Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: Compressed Air, Chillers and Cooling Towers at NW Food & Beverage World

Northwest Food & Beverage World, held January 8-10, 2018 in Portland, Oregon, is the marquee event for Food Northwest (recently renamed and better known as the Northwest Food Processors Association).  This “nation’s largest regional show” has a 200,000 square foot exhibit floor and also has an interesting educational conference track. The show floor brings together the premier vendors of packaging and machinery with key decision makers in the Northwest’s food and beverage industry.

Forty or fifty booths were given, free of charge, to local food businesses selling their cheeses, ice creams, coffee, tea, chocolates and spirits.  The show called this section, “Taste of the Northwest”.  What a great idea to enhance a show experience and promote local small businesses. It not only provided visitors (and us exhibitors) tasty samples and refreshments, but you saw purchasing agents from regional retail chains visiting the booths and conducting business. Umpqua Dairy was my favorite with their incredible chocolate peanut butter ice cream.  Based in Roseburg, Oregon, their t-shirts quite rightly say they are “Udderly Delicious!”  The local utility incentive folks, at the Energy Trust of Oregon, told me they run an efficient plant as well - having recently received incentive funds for a new energy efficient VFD rotary screw air compressor for their system. Visit

Yes, I did do something besides eat ice cream and drink coffee during this trip. Compressed air, chiller and cooling tower experts were well represented at the show. I’ll try to provide a quick glimpse of what they were exhibiting and talking about.


Compressed Air Systems

Portland is home to the headquarters of the Rogers Machinery Company.   They had a busy booth where they displayed their new K Series of “heavy duty” lubricated rotary screw air compressors and vacuum pumps.  “The K Series is designed, assembled and tested at our Centralia (Washington) facility,” said Rogers President and CEO Andrew Regan. “To support the growth forecasts for the K Series, we broke ground in January on a new 51,000 square foot building in Centralia.”  The 10 to 500 horsepower K Series product line has single and two-stage units, air and water-cooled options, and standard fixed and variable speed drive units. The flow range is  from 35 to 2621 scfm at 40 to 200 psi.  Director of Global Sales, Lane Hawkinson, is leading the team selling the product internationally, “The success of our oil-free rotary screw Kobelco KNW Series has created demand for an equally heavy-duty lubricated rotary screw product offering.”  Visit

Rogers Machinery NFBWRandy Haugstad, Conrad Morrow, Cameron McKillop and “Captain” Tyler Courtney at the Rogers Machinery booth next to a KNW Series oil-free rotary screw air compressor (left to right).

Beckwith & Kuffel is the longtime Gardner Denver distributor serving the Pacific Northwest out of the three Washington offices in Seattle, Vancouver and Spokane. They represent the full line of GD compressed air, blower and vacuum technologies. At the show they said they were receiving inquiries for the Gardner Denver EnviroAire oil-free scroll air compressor and also for the Gardner Denver Quick-Lock (< 2 ½” diameter) and Big-Lock (>2 ½” diameter) aluminum piping systems. They also represent Wilden pumps and I had an interesting conversation with Nicholas Kuffel about how they teach customers on how to optimize their use of AODD (Air-Operated Double-Diaphragm) pumps. “We have many applications where the reliable and rugged performance of AODD technology makes it the perfect solution,” said Kuffel. “The Wilden ProFlowShift technology significantly reduces the compressed air consumption on particularly their 2” and 3” inlet connection AODD pumps.”  This technology provides a mechanical solution to automatically reduce AODD “purge air” and displace more volume per stroke of the pump. Visit

Beckwith & Kuffel at NFBWTim Wright, Nicholas Kuffel and Bobby Thompson at the Beckwith & Kuffel booth (left to right).

Cascade Machinery & Electric was founded in 1918 in Seattle and has a branch office in Portland.  They offer pick-up and delivery services in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Portland, Spokane and Boise. Like many Pacific Northwest firms, Cascade has a diversified business covering compressed air systems, process pumps and electric motor (motors, drives, starters) products.  A pretty big piece of news I learned is Cascade Cascade Machinery & Electric now represents Quincy Compressor products in the Northwest.  Their other main product lines are Becker vacuum pumps and Warren Rupp pumps.  Cascade’s Kirk Jackson said, “Our business is growing reflecting the growth in residential and commercial construction. This demand has helped the industries supporting construction and driven demand for air compressors and vacuum pumps.” Visit

Cascade Engineering at NFBWSteve Hefflin, Kirk Jackson and David Frost (Quincy Compressor) at the Cascade Machinery & Electric booth (left to right).

I had an interesting visit at the Donaldson booth. Donaldson has expertise with sterile air, culinary steam and liquid filtration products used in process industries. The primary purpose of their P-SRF and P-SRF N sterile filters is to filter out bacteria. They can withstand up to 100 sterilization cycles without loss of integrity. They are installed in either aluminum, hybrid aluminum/stainless steel or all-stainless steel housings. The housing type used depends upon whether a Sterilization-in-Place (SIP) or a Autoclave sterilization process is used.  The performance of these sterile filters is protected, upstream, by standard compressed air dryers, filters and drains. Visit

Donaldson at NFBWAdam Iverson and Lisa Kiichle displayed sterile filtration systems at the Donaldson booth.

