Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Quality Compressed Air Services Is True to Its Name

QCAS Logo

When a company includes the word “quality” in its name, it had better back up that claim with the right stuff. So it is with Quality Compressed Air Services Inc. (QCAS), a full-service company that follows the motto: for all of your compressed air needs.

QCAS provides service, sales, parts and rental solutions for plant air systems, medical air systems, compressed air treatment and nitrogen generating systems. The company prides itself on being client-focused with a commitment to respond to service needs 24/7. “Our relationship with clients involves more than us just selling equipment, parts and maintenance. We provide system auditing, training, testing and information about innovations in our industry,” says Michael McCulley, president.

Based in Jackson, MS, the company serves the following industries: industrial, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, marine, municipal and construction. Its current facilities are located in Baton Rouge, LA; Jackson, MS; and Lafayette, LA. The company’s geographic focus is on Mississippi and Louisiana; however, it will travel where requested, as evidenced by recent service projects in Alabama, Texas and California.

QCAS was founded in 2003 in Jackson, MS, starting with two employees carrying the Sullivan-Palatek compressor line. It started as a service company to service and repair air compressors, air dryers and air diaphragm pumps—basically anything in the compressed air industry. In 2009, the company branched out and entered the Baton Rouge, LA, market.

Once that location was fully staffed, the company branched out to the Lafayette, LA, market in 2013. It now has three locations and 25 employees. “Due to hard work and dedication from all of our team members, we look forward to continued growth in other territories,” says McCulley.

 

A complete air compressor, air treatment and air storage installation at an industrial plant.

A complete air compressor, air treatment and air storage installation at an industrial plant.

 

Meeting Client Needs

The company’s website touts the fact that it can “custom fabricate an air system that will have your business running smoothly and efficiently.” According to Ryan Sylvester, sales manager, the QCAS team makes sure it understands its clients’ needs and production goals. “The company provides systems designed to perform to the required specifications, including unique applications such as nitrogen generation,” he says.

In fact, QCAS provided a nitrogen generating system to Leonard Metal Fabricators, Pearl, MS, enabling that company to supply its laser cutting machine with nitrogen produced in-house using compressed air. The system includes a variable-frequency-drive rotary screw air compressor, desiccant air dryer, nitrogen generator, reciprocating booster compressor and storage tanks.

“With the nitrogen generator, we no longer depend on an outside source for our nitrogen needs,” says Michael Mann, general manager, Leonard Metal Fabricators. “With the laser, we are able to produce more products in a timely manner. With both items, we are able to be more competitive in the fabrication market.” The company produces stainless steel kitchen components and related products to clients in Mississippi; however, its reputation in the stainless steel fabrication market reaches all over the U.S.

Referring to the nitrogen generator installation, Mann says that QCAS is a reputable company that puts its clients’ needs first when designing such systems. “Installation can be a nightmare but QCAS handled everything down to the smallest detail,” he notes. “It was a professional installation. We are pleased with the system they designed and installed for us. We’ve had little downtime in the past eight years, mainly because of routine maintenance they handle for us.”

 

A complete on-site nitrogen generation system.

A complete on-site nitrogen generation system.

 

QCAS can provide complete, fully integrated, supply-side packaged solutions to meet its clients’ unique needs as well, according to Sylvester. “The company can provide a reliable system that is ready for installation and operation with little or no modification as received. The packages are designed for both harsh and clean environments, and include all supply-side components, skid-mounted and piped for easy installation,” he notes.

The company also can provide its clients with customizable preventative maintenance plans to reduce downtime and maximize efficiency. Specifically, the company can tailor a planned maintenance plan to fit its clients’ needs based on their process, environment, specifications and budgets. A basic plan provides routine service to replace filters and oil, as well as external cleaning, and visual inspection based on a checklist. A premium plan includes the above, plus replacement of critical parts as predetermined.

 

The Service Team

QCAS prides itself on a technical team that provides emergency service to its clients on demand. Since every service person starts in the compressor business with different capabilities, QCAS puts its technicians through a training program, starting with preventative maintenance and theory of compressed air. After mastering these areas, they progress to troubleshooting and machine repair. Technicians are not placed on emergency call status until this training is completed, at which point they are capable of accurately diagnosing and repairing equipment.

“We are first and foremost a service company,” says Craig Counts, service manager. “Instead of working on one or two brands of equipment, we work on all brands. So our technicians are exposed to different controls and machine operation. All of our technicians are capable of performing emergency repairs. Naturally you will have technicians that are stronger in certain areas than others but by constant training in areas where they are challenged, we have developed a very competent and talented service department.”

