The 2013 Association of Independent Compressor Distributors (AICD) Membership Conference & Exhibition
The 2013 edition of the AICD was held June 2-4 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee. A first-timer to Nashville, the venue lived up to its’ excellent reputation regarding country music, barbeque, and overall excellent service within the resort’s massive botanical gardens.
AICD Members in Attendance
Advanced Air & Vacuum
AIM of Louisiana
AIM Power & Fluids
Air Equipment Sales & Service
A.J. Kollmyer & Son
Arkansas Industrial Machinery
Atlas Machine & Supply
Compressed Air & Equipment
Compressed Air Power
Compressed Air Solutions
Compressors Air US Service
Compressed Air Technologies
Engine Service & Supply
Gregory Pool Compressed Air Systems
Industrial Air Tool
Industrial Compressor Solutions
J.D. Dickinson Compressor
John Henry Foster of Minnesota
Maddox Air Compressor
Maine Air Power
Metropolitan Air Compressor
Michigan Air Solutions
Midstate Air Compressor
National Pump & Compressor
Quality Compressed Air Services
Reapair Compressor Service
Scales Industrial Technologies
Southern Parts and Engineering
Starr and Company
The Titus Company
Vacuum Pump & Compressor
West Tennessee Air Compressor
What exceeded my expectations (and those of many I spoke to) was the “new” AICD. This was the first year the Conference was “opened up” and the new air compressor exhibitors and new distributors attending the conference took the event to another level. The AICD informed us there were just over twenty-five new compressor distributors that had signed up for AICD membership! AICD President, Manny Cafiero of Scales Industrial Technologies, said, “The AICD has begun an exciting new chapter by welcoming ALL air compressor vendors and distributors to participate.”
The speaker line-up is vendor-neutral and structured to help air compressor sales and service companies improve their businesses. Open to member companies and vendors alike, the conference room was filled to the last chair! I was not able to attend all the sessions but will provide some comments on those I did attend.
The first speaker was Dr. J. Robert Gillette, a Professor of Economics at the University of Kentucky. His presentation was titled, “State of the Economy”. He was such a dynamic speaker, it made me wish he’d been my professor in college! Mixing rambunctious patriotism with graphs, Dr. Gillette showed what an incredible wealth-building machine the U.S. economy has been over the decades. It was refreshing to take a step back and view the macro picture with the help of the trained eye. He described this last crisis as a unique “financial recession” – a crisis of confidence in our financial systems unique since the Great Depression. His future outlook was one of steady if unspectacular growth. A comment he made stuck in my mind, “China will grow its’ middle class, over the next ten years, from 230 to 630 million people.” I hope our political and business leaders can embrace a future with China rather than push it away into the arms of competitive exporters.
William “Bill” Scales, the CEO of Scales Industrial Technologies, provided an excellent presentation titled, “Changing Landscape of the Compressed Air Industry.” As new financial owners and new market entrants arrive on the scene (among the air compressor manufacturers), Bill asked distributors what questions they should be asking themselves to position themselves for the long-term. He brought feedback from sixteen people he had interviewed, asked the audience their opinion and offered his own for a very lively dialogue.
Yours truly (Rod Smith) made a presentation titled, “Advanced Trends in Compressed Air Best Practices.” As we publish the magazine I’m able to observe and write about system assessments conducted by corporations with, what I consider, “advanced” compressed air systems. I reviewed flow metering, engineering for lower pressure, and shutdown optimization actions taken by companies like Honda, Visteon, Ball Container, and Saint Gobain.
A full afternoon was dedicated to field service. Sarah Howland, Editor in Chief of Field Service Technologies, presented “The Key Components of Profitable Field Service.” She discussed mobile computing, field service software automation tools, and fleet management. Her presentation was followed by a Distributor Panel of AICD veterans, (Ron Nordby, Robert Miller, Dennis Reed, Manny Cafiero, Patrick Lorenz), who discussed “How Cost-Effective Technology & Field Service Mobility are Transforming the Industry.”
