of very interesting new product development coming from Italy.  As a side note, their vertical market approaches are very innovative – Western Regional Manager Craig Thoresen always has me learning a thing or two about business development (my favorite topic!) when we meet.

 

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Howard Kielar, Craig Thoresen and Roberto Bettin at the MTA booth (left to right).

 

Nano-purification solutions has a strong focus on nitrogen generation. Nick Herrig said their modular nitrogen generators continue to take market share away from dewars and other traditional nitrogen supply methods. INFINITY aluminum piping systems, supplied by applied system technologies, had an impressive booth. What jumps out is their solid brass, nickel-plated fittings making the system easy to use and install. Regional Manager Chris Downs said the systems can be handled and installed easily by one person. 

 

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Nick Herrig, Jane Sexton, Simon Galloway and Jim McFadden at the nano booth (left to right).

 

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Chad Timmer, Malcolm Lindsay and Chris Downs at the Applied System Technologies booth (left to right).

 

CDI Meters was introducing their new CDI 5450 hot-tap flowmeter for compressed air systems.  They gathered quite a crowd!  The CDI 5450 is a modified version of the 5400 model allowing installation under pressure. It incorporates two valves through which the probes pass and a muffler that collects chips from the drilling process. It takes an equal amount of installation time as the standard flow meter. Very interesting new technology!

 

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Roger Dennison, Rob and Michael Merrion (Remco Equipment) and Chris Corsino at the CDI Meters booth (left to right).

 

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Keith Beatty and Paul Heston reviewed “Safety Shower Water Tempering Systems” at the Hydrothrift booth (left to right).

 

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Rodney Rushing and Jim Hamilton introduce me to their Sublime® water scale solvent at the Summit Industrial booth (left to right).

 

Once again, the AICD exceeded expectations, plus every one has a great time.  I hope this report provides a taste of what happened – there’s no way to cover the whole event and do all the exhibitors justice in these short pages.  I’ll note the event is run perfectly - with no hitches. The 2018 AICD will be held May 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please contact Kasey Gould, AICD Administrator, tel: 409-860-9961, email: admin@aicd.org, or visit www.aicd.org.

 

To read more about Compressed Air Technology, please visit www.airbestpractices.com/technology.