Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: Compressed Air Technology at the 2016 AICD Conference & Exhibition

The 2016 AICD Conference & Exhibition was held May 15-17, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago, Illinois. The Association of Independent Compressor Distributors once again produced a first-class event recording new highs for both member attendees and exhibitors. There were roughly 76 exhibitors, so although I tried to be diligent, I must apologize in advance to the many booths/companies I was not able to spend time with.

Sullivan-Palatek exhibited a most interesting new technology at the AICD - the new 5-15 hp Aqua Air water-injected, 100% oil-free rotary screw air compressors. This innovative design requires no make-up water as it generates the necessary coolant directly from ambient air. There are several innovations, in the operational design of the unit, including the floating bearings for the airend and the self-healing proprietary polymer materials used on the rotor profiles. President Steve Van Loan said the Aqua Air has received a tremendous amount of interest from their distribution network. I have been watching Sullivan-Palatek over the years and am impressed by their steady and consistent growth march into larger facilities, new product line technologies, and their active involvement in CAGI decision-making. Their sales strategy is truly distributor-focused and their growth is tied to the growth of their sales channel partners – like Quality Compressed Air Services, which has grown from two employees into a company with four branches in Mississippi and Louisiana.



Dave Raffin, Brian Stober and Bruce McFee at the Sullivan-Palatek booth (left to right).

VP Instruments continues to pioneer compressed air flow metering installation, with unique products like the VP FlowScopeM patented replacement sensor cartridges. They also focus on installation training with Menno Verbek and Pascal van Putten tackling issues like bi-directional flow and moisture in the compressed air systems head-on. They also presented VP Vision, their web-based energy management system for end users wanting to manage the mass flow, temperature and pressure data coming from the VP FlowScope.



Pascal van Putten, Jervey Inglesby (A-10 Compressed Air Services) and Menno Verbek at the VP Instruments booth (left to right).

ELGi Compressors announced the addition of Brandon Dial to their U.S. sales team. Keith Sportsman announced ELGi’s excitement at the growth in their U.S. sales over the past three years. They credited their growth to the continued development and cooperation of air compressor distributors across the U.S. - as well as to ELGi’s commitment to inventory, quality designs and the industry’s first-ever lifetime warranty on air ends-called UPTIME Assurance™. Their move to a larger facility in Charlotte is now complete and they said it is permitting them to further expand their product offerings. More news on that is coming.



Brandon Dial, Keith Sportsman, Frank Brookshire, Curt Greifer and Kent Tolman (Maddox Air Compressor) at the ELGi Compressors booth (left to right).

DV Systems announced the hiring of Kevin Ray as their U.S. Sales Manager based out of their Charlotte stocking warehouse. Bogdan Markiel said they were very pleased with the market acceptance of their range of 10 – 200 horsepower lubricated, single-stage, variable speed drive, rotary screw air compressors. They also announced their new line of DF Series compressed air filters.



Biren Bhalla, Garth Greenough, Bogdan Markiel, Ken House and Kevin Ray at the DV Systems booth (left to right).

JORC Industrial continues to steam along as the specialist in condensate management with an exclusive focus on condensate drains and oil-water separators. Eugene White reemphasized their commitment to service and same-day deliveries.



Eugene White and Quentin Jackson (McGee Company) at the JORC Industrial booth (left to right).

Announcing a new hire was oil/water separator manufacturer Clean Resources. Mike Holtvluwer communicated the appointment of Chad Timmer, as the new VP of Sales.



Chad Timmer and Mike Holtvluwer at the Clean Resources booth (left to right).

Nano Purification continues it’s march towards greater market share and business expansion-even outside the U.S.. Nick Herrig and David Peters said they’d hired a new Regional Manager for the U.K. and described their newly acquired manufacturing operation in Newcastle, U.K.  I find their application engineering work with nitrogen generation in the food industry very interesting. Energy-savings are attainable when those nitrogen specs are challenged and tested.



Jim McFadden, Todd Allison, Jane Sexton, Matt McQuillin and Dave Peters at the nano purification booth (left to right).

Trace Analytics has established itself, in my view, as an excellent technical resource for those wanting to test and verify compressed air quality. Compressed air quality specifications can also carry an energy cost. Ruby Ochoa is an authority for those wanting to firmly understand ISO 8573.1-2010 Quality Classes and Testing Procedures per ISO 8573.3 .  I was pleased to hear Marketing Director Laura Gunn say the compressed air industry has really responded to their service of on-site or lab-based testing of compressed air quality. They help companies learn how to establish a firm testing protocol able to comply with the requirements of an auditor from a total quality management system such as SQF (Safe Quality Foods) Certification.



Marka Peterson, AICD President Phil Kruger (Harris Equipment) and Laura Gunn at the Trace Analytics booth (left to right).

Speaking of SQF, the gentleman who first introduced me to SQF is current AICD President Phil Kruger, the General Manager of Harris Equipment. Phil gave an excellent training session on SQF during one of the break-out sessions. He couldn’t stop smiling, by the way, over the record number of AICD Member attendees and exhibitors.


