Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: The 2017 Hannover Messe

The 2017 Hannover Messe attracted 225,000 visitors with 75,000 coming from outside Germany. The over-arching theme of the event was the Industrial Internet of Things – or Industry 4.0, as it is known in Germany. Dr. Jochen Köckler, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe commented,“Over the past five days, Hannover has served as a global hub for all things related to Industrie 4.0. Every sector involved in the digitalization of industry was on hand to showcase its answers to the key question faced by industrial enterprises everywhere: How can I best get my company into shape for the digital future?

I hope you enjoy a small sampling of what I saw as I roamed the show. Due to article length limitations, I have to apologize in advance to the many booths I do not mention and to the fact I only have space to write about one technology per booth.


Huge News from Sullair – Twice!

I started the week making a beeline for the Sullair booth. They had been quite mysterious beforehand saying there would be an important new product unveiling on the first day of the show. What I saw at the Sullair booth was, for me, the biggest news of the week – a brand new, world-class designed LS Series rotary screw air compressor.  “This new technology platform for the LS90 and LS110 (125 and 150 horsepower) models takes Sullair to a completely new level,” said Vice President of Product Management Jon Hilberg. “This significant investment will next be deployed on our 200 to 600 horsepower models.”

The new patent-pending 230 mm air end features a brand new casting with internally ported lubricant passages. “This is our biggest air end advancement in 30 years. We went from fifteen to two piping ports,” said Sullair’s Brit Thielemann. “We listened to our customers and now have standard TEFC motors, Wye-Delta starters and a newly innovative electronic spiral valve with up to 60% turndown.”  The Sullair team said the new Electronic Spiral Valve is less vulnerable to contaminated environments than variable speed drives and provides a pricing advantage. As always, Sullair will continue to offer customers both capacity control options. The system also featured a new STS 10” color touch screen controller for sequencing up to 16 compressors and integrated graphing and trending for performance analysis.



Brit Thielemann and Jon Hilberg in front of the new LS Series rotary screw air compressor (left to right).


Hitachi Acquires Sullair in a Historic Acquisition

Of course, the second piece of news regarding Sullair was Tuesday’s surprise announcement that Hitachi had acquired Sullair for $1.245 billion.

Masakazu Aoki, Executive Vice President at Hitachi and CEO of the Industrial Products Business Unit, said, “I am very pleased to announce that Hitachi has agreed with Accudyne to proceed with the acquisition of Sullair, a leader in the air compressor business. Through this fusion with Sullair’s strengths, Hitachi will increase its competitiveness and strengthen the air compressor business, and at the same time, by utilizing Sullair’s global footprint, mainly in North America, we will accelerate the global rollout of the Social Innovation Business.”

Charles Treadway, CEO of Accudyne, said, “We are very pleased with the transaction, as the combination represents a uniquely attractive opportunity for Sullair, its employees, distributor partners and end-customers.” Jack Carlson, Sullair President, said, “We are thrilled by the prospect of partnering with Hitachi to grow Sullair as we embark together on the next chapter in our proud history.”

Air Compressors

I had the chance to visit with Kaeser USA President Frank Mueller and Dr. Erwin Ruppelt.  An important concept they brought out is the idea of “a digital twin” (virtual reality compressed air system) facilitated by the Sigma Air Manager 4.0 – the master control system used by Kaeser. The “digital twin” idea is to be able to model how the system would perform under hypothetical scenarios. How would it perform at 80 psi vs. 100 psi? What would the energy consumption be – which air compressors would be working and at what duty cycle? What if demand increases by 25% - what would happen to the system? What would happen if you added a VSD air compressor? This is very interesting for those wanting to truly understand the system – particularly as compressed air system dynamics, in any given plant, are always changing.  Kaeser provides clients with the ability to visualize, with 3D drawings “from the cloud”, what a new system would look like physically. Kaeser also announced the introduction of synchronous reluctance motors on the variable speed versions (SFC) of the ASD Series. This completely new drive technology, developed together with Siemens, can deliver efficiency gains of up to ten percent under partial loads.



Frank Mueller was talking about the Sigma Air Manager 4.0 at the Kaeser booth.


Hertz Kompressoren had a huge booth and is entering the U.S. having established a warehouse in Charlotte and named Robert Groendyke as the Vice President and General Manager. They told me their “phase 1” will be with UL and ASME approved lubricated screws up to 75 horsepower. We took a look at their Eagle Series of two-stage, oil-free, 150 to 430 horsepower, rotary screw air compressors.  Tested and approved as completely oil-free by TUV Rheinland, these direct-drive units have a non-abrassive “ultracoating” on the rotors and use stainless steel rotors in the high-pressure stage. The units have variable speed drive, automatic greasing system and heat recovery options. As a side note, Hertz has also announced a joint venture with IHI on oil-free centrifugals.



Mustafa Canbaz and Elif Sasmaz in front of the Hertz Kompressoren Eagle Series oil-free rotary screw air compressor (left to right).


