Storied histories; FS-Elliott has manufactured centrifugal air compressors in Export, PA since 1962. FS-Curtis began manufacturing Masterline heavy-duty reciprocating air compressors in St. Louis, MO in 1897.
There’s a lot to be said about compressed air companies FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis, which together bring a host of solutions to the marketplace. What rises to the top, however, is their ability to meet a wide range of customers’ needs, thanks to synergies offered on a global scale – in addition to ongoing investments in facilities and resources.
FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis are a combined force, yet each comes to the table with well-established and highly reliable brands of compressed air products. This means they’re fully prepared to tackle customers' goals individually or by working together seamlessly and all with the backing of Fusheng Industrial and parent company Fusheng Group, a Taiwanese-based corporation with annual sales in excess of $2 billion and 20,000-plus employees.
Leaders of FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis say they have it covered when it comes to helping customers meet their compressed air goals, whether the technology centers on centrifugal, reciprocating, rotary screw, scroll, or hybrid solutions.
“We’re one of the few companies that can offer the whole range of products,” said Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer of FS-Elliott. “But we’re not trying to push the customer down a particular route; we’re looking to figure out, ‘What’s the best answer with the available technologies?’ That’s a huge benefit we can bring, and we encourage that investigation from the customers’ side.”
“It’s a benefit that’s delivered , in a streamlined fashion since no corporate procedures or policies stand in the way of getting it done,” said FS-Curtis President Robert Lee
“We truly do have the ability without restriction to look at the needs of the customer and propose the best solution,” Lee said.
Paul Brown, Chief Executive Officer, FS-Elliott.
Robert Lee, President, FS-Curtis.
Long and Rich Compressed Air Histories
FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis each have long and rich histories, both of which are complemented by Fusheng Industrial with its own well-established reputation in the global compressed air industry.
FS-Curtis dates to 1854, when it began producing industrial equipment at its headquarters in Saint Louis, Missouri. In 1897, it began producing its Masterline Compressors line of heavy-duty reciprocating air compressors, which is still available and in demand today. Fusheng Industrial acquired FS-Curtis in 2005, and since then, FS-Curtis has thrived.
In 1962, FS-Elliott entered the industry with the first oil-free, integrally geared, multi-stage centrifugal air compressor. The innovative machine ultimately led to the PAP Plus line of centrifugal air compressors that remain popular today. In the late 1990s, Elliott Company and Fusheng Industrial formed a joint venture to build a packaging facility in Shanghai, China, which later resulted in the packaging and selling of the PAP Plus centrifugal air compressor line in the Asia market. In 2003, Fusheng Industrial acquired the same product line to create FS-Elliott Co., LLC.
Established in 1953, Fusheng Group began operations in Taiwan as a small company that overhauled all types of air compressors. It expanded its reach in the compressed air industry through acquisitions, such as those with FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis under the umbrella of Fusheng Industrial, in addition to various mergers. Fusheng Group is also the largest golf club head manufacturer in the world, with decades of experience in casting, forging, and carbon fiber forming. It also has a significant presence in the semiconductor industry.
The FS-Elliott manufacturing floor for oil-free, integrally geared, multi-stage centrifugal air compressors in Export, Pennsylvania.
FS-Curtis Masterline pumps being prepared for tank assembly in 1897.
FS-Elliott Rises to a New Level
Like Fusheng Industrial, FS-Elliott began as a small operation, but decision-makers knew the future was ripe with opportunity, said Brown.
“When FS-Elliott formed in 2003, the acquisition was essentially a lot of air compressor drawings and about 48 people,” he said, noting that manufacturing for the company at that time was managed by the former parent, Elliott Company. “The reputation of the brand was really one of a highly efficient, robust machine. It was fortunate that we retained the Elliott name, so people understand who we are still.”
Plans in 2003 called for taking the air compressor brand to a new level with investments in facilities and resources, Brown said. That included a new manufacturing plant in Export, Pennsylvania, as well as a new plant in China. Brown pointed to recent upgrades at the Export plant as an example of Fusheng’s commitment to manufacturing capabilities that contribute to quality products and services.
“We have recently expanded the floor space and added machine tools, including two beautiful Mazak Integrex five-axis machining centers,” he said. In all, the company expanded the manufacturing and warehouse space to 180,000 square feet. “We’ve also added a service training center here so our channel partners and our direct-service team can tear down, rebuild, and start air compressors in reality rather than operating them in theory. It’s added a lot of quality to our service teams around the world.”