Along with technical excellence, QCAS team members possess the qualities of character, integrity, ethics and pride, according to Counts. He provides the following example of how these team members handled an emergency situation:

On a Friday evening, a cement blending plant located in Odessa, TX, called the blending plant manufacturer stating that its two 50-hp vacuum units had shut down and discharged all of their oil. The cement blending plant initially contacted a local service company; however, the local service company was unable to accommodate the request.

“The vice president of the blending plant manufacturer asked us to go to Odessa, TX, to see what was going on with the vacuum units,” explains Marc McCulley, territory manager. The QCAS service team left Jackson, MS, at 9:30 p.m. Friday and arrived in Odessa, TX, at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The team found that the units had sucked themselves full of gray powder (cement). Mud on the inside of the separator element indicated a ruptured element and the fluid filter element was plugged.

“It takes more than 50 psi differential to collapse a fluid filter. With a plugged inlet and a plugged fluid filter, the only path to atmosphere is through the separator, which we knew was compromised,” McCulley adds. “That would allow the pressure in the pump to go out the discharge line, causing the vacuum fluid to blow out the discharge line when the unit shut down. The material that went to the fluid filter had passed through the vacuum pump and all the bearings. As a result, the pump bearings had been exposed to cement and were compromised.”

So the problem was not due to an equipment failure, but to a lack of maintenance in the facility’s bag house. The QCAS service team began an extensive flushing and cleaning of the two units, and then trained plant operators on proper maintenance procedures. At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the team pulled out of Odessa, TX, and headed back to Mississippi. Both vacuum units were running and the plant was back to blending cement.

 

A bulk handling and plant air compressor application.

 A bulk handling and plant air compressor application.

 

Sullivan-Palatek

Sullivan-Palatek, Michigan City, IN, has enjoyed a 12-year relationship with QCAS. “We’ve watched them grow from a two-person, two-bay rental facility in Jackson, MS, to acquiring property and building their own corporate sales and service center to better serve their clients,” says Greg Verheyen, western regional manager, Sullivan-Palatek. “In 2011, they purchased the assets of another distributor in Baton Rouge, LA. They recently opened another sales and service location in Lafayette, LA. Sales, rentals, OEM parts, service and plant audits are available at each location.”

QCAS is now a Master Distributor of Sullivan-Palatek compressed air products in Mississippi and southern Louisiana. These products include a rotary screw compressor line ranging from 5 to 500 hp in both fixed and variable-speed drive, air dryers in refrigerated and regenerative configurations, filtration, oil/water separation products, master controllers and data logging equipment.

“QCAS has factory-trained and certified technicians at each of its locations. They’ve even had their sales team attend our service schools to better understand the technical side of the compressors they’re offering,” Verheyen adds.

“From our perspective, the main benefit of working with QCAS is their singular focus on compressed air products and systems. They know their market, their clients and their competition. We’ve had a great working relationship with Michael McCulley and his team over the years and look forward to many more years of growth and prosperity.”

 

Looking Ahead

Air compressor technology has made advances in recent years and QCAS has been able to keep up with those changes, according to McCulley. “Air compressor technology, along with the rest of the industrial world, has become more and more computer-controlled. Mechanical controls have given way to a programmed digital brain. Air compressor manufacturers are incorporating more proprietary components and software programs into their units, and standardizing to the point that they are offering fewer options or add-ons,” he says.

“Our company understands that ‘one size does not fit all’; therefore, we distribute multiple brands. Providing sales and full service support after the sale for multiple manufacturers enables us to provide clients with options versus the ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

One of the challenges the company faces on a regular basis is recruiting cohesive team members, according to McCulley. The supply of skilled labor in the U.S. is far less than the current demand, which certainly provides for increased competition when recruiting. Most importantly, though, the company strives to recruit people that possess character, integrity, ethics and pride. “If we can get this, then we can train the rest.”

Maintaining control of growth is another challenge. “The demand for service is always present and plentiful, for which we are grateful; however, without controlled growth we can drown in opportunity,” McCulley explains. “Educating clients, providing clients with reliable equipment, and convincing clients to let us perform non-price driven, premium-level preventative maintenance helps to overcome this challenge as we reduce the volume of emergency, unplanned service calls.”

The company is interested in expanding to areas where cohesive team members are available, as they are its most important asset. “QCAS does have near-future expansion plans; however, the company maintains these plans internal to the organization, as we prefer to fly under the radar,” McCulley says.

 

For more information visit Quality Compressed Air Services Inc. at www.QCAS-INC.com

 

To read similar articles on Air Compressor Technology, visit www.airbestpractices.com/technology/air-compressors

 

AUTHOR BIO

Neal Lorenzi is a freelance writer based in Mundelein, IL. He has covered a wide range of industries during his 25 years as a writer and editor.