My visit to the Summit booth was both educational and enjoyable (those Texans know how to kid each other)!  We discussed food-grade lubricants and how many brands on the market are not designed for more than 5,000 hours. I actually had a pet food processor visit my booth and say that exact thing. Summit’s food grade lubricant is guaranteed to last 10,000 hours and Jim Hamilton (who says he’s retiring but I don’t believe him) explained, “Summit lubricants have always been formulated specifically for air compressors – by air compressor people – and that’s why they perform uniquely well.” Jim owned an Ingersoll Rand distributor in Los Angeles - before joining Summit as their 2nd employee – 35 years ago!  And you wonder why, after 26 years, I still feel like a compressed air rookie sometimes.  “All of Summit’s food grade lubricants are registered with NSF® for H1 application,” said Ike Trexler – Summit’s Food & Beverage Industry Manager. “Our facility is NSF certified to meet the ISO 21469 standard.” The guys, when they were done insulting each other, also said their electric (heater-based) oil water separator and their Sublime water scale solvent for heat exchangers is working very well. A new product for me was Varnisol – able to lower air compressor discharge temperatures by dissolving varnish.  Summit also offers a comprehensive Oil Analysis program. Visit

Summit at NFBWDoyle Hartman, Ike Trexler and Jim Hamilton at the Summit Lubricants booth (left to right).

Valin is a San Jose, California diversified wholesale distribution company bringing technology and application engineering to industry. They have branches spread across ten states ranging from Washington to Texas. They represent Parker Balston products. I spoke to Parker Balston’s Western Regional Sales Manager Valerie Allison and with Patrick Hyland who is the Parker Balston product specialist at the Valin Portland branch.  They said the food industry and the laser cutting industries continue to see the logic of using nitrogen generators (using compressed air).  “Clients don’t want to worry about nitrogen dewar delivery issues,” Hyland said. “They also appreciate not losing any nitrogen as they do in their liquid nitrogen systems.”  Both also reported success with their Parker Balston compressed air purification products, “Valin performs SQF (Safe Quality Foods) Compressed Air Quality Assessments for clients on a quarterly basis,” said Hyland. Valin also designs pneumatic systems for their clients. I had a good conversation with Bill Nevils, Valin’s Technical Specialist for Pneumatics and Automation. According to Nevils, “Most clients could optimize their pneumatic circuits to use less flow and operate at lower pressures.” Nevils tries to educate his OEM clients on “dual pressure” opportunities eliminating needless compressed air consumption on the backstroke of a pneumatic cylinder. Visit

Valin at NFBWValerie Allison (Parker Balston) and Patrick Hyland standing next to a fully enclosed Parker Balston nitrogen generator at the Valin booth.

Chiller, Cooling Tower and Wastewater Systems

Fox Engineering is based out of Oregon City and has been providing process systems and equipment associated with heat transfer, environmental quality, steam process and HVAC since 1984.  They work extensively with Evapco cooling towers in the Northwest. Fox Sales Engineer Randy Vielmetti told me about their 2017 project installing Evapco AXS Crossflow Cooling Towers at the Portland International Airport. We then discussed the new Eco-Air line of air-cooled condensers from Evapco. “More and more clients want to reduce water consumption,” said Vielmetti. “The eco-Air series offers fully dry and adiabatic condensers.”  He also said there was demand for their “1/2 wet and ½ dry” system offered in the Evapco Eco-Line of cooling towers. Specifically eco-ATW and eco-ATWE Series units using an extended surface spiral fin heat exchanger designed to use cold ambient air conditions instead of water - when cold temperatures permit.  They also work extensively with Lakos heat transfer filtration products designed to protect heat exchangers, evaporative condensers and cooling towers. Visit

Fox Engineering Randy Vielmetti and Tony Galvan (Schreiber Water) at the Fox Engineering booth (left to right).

Clean Water Technologies is a global provider of water and wasteater solutions. The company designs, builds and installs primary, secondary (MBR and Anaerobic Reactors) and tertiary treatment systems. Their main U.S. office is in Los Angeles and I spoke with Project Manager Jason Hicks. Their GEM primary treatment system is being retrofitted into plants replacing their DAF (Dissolved Air Flotation) systems.  A benefit they claim is “superior aeration” with this GEM system as they inject 100-120 psi compressed air into 100% of the wastewater stream before flocculation occurs. Visit

My booth neighbors at the show were from Apcco – a very important industrial refrigeration and mechanical contracting firm. Established in 1981 and headquartered in the California central valley, this Modesto based firm focuses on supporting the process cooling needs of the food industry across the whole West Coast. They have long standing partnerships with Baltimore Aircoil, Johnson Controls, Evapco, Frick and many other important vendors. Visit

ApccoSteve Barton, Charles Beckwith and Gary Dunn at the APCCO booth (left to right).
Magazines at NWFP showCompressed Air Best Practices and Blower & Vacuum Best Practices Magazines greeted show visitors as they arrived.

About Northwest Food & Beverage World

Northwest Food & Beverage World is held annually in Portland, Oregon.  Next year the event will be held January 14-16, 2019. It is the marquee event of Food Northwest. For more information please visit

The NWFPA (Northwest Food Processors Association) recently announced their renaming to Food Northwest. This association was founded in 1914 as a canners association. Food Northwest supports the needs of the Pacific Northwest food processing industry in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. For more information visit

To read more about the Food Industry, please visit