Industrial Utility Efficiency

SHOW REPORT: The 2019 Best Practices EXPO & Conference – Another Success!

Nashville, Tennessee, will forever be known for great music and hospitality – yet attendees of the BEST PRACTICES EXPO & Conference held October 13-16, 2019 will also remember it as a place where they discovered numerous ways to save energy, conserve water and improve plant profitability by optimizing industrial utilities, including compressed air, steam, motors, vacuum, blower and cooling systems.

2019 Best Practices EXPO Show floor

The Best Practices event drew 850 attendees – representing a 15% increase from the inaugural event in 2018 - and took place at the Nashville Music City Center. This year’s EXPO portion of the event grew to 100+ exhibitors, climbing 35% vs. prior year. EXPO attendance was free for qualified industry personnel.

The event brought together technology experts, systems assessment professionals, and manufacturing leaders – all of whom shared best practices and ideas manufacturing plants can use to save energy, improve sustainability initiatives and increase the overall reliability and quality of on-site utilities.

We didn’t forget music in The Music City! Attendees were treated to networking events including an Opening Reception at the Skye Lounge, offering a 360 degree sunset and night of Nashville, and a fun Closing Party at Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar on Broadway in the middle of all the honky-tonks!

The publishers of Compressed Air Best Practices®, Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Chiller & Cooling Best Practices magazines produced the three-day event. Rod Smith, Show Producer and Publisher of Smith Onandia Communications, said the event was a success by every measure.  “We are very pleased to see this event gain momentum as a premier destination for optimizing industrial on-site utilities like steam, motors, compressed air, vacuum, blower and cooling systems – all in one place.” Smith continued, “It’s exciting to hear manufacturing and technology leaders share knowledge on how managing these inter-related utilities can improve profitability, quality, reliability and protect the environment. It’s also promising to see industrial sales channels engineer multiple technologies to help manufacturing achieve these critical goals. This is why we hold the Treasure Hunt Raffle recognizing factory personnel and sales engineers.”

Mike Lattanzia and Edward Moran 

Application Engineers determine our energy future! On Day 2 of the Daily \$1,000 Treasure Hunt Raffle, Tate Engineering Systems had two raffle winners! Pictured are Mike Lattanzia and Edward Moran receiving their Treasure Chests, with \$250 each, from Rod Smith!


The Best Practices Educational Conference

The conference consisted of four highly focused educational tracks running simultaneously for 2 ½ days featuring nearly 100 expert speakers from both the factory side and the technology/system assessment side:

  • Track 1: Quality, Safety & Management
  • Track 2: Facility Maintenance & Reliability
  • Track 3: Energy Conservation/IoT Monitoring
  • Track 4: Water Conservation/Energy Management

Conference speakers included leading systems assessment experts from the United States and Canada, as well as representatives of Compressed Air & Gas Institute, Compressed Air Challenge®, the U.S. Department of Energy Better Plants® Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ENERGY STAR® for Industry program, Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation (TDEC), Tennessee Tech University Industrial Assessment Center, and Nashville Electric Service.

Leading managers from well-recognized manufacturing companies, such as General Mills, Baxter Healthcare, AMCOR, Volkswagen, Jack Daniels, Eastman, Nissan North America, and Ball Beverage Packaging among others, provided invaluable insights and best practices for both challenges – and successes – with a variety of optimization projects.


Co-Sponsors: The Compressed Air and Gas Institute and TVA EnergyRight® Solutions for Business & Industry

The Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) is celebrating 100 years of industry leadership – and much success – which is no surprise given its passion for initiatives that offer immeasurable value. At CAGI’s booth, Chad Larrabee described CAGI’s newest offering: The Certified Compressed Air System Specialist (CCASS) program. It provides a means of verifying the capabilities of professionals in the industry. It also helps qualified experts differentiate themselves as certified air professionals, while giving customers, utilities and employers confidence in their skills. CAGI is also hard at work developing its Certified Compressed Air System Assessor (CCASA), which is designed for practitioners who perform assessments, or audits, of compressed air systems. It also serves as a means of verifying an assessor's understanding of and the ability to apply the ANSI/ASME EA-4 and ISO 11011 standards. The certification programs are in addition to CAGI’s well-known work in equipment performance verification, as well as providing a wealth of educational resources, including its e-Learning program and its downloadable Compressed Air & Gas Handbook. Visit to learn more.