FS-Elliott’s main products manufactured at the Export facility include industrial centrifugal air compressors with models ranging from 250 horsepower (hp) to 3,000 hp in two and three-stage configurations that deliver up to 250 psig discharge pressure. Its engineered PAP Plus centrifugal air compressors, with models ranging from 250 to 5,000 hp in one-, two-, three-, and four-stage configurations, deliver up to 450 psig discharge pressure. The company additionally specializes in designing, manufacturing, and rigorous testing of airends utilized in air compressor production at various facilities worldwide. The Export facility has experienced substantial growth, now employing a workforce of over 200 skilled professionals.
Fusheng Industrial is investing in FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis. Pictured is one of two new Mazak Integrex five-axis machining centers installed as part of a recent manufacturing and warehousing expansion at FS-Elliott’s Export, PA facility.
FS-Curtis Leverages Strategy for Growth
FS-Curtis continues to design and manufacture air compressors at its plant in Saint Louis as it did nearly 160 years ago, although the manufacturing operation has grown and evolved technically since then to employ approximately 200 people.
Lee said Fusheng Industrial’s decision to bring FS-Curtis in the fold, as with FS-Elliott, speaks to the company’s strategy for growth, which relies in part on making and servicing products in the regions of the world where customers are located.
“We know in order to succeed in any country, you need more than just a distributor,” Lee said. “You really need that presence, whether it’s manufacturing or warehousing, as well as sales and marketing.”
In addition to channel partners throughout North America and Latin America, FS-Curtis operates company distributorships. They include California Air Compressor Company with locations in Los Angeles and San Diego, California; FS-Compression Houston, Missouri City, Texas; Comp Air-Service with locations in Miami, Tampa Bay, Orlando, Florida, and Valdosta, Georgia; FS-Compression Pittsburgh, Export, Pennsylvania; and FS-Compression Mid-Atlantic, Greensboro, North Carolina.
FS-Curtis is well-known for its reciprocating air compressors ranging from .75 to 300 hp and are available in lubricated-, oil-free-, and gas-driven models. Its rotary screw air compressors are available from 5 to 500 hp models in fixed or variable-speed options, as well as single- and two-stage options. It also offers oil-less scroll air compressors, as well as a line of air- and water-cooled centrifugal air compressors from 250 to 350 hp.
"While we've continued to offer the dependable reciprocating air compressors we've been manufacturing for more than a century, FS-Curtis has undergone a significant transformation in the last eight years. This transformation stems from Fusheng's unwavering commitment to designing a top-tier global rotary product line." Lee said, emphasizing the success of its Nx Series of rotary screw air compressors.
The assembly area for CT Series reciprocating air compressors at the FS-Curtis plant in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Customers’ Needs Drive Success
Lee and Brown are upbeat about the future for FS-Curtis and FS-Elliott, given strong distributor representation in key geographies, new product strategies, and the continued infusion of investments and resources from a financially strong parent company.
The primary focus for FS-Curtis, said Lee, is to continue to grow its channel partners while continuing to develop and introduce new products, including oil-free air compressors. The long view, he said, is to introduce air compressors that complement centrifugal machines.
“We want to offer up that full complementary line,” he said, with an eye toward addressing market demand. “Where are gaps in the market? Let’s go after it.”
Brown said demand for centrifugal air compressors is growing, which FS-Elliott is well-prepared to satisfy. He cites the desire of manufacturers in North America for larger machines as an example.
“Typically, we’ve seen that 500 to 1,000 horsepower (size machines) is common. Now we’re seeing that grow into 1,200, 1,500, 2,000, and 2,500 horsepower. More of the plants we’re seeing are larger scale manufacturing plants,” he said.
Air compressor sizes aside, the customer’s situation drives the decision when it comes to solutions, said Brown.
“It’s important you’ve got the right detailed analyses of the load demand for the customer, because it’s constantly varying,” Brown said, adding that a highly efficient centrifugal air compressor isn’t always the right answer. That, he said, reinforces the value of synergies offered by FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis.
“Everybody’s going to try to sell you and say, ‘This thing has 60% turndown, and it’s very efficient across a whole range,’ ” he said of a centrifugal air compressor as an example.
"But you can potentially optimize the efficiency of a centrifugal system by running it at its base load and then supplement it with a trim machine, such as a rotary air compressor, to accommodate fluctuations in system demand. That’s a good example of a solution I could see."
Images courtesy of FS-Elliott and FS-Curtis.
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