Facility tours included stops at the product training center and the automated parts fulfillment system at the headquarters for Kaeser Compressors in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Over the two days of September 17-18, 2023, hundreds of Kaeser Compressors, Inc. employees, friends and business partners gathered in Fredericksburg, Virginia to celebrate “forty (40) years of growth and expansion” at their headquarters’ campus.
Kaeser Compressors’ President Frank Mueller held a ribbon cutting ceremony, with local and regional dignitaries attending, and in his address to the gathering said, “This 50% increase in office space, the new Rooftop Café, and the warehouse expansion are all dedicated to the well-being, health and productivity of our employees who continue to fuel our growth.”
Kaeser Compressor President Frank Mueller (left) celebrates with Michael Stevenson, McKinney & Company, after the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Office Space Expansion and the Rooftop Café
This fourth expansion to the headquarters in Fredericksburg accommodates current and anticipates future growth. As functional departments grow in headcount, the space is now in place. “Functional departments are growing and it’s critical these teams have the space to stay together in order to maintain high levels of communication and efficiency,” said Mueller.
The big hit of the day was located on the top floor of the new building. The Rooftop Café looked to me like a very nice restaurant, featuring indoor and outdoor dining areas. Featuring glass walls, nice views of the countryside were to be had no matter where you sat. Capable of feeding 400 people, the Rooftop Café features a Deli station, grill, salad bar and “action area” with rotating specialty foods being served. “We will serve breakfast, lunch and try-out providing one take-home dinner per week, said Mueller. “With subsidized pricing and very healthy and fresh food served, we anticipate the Rooftop Café becoming an employee hub and another reason why people enjoy long careers with Kaeser Compressors.”
Attendees enjoyed the outdoor dining area at the Rooftop Café.
Warehouse Expansion and Technology Investments
Tours of the entire facility were provided. You could feel the pride coming from employees acting as tour guides, many of whom have personally invested 20 to even 35 years contributing to the growth of Kaeser in the U.S. over these past 40 years. We visited the hands-on product training area, where all products are on display and prepared for service and sales training courses. A special feature was a pink AIRTOWER 5c, which for the second straight year, Kaeser is auctioning off to support their “Compressor for a Cure” campaign.
We were then off to the warehouse where we saw the investments made in an automated Kardex VLM Vertical Lift Module system. The shelf-based system has increased the capacity of the warehouse by using vertical space and order fulfillment is now performed by a shuttle which automatically retrieved the parts. This increases accuracy, speed and greatly reduces the amount of walking and lifting personnel in this department used to do. In recent years, the number of VLM bays has grown from two to seventeen. The warehouse also featured a testing laboratory and an area dedicated to product modifications. One example of this is the addition of food grade lubricants to air compressors going to food industry clients.
A big driver for the warehouse expansion has been the growth in demand for Kaeser Air System Enclosures (KASE). These standard 40 to 300 horsepower compressed air systems are packaged into highly engineered enclosures. It was explained to me that making standard KASE systems allows high value features to be present at a good value. An emphasis is made on ambient air temperature control in the enclosure with thermostatically controlled intake louvers, insulated walls and recirculating air ducting (for winter and summer). The systems are built on skids and then the heavy-duty cranes cover them with the 12-foot high enclosures. This area also builds Custom Engineered Solutions on skids, with or without enclosures, which are built to the specification of the customer.
The warehouse tour stopped at the assembly area for Kaeser Air System Enclosures (KASE).
Attendees Voice Their Opinions on Growth Drivers
I was curious to know the opinions of attendees, who had come from all over the U.S., as to why this business continues to grow. Ralph Klug, the owner of H.G. Klug Sons - a Kaeser distributor in Nebraska since 1988 offered, “As a privately held company, they prioritize product quality, training and parts availability. This earns loyalty from both employees and business partners.”
Keith Carley, the owner of Air Compressor Works - a Kaeser distributor in Florida since 1979 said, “Kaeser consistently develops reliable, quality products which are easy to service. Service technicians always want to work on Kaeser products.”
Significant growth also appears to be occurring in California. Keith Baker has worked for the firm for many years and told me they are opening an expanded West Coast warehouse in Los Angeles in the fourth quarter of 2023. His opinion was, “While other firms in our industry often change direction, Kaeser has consistent leadership strategies and quality products – this makes a big difference over time.”
Matt McCorkle has been with the firm since 2008 and manages Kaeser-owned sales and service companies located around the country. He said, “As a veteran I made a conscious decision to leave the military sector. At Kaeser I found a corporation with a mix of a family feel, where people invest their energies into building a career, combined with a very process-driven culture which is comfortable for people with military backgrounds.” McCorkle added the firm actively recruits veterans and has found great success with them.
Ralph Klug and Frank Mueller (left to right).
Neil Mehltretter, Joe D’Orazio, Stephen Horne and Matt McCorkle (left to right).
Harald Wagenknecht, Werner Rauer and Tilo Fruth (left to right).
Accompanied by beautiful fall weather, the celebration was clearly enjoyed by all the employees, friends and business partners attending. I appreciated the invitation to participate and hope our readers are able to do the same, in a small way, with this report.
For more information on Kaeser Compressors visit https://us.kaeser.com/.
For similar articles on Compressed Air Technology please visit https://www.airbestpractices.com/technology.
Visit our Webinar Archives to listen to expert presentations on Compressed Air Technology at