CAGI 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Patrick Britton, Chris Johnson, Bruce McFee, Rob Haseley, and Chad Larrabee at the CAGI booth (left to right).

One of the “Coolest Booth Awards” has to go to TVA EnergyRight® Solutions for Business & Industry (TVA ERSB+1). The coffee-shop themed booth served made-to-order coffee with the organization’s logo stamped onto the foam of the coffee itself! Of course, a hot refreshment was only a bonus for booth visitors who learned how TVA ERSB+1 supports companies that adopt smart technologies to increase productivity, reduce their carbon footprint or enhance their competitiveness. One form of support is guidance and tips about energy use and productivity offered by energy experts. Additionally, experts perform on-site evaluations and provide recommendations for improving industrial processes. All that, plus TVA ERSB+1 offers financial incentives for qualifying companies to help cover the costs. Most importantly to our event, they generously sponsored a Compressed Air Challenge Level 1 Fundamentals Course attracting customers (including Jack Daniels!) to the show.

TVA Energy Right 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Virginia Barry, Clay Hoover and Jason Snyder at the TVA EnergyRight® Solutions for Business & Industry booth (left to right).


Supporting Organizations

One of our highlights this year was working together with the Tennessee Department of Energy & Conversation (TDEC). TDEC team shared insights into its many services and programs, such as the Tennessee Green Star Partnership (TGSP) program. Thanks to the program, which focuses on knowledge sharing and recognition of successful sustainability efforts, TGSP members have achieve impressive results. During TDEC’s fiscal years 2017-2018, participating members reduced energy use by 144,925 MWh for a savings of \$23,645,267. They also reduced solid waste by 294,049 tons.

Mark Valencia, Caleb Powell and Vaughn Cassidy

Mark Valencia, Caleb Powell and Vaughn Cassidy at the TDEC booth (left to right).

Compressed Air Challenge (CAC) instructors taught a Level 1 Fundamentals Course for TVA ERSB+1 customers. In addition, at the CAC booth, Joe Ghislain explained how the non-profit organization is opening up new levels of sponsorship opportunities. Led by President Steve Briscoe, CAC continues to help compressed air users realize the benefits of improving the performance of their compressed air systems, through the delivery of their excellent training seminars.

CAC 2019 Best Practices EXPO

 Joe Ghislain at the Compressed Air Challenge booth.



This year’s EXPO portion of the event grew to 100+ exhibitors, climbing 35% when compared with the inaugural event in 2018. Attendance was free for qualified industry personnel.  Technologies on display included all types of air compressors, controllers, measurement instruments, as well as motors, pneumatics, air purification, piping and lubricants. Numerous booths featured blowers and vacuum pumps. There were also six cooling system technology booths, exhibiting everything from chillers and heat exchangers to unique water treatment solutions.

What follows is a report recognizing the major sponsors of the event plus a sampling of booths the editorial team visited in the allotted hours. Keep an eye out for our e-newsletters with more reports to come on specific technologies. Our apologies to all exhibitors not mentioned or photographed here.


Diamond Sponsors: Kaeser Compressors and BEKO Technologies

This year marks the 100th Anniversary of Kaeser Compressors! And it’s clear the company continues to deliver innovation after innovation. An example was its Custom Engineered Solution on display at the Kaeser booth. These complete turnkey and cost-effective compressed air, blower and vacuum systems are built to specification, meaning there is no need to build a new room to house the system, or add on to an existing building – reducing onsite planning and installation. In addition to these benefits, Marketing Services Manager Michael Camber said other benefits include the ability to place the system in a favorable location and ambient environment or even to address safety concerns. Often, Camber added, the solution also eliminates delays in the process of designing and installing a complete system.

At the Kaeser booth, Greg Ashe talked about the excitement building for the company’s acquisition of PillAerator GmBH earlier this year. The acquisition adds turbo blowers to the Kaeser line of rotary lobe and rotary screw blowers. Ashe described key features of the PillAerator Series blowers (available with flows up to 10,000 cfm), including a direct-drive magnetic bearing motor and intelligent control system. The blower can reach isentropic efficiency of up to 84%, which achieves energy savings up of to 25% when compared with conventional rotary blowers. The blowers are well suited for use in wastewater applications and industrial applications with pressures up to 20 psi.