The 2013 AICD Exhibition blew out the doors with regards to exhibitors. Exhibitors who were pleased to see a record number of AICD Members from strong air compressor sales and service companies. The show hours are from 4:30 to 7:00 pm, on two consecutive evenings after the conference sessions, and I wander the booths, armed with my cheap digital camera, and salute old friends and make new ones. My apologies go out in advance to the many booths and firms not mentioned here due to the space limitations of the article.
The huge island booth that hit me, right when I walked in, was the booth of BOGE Compressors. Gavin Monn and Scott Woodward have put together a strong team, in the U.S., and had many oil-free air compressor technologies on display. This included the 60-480 hp SO Series oil-free rotary screw line and the Bluekat BC Series that allows a lubricated compressor to deliver oil-free air by means of a catalytic converter. They displayed an oil-free line-up of piston compressors with 4-15 hp units for 180 psi pressure and 7.5 hp and 15 hp boosters capable of taking ambient air (or pressurized air) to 580 psig.
Yorrick de Souza, Gavin Monn, Jerry Elsen, Andrew Nachtigall, Lutz Knoke, Scott Woodward, Wolfgang Strobelt, and Josh Chabot at the BOGE booth.
Mattei Compressors is excited about their new BLADE Series belt-drive rotary vane air compressors. Bill Kennedy and Jay Hedges were hanging out in their big “truck racing” booth talking about the durability of this new product line from Mattei. I don’t know anything about racing (except that Mattei distributors enjoy them) but I do know that this belt-drive unit is going to make a difference in their “No Vain No Gain” mission! The low rotational speeds and the solid durability of vanes have always appealed to me.
Corey and Becky Turner, Bill Kennedy, and Jay Hedges at the Mattei Compressors booth (left to right).
Sullivan Palatek Compressors had a big booth. Palatek President Steve Van Loan reluctantly divulged that the company has grown significantly over the past few years and has moved into a significantly larger space. Palatek has truly developed a loyal following of distributors who like the service-friendly and rugged design of their rotary screw air compressors.
CompAir was in attendance for the first time, displaying CompAir, Hydrovane, and Champion product lines. The broad range of rotary screw, rotary vane and reciprocating air compressor technology they have available is impressive. Good to see industry veterans like Dean Chew still telling jokes! CompAir told me they continue their traditional focus on supporting the air compressor distributor sales channel.
Richard Hinkle, Vinson Sill, Grant Hebert, Larry Rhodes, Dean Chew, Cheryl and Bill Kiker at the CompAir booth.
Elgi Compressors has certainly made some noise this year by acquiring Patton’s Inc. and followed it up with a big booth at the AICD. It was great to see Gary Valvo and Hannu Heinonen again after all these years. Elgi has assembled a veteran team of compressor people, in the U.S., and all they talk about is “uptime”! The Managing Director for ELGI, Mr. Varadaraj, was present and he explained their engineers have always designed for durability so there is never any “downtime”. ELGI designs their rotary screw compressors, for example, to withstand 115 F ambient temperatures and claim to use the largest airends in the world on specific models. They run the compressors at low rotational speeds of 1800 rpm, on average, and have announced an innovative “Lifetime Warranty” on their patented rotary screw airends.
Keith Sportsman, Jay Varadaraj, Gary Valvo, Bob Philips, and Hannu Heinonen at the ELGI Compressors booth.
FS-Curtis and FS-Elliott had a strong presence at the AICD with a nice double-sized booth. I had a good chance to talk to Brent Becker, the President of FS-Curtis, who said, “We’ve been talking to attendees about how the FS-Curtis, FS-Elliott, and ALMiG brands are working together to provide distributors the opportunities to focus on their customer’s needs.” It is interesting to see how these two historic U.S. brands have come together to offer one powerful lineup of rotary screw, reciprocating, and centrifugal air compressor technologies.
Brent Becker, Matthew Hanna, Joshua Wamser, Charlie Hovis and Kent Waldeck at the FS-Curtis, FS-Elliott and ALMiG booth.
