Industrial Utility Efficiency

Investing in Efficiency: Mattei Compressors

Good morning. How is business at Mattei Compressors?

Good morning. This is a very exciting new chapter for Mattei. The Company has entered into the third phase of significant investments into Mattei. The first two phases of investments focused on optimizing Mattei rotary vane technology for enhanced energy efficiency and then taking them to market in Europe. This has been very successful.

The objective of “Phase 3 Investments” is to bring these newly optimized rotary vane technologies to market in North America. On average, our new rotary vane designs are 10% more efficient than rotary screw air compressors. This performance exists across the board at all load profiles. Durability is also extremely high because these air compressors run at low speeds between 1200-1800 rpm.

How energy efficient are the new rotary vane air compressors?

Our research and development group in Italy is led by General Manager, Mr. Giulio Contaldi, the son of Mattei’s Founder. Mr. Contaldi’s team has focused on optimizing the energy efficiency of rotary vane air compressors and they developed several breakthroughs. The first approach was to find the optimal running speed (from an energy efficiency standpoint) for each product series. The solution was to design a unique air end and motor set for each air compressor model. In this way each model provides maximum energy efficiency. In Mr. Contaldi’s words,

“We are in a unique situation in which no one has ever taken the study of the vane technology to our levels and this has left loads of space for improvement (which we will gladly take advantage of). On the other hand, screw compressor manufacturers have in the past 20 years invested substantial amounts of money in universities and R&D departments all over the world and have developed their compressor to its physical limits. Therefore I believe that screw technology is fast approaching its zenith in performance betterment.”

The R&D team set the standard running speed at 1800 rpm – with the ability to run at speeds as low as 1200 rpm. The slower the unit runs, the less specific energy it consumes. The Maxima Series (a constant speed machine) is a single stage air compressor with a performance curve similar to that of a two-stage air compressor. Mattei is delivering six (6) scfm per horsepower with the single-stage Maxima! We turn the Maxima airends at 1200 rpm to deliver the best kW/100 scfm performance in the industry. All Mattei air compressors feature direct-driven in-line airends. This eliminates drive train efficiency losses associated with belts or speed increasing gearboxes. The result is superior performance and the highest possible efficiency.

  Mattei manufactures a full range of rotary vane air compressors.    

What advantages do rotary vanes offer vs. rotary screw compressors?

Rotary vane air compressors produce more air per revolution than rotary screws – the Maxima, operating at 1200 rpm achieves optimum efficiency. By comparison most rotary screws are running at 3,500 to 7,000 rpm, increasing wear and reducing air end life. There are many inherent design advantages in the rotary vane:

  • Produce more air per revolution with some models producing 6 scfm per horsepower!
  • Larger compression chamber offers more space, and therefore more volume of air to compress per revolution.
  • Achieves 90% mechanical efficiency due to better internal sealing. Design eliminates the efficiency robbing of internal blow-holes found in rotary screws
  • Greater durability due to low operating speeds; Mattei airends rotate on two (2) bushings and are designed to be 100,000 hour machines
  • Screw airends run fast, use up to six (6) bearings, and tend to last about 35,000-40,000 hours. By eliminating airend bearings, Mattei has eliminated one of the most common scheduled failures found in rotary screw airends.


  General Manager Jay Hedges examines new 100 series automotive compressor to be launched in Europe this fall and in the U.S. in 2009.    

Please discuss the durability of rotary vane technology.

Known as 100,000-hour machines, Mattei rotary vane compressors are often chosen for OEM applications because of their durability and their compact size. The Optima Variable Speed Series, with 11 kW to 132 kW models, has a speed range of 700 to 1800 rpm. Durability is greatly enhanced by low speed machines and “bearingless” airends. Proper maintenance and service is important to the rotary vane as it is with any compressor, but with proper maintenance, you are much less likely to see unscheduled downtime with Mattei Rotary Vanes than with rotary screws. We will demonstrate our confidence in these new products when Mattei’s new Worldwide Warranty Program is announced at our bi-annual Distributor Convention in Milan October 16th thru 19th, 2007. I am thrilled to be leading a delegation of 23 individuals representing the U.S. market this year.

Can you provide us with a overview of Mattei’s product line-up?