Kaeser 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Greg Ashe, Michael Camber, Stephen Horne, Frank Mueller and Wayne Perry at the Kaeser Compressors booth (left to right).

BEKO Technologies lit things up at EXPO, but not only because the team wore electric name tags. Instead, it displayed innovative products like the DRYPOINT® RA VSD Variable Speed Refrigerated Dryer. The highly efficient dryer line has models rated from 800 to 6,000 scfm. Among the many features are two VSDs, including one on the refrigeration compressor and another on the condenser fan. The end result, said Russ Jones, is the dryer’s ability to match the demand of the compressed air system – in turn saving energy. The unit is also equipped with an integrated, level controlled BEKOMAT® condensate drain, which is specifically designed to drain off condensate without the loss of compressed air, to reduce energy costs and CO2 emissions.

BEKO 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Josh Borrego, Jason Hobbs, Russ Jones and Adrian Fernandez at the BEKO Technologies both (left to right).


Platinum Sponsors: Atlas Copco, Hertz, Mattei, SPX FLOW, PneuTech and Apureda

At the busy Atlas Copco booth, TJ Estes walked me through the SF range of oil-free scroll air compressors, rated from 3 to 30 hp. Designed as a complete package, the air compressors combine the scroll element, drive motor, aftercooler and starter in a single compact unit. The SF scroll air compressors are also available as full-feature units equipped with an integrated refrigerant air dryer. In addition, the air compressors are built with a sound-insulated canopy to keep noise levels as low as 53 dBA. These air compressors are for use wherever the need for oil-free, energy-efficient and quiet-running air compressors is at a premium.

Atlas Copco also displayed its GHS 730 VSD+, oil-sealed rotary screw vacuum pump, which taps into the continued growth in demand for energy-saving variable Speed Drive (VSD) technology. At the booth, Walter See described how the VSD vacuum pump (rated from 40 to 430 acfm) uses a unique setpoint control to optimize energy use while maintaining process vacuum levels. The unit is specifically designed to deliver the lowest possible flow to match the required level or speed so nothing is wasted. Additionally, the GHS 350-1900 VSD+ Series are equipped with a patented oil separator design that ensures filtration to less than three (3) mg/m3 - even under the greatest load.

Walter See, Chris Dominick, Jarett Lieser, Chris George, Steve Bos and TJ Estes

Walter See, Chris Dominick, Jarett Lieser, Chris George, Steve Bos and TJ Estes at the Atlas Copco booth (left to right).

The team at Hertz Kompressoren proudly showcased its portfolio of Eagle Series oil-free rotary screw air compressors. Bob Groendyke said the new line of air compressors, which is validated to ISO 8573-1 Class 0 Quality Classes, ranges from 50 to 430 horsepower. Highlights of the new air compressors include a proven airend and a range of Variable Speed Drive models, making them suitable for a host of applications where oil-free air is essential, such as the food, beverage and electronics industries.

Hertz 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Stephanie Brockman, Bob Groendyke and Sergio Lopez at the Hertz Kompressoren booth (left to right).

Another company marking a major 100-year milestone is Mattei, which has been manufacturing air compressors since 1919! Mattei is also well known for its “bearing-less” propriety rotary vane technology. Bill Kennedy took time at the booth to describe how their Blade air compressors are well suited for a wide variety of small and medium-size businesses, especially given the units’ ability to produce compressed air at a low specific energy cost (scfm per kW) – and at noise levels as low as 61 dBA.

Mattei 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Bill Kennedy, Dale Mays, Silvia Barone and Andy Brinka at the Mattei booth (left to right).

At the booth of Apureda Group, excitement was everywhere as the company introduced itself to the North American compressed air industry. Based in China, Apureda Group manufactures a broad line of quality compressed air dryers and filters, as well as air-oil and air-water separators. It also offers a stainless-steel line of piping. Jackey Lee described how their air-oil separators are engineered with an innovative technology comprised of a pleated and wrapped structure with a high-quality media. The result is a maximum service life of 8,000 hours.

 Austin Wang and Jackey Lee at the Apureda Group booth

Austin Wang and Jackey Lee at the Apureda Group booth (left to right).