"We are excited about AICD and the opportunities we have before us.  We see ourselves as an association that can bring manufacturers and distributors together for mutual benefit.  Over the years AICD has been known for the great shows that we put on, but we are more than a show.  We are an association and we exist to provide a service and/or a value-add for every member business and exhibitor alike.  With a dynamic leadership team and the technology available to us, we will strive to bring information, products and networking opportunities to our members, providing a means for every member to become a stronger business.  I, personally, am very excited to be part of AICD as it achieves its full potential."

- Phil Kruger, AICD President


The conference side of AICD is growing. The break-out sessions included Phil Kruger’s session on SQF,  Fares Kabbani from Air Energy presented, “Valuing a Compressor Distributorship” and a round-table session with managers from several air compressor distributors spoke about “Hiring and Retaining Service Techs.” Bob Langdon was the Keynote Speaker and also conducted a break-out session. His speech was titled, “Hello to Sold.” I found many valuable pieces of information which a manager can take back to improve business profitability and the effectiveness of the sales force. One piece of advice Mr. Langdon gave really made an impression on me, “Whoever asks the questions, controls the direction of the conversation.”

Beko Technologies’ current focus on a complete suite of advanced instrumentation technologies reminds me of twenty years ago when everybody said electronic demand-drains were too expensive-and now they are standard components in most systems. Beko’s Atlanta-based U.S. business, under the leadership of Tilo Fruth, is now manufacturing significant volumes of OEM-business membrane dryers as well as heated and heatless desiccant compressed air dryers. More on this another day, but they are excited about the introduction of a new line of “hyperintelligent” heated desiccant dryers.



Joe Fecko, Adrian Fernandez, Russ Jones, and Rob Merrion with Michael Merrion (Remco Equipment Company) at the Beko Technologies booth (left to right).

Hitachi continues their push with oil-free rotary screw and oil-less scroll air compressors.  Camilo Villalobos explained the DSP Series has models ranging from 30-300 hp featuring VSD control and innovative stainless steel 1st and 2nd stage rotors with a patented HX-18 coating. The SDS Series provides larger rotary screw models from 335 to 900 hp. The oil-less scroll  SRL Series complements these product lines with stand-alone models from 2 to 7.5 hp and multiplex units from 10 to 40 hp.

Schulz Compressors, out of Acworth, Georgia, has hired industry veteran Terry Emery as their Sales Manager. Export Manager and true globe-trotter, Fabio Rosa, told me their U.S. business has seen significant growth over the past two years. With $2 million+ invested in inventory, they are proud of their fast deliveries for tank-mounted 5-20 hp reciprocating air compressors and their 15-100 hp VSD rotary screw air compressors (soon going up to 200 hp).



Fabio Rosa, Mark Nelson, Terry Emery and Janelle King (HydraFlow West) at the Schulz Compressors booth (left to right).

Chicago Pneumatic Compressors had a nice combined booth with their Pneumatech product offering. Of course, it was nice to trade war stories with Joe Fresch again. Chicago Pneumatic President, Jean-Christophe Lecocq introduced me to their new 10-20 horsepower variable speed, direct-drive rotary screw air compressor. They also provide the option to have it tank-mounted with an integrated refrigerated dryer.



Don Salamon, Joe Fresch and Jean-Christophe Lecocq at the Chicago Pneumatic booth (left to right).

Solberg has a wonderful company culture and it’s easy to see why when you meet Charlie and Tor Solberg. They continue their strong presence with intake filters and silencers for compressors and blowers, inlet filters for vacuum pumps and air/oil separators for air compressors and vacuum pumps.



Gabe Kami, Zach Balcunas, Mike DeLisi, Travis Dingee, Joe Thode and Darren Leonard at the Solberg booth (left to right).

SKF, led by Leslie Kern, introduced the new Smart Valve technology on their SFD Separator-Filter-Dryer. This point-of-use heatless desiccant dryer is interesting as it can use as little as 8% purge air while delivering a – 40 °F pressure dewpoint. The Smart Valve provides “synchronous compressor control matching dryer to compressor run times and permitting smart cycle selection.”



Anil Peddi, Leslie Kern, Jim Hughes and Rick LaFollette (Air & Hydraulic Equipment) at the SKF booth (left to right).



Ted Schultz and Kurt Peter at the Compresyn booth (left to right).



David Brockett, AICD Board Member Lisa Lewis (Michigan Air Solutions) and Don Devries at the ISEL Lubricants booth (left to right).



Michael Wlodarski and Mary Wlodarski at the Hydrothrift booth (left to right).



Nitin Shanbhag (Boge America), Janiece and Peter Humble (Enerquip), Jason and Carin Hedeen (C-Aire), Jamie Webb (Central Air Equipment) and Jerry Elsen (Boge America) at the Boge America booth.


I hope this provides a small glimpse of the event. To really understand it, one must attend! The AICD will hold the 2017 Annual Conference and Exposition, May 21-23 in Reno, Nevada. What a great site selection!


For more information, please contact Kasey Gould from the AICD or visit