Sure. Aside from some niche products for OEM’s and other technologies in R&D, we offer four distinct product lines for sale. They are the:


  • ERC Series (2-100 hp): These are open-frame, fixed speed, rotary vane compressors that are amazingly quiet, feature simple controls, and offer economy, and extraordinary reliability & performance.
  • AC Series (5-60 hp): This is the next level of sophistication featuring quiet cabinets, electronic controller, soft Wye-Delta motor starter, and optional integrated refrigerated air dryer.
  • OPTIMA Series (11-132 kW): Cabinet-enclosed featuring VSD controllers to optimize energy savings for facilities with varying levels of plant air demand. Optional integrated air dryer and condensate management system.
  • MAXIMA Series (40-150 hp): Quiet (≤70 dBa) cabinet enclosed, runs at an incredibly slow 1,200 rpm to offer maximum energy efficiency (as low as 14.48 kW/100 scfm) for systems with high levels of demand. Optional integrated air dryer, condensate management, and heat recovery system.


Please describe Mattei as a company.

Mattei was founded, in 1919, in Italy so next year we will celebrate our 90th anniversary! Our headquarters and primary manufacturing center is in Vimodrone (Milan). Assembly of air compressors above 30 kW is done in Vimodrone. Smaller-sized, high volume production compressor assembly is done thirty (30) km away near Bergamo. Bergamo also manufactures air end components in our state of the art machining centers and operates MTA, a separate company charged with providing genuine parts for Mattei compressors worldwide.

The Company was purchased, in the 1960’s, by the Contaldi family. The Contaldi family has owned and operated industrial businesses since 1886. In addition to Giulio Contaldi mentioned above, sister Silvia Contaldi, heads up Sales and Marketing activities as Commercial Director, and their mother Carla Contaldi, succeeded her husband as Chairman and CEO, providing ownership and management continuity.

Mattei employs approximately 250 people worldwide. We operate multiple subsidiaries across the world including fifty employees in Russia and approaching 20 employees at a rapidly growing 100% wholly-owned assembly operation in China.

  From left to right: The Contaldi Family: Giulio Contaldi (Director of R&D and Manufacturing), Carla Contaldi (CEO), and Silvia Contaldi (Director of Sales & Marketing).    

How does this affect how Mattei does business with distributors?

The business is very personal to us. The Contaldi family works day-to-day with product development, international expansion, and the over-all management of the business. Their hands on style, has focused on optimizing rotary vane technology with strong results, and fostered long term personal relationships with distributors worldwide.

The compressed air world is primarily made up of multi-brand multinationals who have acquired many independent brands. A distributor, who has spent a lifetime building a business selling a specific brand, is often dealt unpleasant news after an acquisition. Mattei remains committed, internationally, to distributors as its’ sales channel.

What is the set up for North America?

Mattei has been operating in the U.S. for twenty-seven (27) years. We continue to be headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland where we will continue to assemble the open-frame ERC machines. The big change will be our plan to stock air compressor models of up to 132kw including Maxima, Optima, and AC machines. These machines will arrive “ready-to-ship” from Italy and allow us to have inventory available for fast deliveries.

What are the plans in the U.S.?

We will first increase the brand awareness here by leveraging Mattei’s Global reputation for quality and innovation, through a focused marketing strategy including, trade advertising, trade shows, direct mail, sales contests and other promotional campaigns. It doesn’t take much to stand out in industrial advertising so a little creativity goes a long way. We are building a state of the art training center and a show room in Baltimore which will support our distributor growth strategy by demonstrating our products and conducting service training schools.

Our sales strategy is to support existing loyal distributors while expanding distribution geographically. We are strong on both coasts, with our largest distributors based in Los Angeles and New Jersey. We have many opportunities for distribution in the Midwest and South. Having recently signed four (4) of the top sales rep companies in the U.S., Mattei now has 23 individuals in the field supporting and building our distributor network. The quality of these companies and the distributor prospects we are working with is a clear indication of the remarkable performance of the new Mattei air compressor products just now arriving in the U.S. Educating the marketplace is our greatest challenge. Once distributors and their customers see these compressors and the performance data, the rest is pretty easy. Our objective is to educate as many as possible through various marketing and sales programs.

  Mattei Compressors will be exhibiting again at Hannover in 2009.    

Thank you Mattei for your insights.

For more information, please contact Jay Hedges, Mattei Compressors, tel: 410-521-7020, email:,