Complementing their line of rotary screw air compressors, the buzz at the PneuTech booth was the new Unipipe™ line of modular aluminum piping for compressed air, inert gases, high pressure oil lines and vacuum. Derrick Taylor of PneuTech was clearly “pumped” about the new piping system, noting it represents the broadest range of sizes in the market. The heavy-wall pipe, which requires no special tools for fast assembly and installation, is available in 13 sizes from three-quarters to 10 inches in diameter and suitable for wide pressure ranges from high vacuum to 1,000 psi.

PneuTech 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Brad Taylor, Anina Diener, Derrick Taylor, Jeffrey Vaughn, Natasha Taylor and Trevor Kendall at the PneuTech booth (left to right).

SPX Flow drew a crowd with its expanded line of Flex Series refrigerated air dryers, which are now available with flow rates from 75 to 2,000 scfm. Just one of the many energy saving features of the cycling dryers is an innovative way in which they efficiently remove liquid contaminants from compressed air. It involves the use of patented 4-in-1 heat exchangers and a Phase Change Material (PCM). The results, said Chris Spainhower, is the need to cycle the refrigerant compressors less often than conventional dryers for improved energy savings.

SPX Flow 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Vic Zanchetta, Russell Martin, Ryan Remington, and Chris Spainhower at the SPX Flow booth (left to right).


Walking the Show

David Andrews at Sullair was excited to outline the latest enhancements of the LS Series lubricated rotary screw air compressors rated from 126 to 200 hp. This includes the introduction of the LS160 model (up to 150 psig), featuring an enhanced airend package with a 260-millimeter rotor profile and improved inlet valve designed to boost free air delivery and increase efficiency compared with previous models. The units are also engineered for ease of service and feature Sullair’s capacity control options, including the company’s proven Spiral Valve Technology, as well as a VSD option.

Sullair 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Brian Mann, Nate Price, David Andrews, Amanda Hunter, Amy Offord and Manhar Grewal at the Sullair booth (left to right).

Congratulations are also in order for Sullivan-Palatek, which celebrates its 25-35 Anniversary! Bruce McFee explained the 35th year anniversary marks the company’s founding as Palatek in Michigan City, Michigan. Meanwhile, the 25th anniversary celebrates GHS Corporation’s purchase of Palatek. GHS previously owned Sullivan, a maker of diesel-powered portable air compressors. The company then became known as Sullivan-Palatek, which now has more than 185 employees, along with a booming OEM airend division, as well as one of the widest ranges of industrial electric and portable diesel air compressors available.

Palatek 2019 Best Practices EXPO

David Smith, Andrew McFee, Mike Kropp, Bruce McFee, Mike Gonder and Jerry Rodriguez at the Sullivan-Palatek booth (left to right).

Parker Hannifin displayed its new Magnum Series PLC Controller, which Scott Scheuerlein explained, takes its Magnum Series of large capacity compressed air dryers from 4,000 to 25,000 scfm to the next level. The Allen-Bradley® controller features a seven-inch HMI touch interface with full color graphic display. Just some of the benefits include automatic data logging and trending, along with user-friendly help screens to aid in trouble shooting. Next, Bill Duffel walked me through the Parker Transair aluminum piping system for compressed air applications, available from one-half inch to six inches in diameter. Aside from providing ease of use and cost-savings, the system can be equipped with an air system condition monitoring system. It lets users monitor their system in real-time from anywhere to ensure uptime and improved performance.

Parker 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Britney Bond, Waverly Wituski, Mike Popielec, Nate Holliday, Scott Scheuerlein, Jim Treadway, Ellen Baranack, and Bill Duffel at the Parker Hannifin booth (left to right).

At the HydroThrift booth, Paul Heston explained how the company’s PCX closed-loop cooling system improves uptime and longevity of equipment such as water-cooled air compressors. Unlike an open cooling tower that often contains dirty water, the engineered, liquid-to-liquid PCX system uses a plate-and frame or a shell and tube type heat exchanger to cool equipment via a closed loop configuration. The system then uses a water-glycol mixture, or other clean heat transfer fluid, for cooling. Doing so prevents scaling and fouling of the air compressor’s heat exchangers. The ability to control flow, temperature and pressure also contributes to uptime and longer equipment life. 