Hankison SPX reported excellent progress with their high-capacity, energy-saving HES Series refrigerated dryers for flow capacities from 3750 to 12,500 scfm. Now just over one year after launch, Sales Manager Ray Brahm reports a solid sales volume has been experienced and that the multi-station technology is working well.
Ray Brahm and Roger Michael at the SPX Hankison booth.
JORC continues their exclusive focus on condensate management. President Eugene White said that business continues strong with both OEM and distribution sales channels. Their non-electric zero air-loss drain is seeing a lot of success as are their oil-water separators. I have always particularly liked their Air-Saver lock-down valves designed to prevent air leaks when the system is down during shut-down periods. One distributor, at the show, told me of an installation using 20+ Air-Saver lock-down valves that has saved their client a lot of energy. This big plant had a lot of leaks in the piping and these valves isolated those areas of the plant and only allowed compressed air into them when it was needed. A simple way to keep the air compressors from turning on at night!
Parker had a great island booth consolidating the multiple technologies they offer into one large booth including Parker Transair piping and Parker nitrogen generators. Parker domnick hunter is launching the new DNC Series non-cycling refrigerated air dryers for flows from 10-1200 cfm. I really liked the instrumentation on the unit as it’s made for refrigeration technicians with a suction pressure gauge and alarms for high and low refrigeration pressure. The units have a “4 in 1” aluminum heat exchanger featuring an extremely low pressure drop of only 2 psi. The units are sold standard with a 1 micron pre-filter. Parker Finite is also launching the new HX Series filter line. It has a unique end-cap to protect aftermarket and a “low clearance profile” minimizing the space required to remove the bowl to change the element. Marketing Services Manager Jane Sexton showed me their new online “Click to Chat” and “Talk to an Engineer” chat features allowing clients to ask customer service center or product related questions directly online and receive instant answers.
Dale Zimmerman, Robin Viviano, Mike Sims, Rob Lear, and Jane Sexton at the Parker booth.
HITACHI America has grown their oil-free air compressor division significantly in the U.S. After having moved into a significantly larger facility in the Charlotte area, U.S. Senior Manager, Nitin Shanbhag, reports they continue to hire new employees and recruit new distributors. The company recently unveiled their new NEXT campaign including a new oil-free rotary screw compressor line, a new air treatment line-up and master control and compressor sequencing technologies. They reported that their niche campaign has also worked well to sign up distributors for their line of oil-less scroll air compressor ranging from 1.5 to 16.5 kW.
Nano Purification Solutions continues to steam ahead. Their veteran team, led by Nick Herrig and David Peters, reports high acceptance levels of their new D-Series desiccant dryers featuring a patented combined filter and desiccant cartridge allowing users to eliminate external pre- and after-filters (although they do recommend an oil coalescer prefilter if the compressor is lubricated). The company is also introducing a truly new drying technology, called the AMT Series, of extruded activated alumina tubes. This exciting new technology has significant potential to displace many traditional drying technologies – particularly in lower-flow applications in these early stages of the technology.
Tony Hergert, Nick Herrig, Mark Lauterwasser, Kent Reddington, Johnny Smith, David Peters and Todd Allison at the Nano Purification Solutions booth.
Hydrothrift Corporation and Thermal Transfer Products both had excellent booths talking about their cooling system products. It’s great to see such a wide array of heat exchanger options for the diverse cooling system requirements out there. One thing I hear about, from end users, is a need for more engineering advice to help them reduce the energy and water consumption requirements of their systems.
Mike Wlodarski, Bruce Williams, and Bill Kiker at the Hydrothrift booth.
Stefano Gaggero and Joe Burke at the Aircom booth.
David Dieterle, Megan Ginelli, Michael Sano, and James Morrel at the Porocel booth.
Once again, the AICD was a very entertaining and educational event. It’s amazing how well Cheryl Kiker organizes and runs the whole thing. For anyone wanting more information on membership or exhibiting at the AICD, please contact Cheryl Kiker or visit www.aicd.org.