Hydrothrift 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Keith Beatty and Paul Heston at the HydroThrift booth (left to right).

At the Sauer Compressors USA booth, David Swartz explained why they have earned a reputation as a leader in high-performance, high-pressure piston air compressors used in shipping, naval equipment and other offshore activities, in addition to other demanding industrial applications. One reason is quality products like the Mistral WP22L, two-stage air-cooled and direct drive air compressor on display. The compact unit delivers high-pressure air (up to 600 psig) and is commonly used on ships for engine starting air. Swartz said the company backs its quality claim with the availability of guaranteed replacement parts for 35 years! They also have technical service support and service engineers located on all continents and in major ports.

Sauer 2019 Best Practices EXPO

David Swartz, Crystal Wilson, Jim Riley and John Temple at the Sauer Compressors USA booth (left to right).

The FS-Curtis booth displayed an impressive two-stage airend, the key feature of their line of NxHE two-stage, oil-lubricated rotary screw air compressors. Scott Folsom explained how the two-stage airend can save up to 15% in energy when compared with air compressors using a single-stage airend, while also delivering more airflow. The end results, he said, is the ability to support their goal of helping customers save energy while ensuring the continued reliability of their systems.

FS-Curtis 2019 Best Practices EXPO

Scott Folsom, Matt Smith and Kevin Miller at the FS-Curtis booth (left to right).

Visualizing Key Performance Indicators on computer screens will drive more and more compressed air system efficiency improvements. With matching pants and vests with neon shirts underneath, the Airleader team turned heads on the EXPO floor and the Opening Reception. The firm recently released its new Cloud Service technology, which works with their Master Controller and allows people to connect to their Airleader units and compressed air systems remotely from anywhere in the world. It’s an especially important technology since every compressed air system should be monitored to achieve the best results! 

2019 Best Practices EXPO Airleader

Werner Weidner, Nick Skupien, Uwe Kottman, Joe Holaday, Marius Hoetzel and Jan Hoetzel at the Airleader booth (left to right).

At the Mikropor booth, the new buzz was their preliminary announcement of their investment into a new 26-acre headquarters for the Americas in the Michigan City area!  On the product front, their focus is on how their MK Series cycling refrigerated dryer can address all three contaminants covered in a ISO 8573.1 compressed air quality specification: solid particulates, moisture and oil – and at what pressure drop.  An innovation here is the decision to create an ISO 8573.1 Quality Classes 1.4.1 air treatment package with an overall pressure drop of less than 3 psi – remarkable! This is possible because they use oversized 1 micron pre-filters and 0.01 ppm post-filters inside the cabinet. 

2019 Best Practices EXPO Mikropor

Jeff Crutchfield, Nitin Shanbhag and Volkan Ayhan, next to a Mikropor MK Series Refrigerated Dryer (left to right).

Jorc Industrial is a well-known leader in condensate management and proud to have been making condensate drains since 1997. On display at the booth was the Smart-Guard-Mini Zero Air Loss Condensate Drain. Ideal for use with filters or refrigerated dryers of up to 350 scfm, this level-sensing drain has a maximum working pressure of 230 psi. The Smart-Guard-Mini also features a test button to verify the drain is functioning and an internal sensor to detect potential drain blockage. In the case of a blockage, the Smart-Guard-Mini internal sensor will pulsate the valve to attempt to clear the drain. 

2019 Best Practices EXPO Jorc

Darren J. de Bie, General Manager, with the Jorc Smart-Guard-Mini Zero Air Loss Condensate Drain.



All in all, the level of excitement and knowledge sharing shown at the 2019 BEST PRACTICES EXPO & Conference in Nashville can only mean one thing: next year’s event in Chicago on September 20-23, 2020 is not to be missed. Mark your calendar!

Read the second article SHOW REPORT EXTRA: IoT, Motors and Lubricants at the 2019 BEST PRACTICES EXPO & Conference, here:

More information about the 2020 event will be posted soon at . For the 2020 Exhibitor Prospectus, or to propose a Presentation Abstract please contact Rod Smith at email:


To read more about optimizing compressed air systems, visit; for blower & vacuum systems, visit; and for cooling systems, visit