Ingersoll Rand introduce new 200-250 kW models to its line of Next Generation R-Series oil-flooded rotary screw air compressors. The units are available with a new single-stage airend or a two-stage airend that that increases airflow by up to 16 percent. Their literature states the new fixed-speed models are 10 percent more efficient than legacy models and the variable speed option is up to 35 more efficient that the industry average.



Kathy Briede next to the new Ingersoll Rand R-Series 250 kW air compressor.


BOGE introduced the new and updated C-2 Series lubricated rotary screw compressors specifically for the U.S. market. The 15-30 horsepower units are now direct driven with standard options such as variable speed drive, tank-mounted and heat recovery. Gavin Monn and Jerry Elsen were very excited to launch the new C-2 Series in the U.S. BOGE also has extended their EO range of oil-free scroll air compressors, available in simplex, duplex, triplex or quadplex packages covering the range of 5.5 kW, 11 kW, 17 kW and 22 kW. They can be ordered with integrated or separate refrigerated dryers, be tank-mounted as a duplex, and are very quiet at 59 dB(A). Last but not least, BOGE also introduced the 110 kW model of their innovative HST High Speed Turbo oil-free air compressor line – joining the 220 kW model launched two years ago.



Gavin Monn and Jerry Elsen next to the new BOGE C-2 direct drive rotary screw compressor designed for the U.S. market (left to right).


Mattei Compressors is led by CEO Giulio Contaldi and in the U.S. by our own Jay Hedges. The company is in the middle of a round of significant new investments in three new OKUMA airend machining centers and a new R&D center, new SAP information systems and a continuous flow of aggressive product introductions. The new belt-driven BLADE Series has been successful with its’ U.S. introduction and Hedges reports their U.S. operation does the packaging to turn three base models into 48 SKU’s providing voltage, pressure, and tank-mount options to name a few. Mr. Contaldi also announced the completion of third party testing project, by Intertek in the U.S., where they saw a specific power improvement of 3.8% from their rotary vane air compressor – after a “running-in” period of 1000 hours. This is sure to generate some discussions.



 Giulio Contaldi and Jay Hedges next to the new Mattei Maxima 75 kW Xtreme rotary vane air compressor.


Did you know that U.S. based Dover Company owns an air compressor outfit?  Germany’s Blitz Kompressoren has been in the air compressor business for almost 100 years and is part of their portfolio. A colleague from my prior life, Rolf Tappen, has recently come on board as General Manager and they have launched the new 15-90 kW frequency controlled Monsun rotary screw compressor line. Tappen has a strong history of business development - I would keep my eye on this company.

Tamturbo continues their introduction of 100% oil-less, high speed, variable speed, turbo compressors. These Finnish entrepeneurs with long histories in air compressor airend engineering, explained to me their titanium turbo impellers, gearless direct drive, active magnetic bearing design philosophies. They have 200 and 250 horsepower three-stage models right now which will eventually be a 125 to 400 hp product line. They plan to develop a 75 to 300 hp two-stage product line in the future. Hannu Heinonen explained to me they are targeting the oil-free rotary screw market with this technology.

Jan Hoetzel, from Airleader USA, showed me their new EASY master controller for up to four air compressors.  One air compressor can be a variable speed drive unit. The controller can manage information from up to 8 sensors. Information can be shared with a web server and viewed on smart phones via WIFI connections. This is a new “value” product from Airleader aimed at making this type of control more affordable and easy (good name).  They are targeting a third quarter introduction for this technology in the U.S. Airleader is interesting to me because they have been talking about “modeling” compressed air systems for a long time-before the Industry 4.0 buzz began.  What happens to my system if this system dynamic occurs?  What would my energy consumption be if we added this new air compressor? Good stuff.



 Jan Hoetzel and Jesus Molina next to the new EASY master controller from Airleader (left to right).


Compressed Air Treatment and Measurement

BEKO Technologies continues to innovate with Industry 4.0 ideas - like using instrumentation to “talk” to compressed air dryers. BEKO has invested heavily in their own range of oil content, flow, pressure, dew point, and even particulate measurement instruments. These can now help compressed air dryers operate more efficiently and reliably. With their DRYPOINT M eco control membrane dryers, for example, one can set an unusual dew point at for example -20 °C (-4 °F) which is ISO Quality Class 3 for dew point. This will reduce the purge air requirements of a – 40 °F dew point – while assuring dew point stability if inlet conditions to the dryer change. The BEKO team also showed me their innovative portable compressed air testing unit – able to test ALL of the compressed air key performance indicators listed above.  I believe every air compressor service company should own the ability to test compressed air quality for their customers-at the point of use.  Further, BEKO showed me their new  “high-value” line of Metpoint MCA monitors – where users can easily monitor these KPI’s. When I’m asked about what the future holds for compressed air – I always answer, “measurement, measurement and more measurement.”



Tilo Fruth, Manfred Lehner and Norbert Strack next to the DRYPOINT M eco control membrane dryer from BEKO Technologies (left to right).


JORC introduced several new Industry 4.0 concepts into the compressed air condensate management technologies starting with a new timer drain concept. They have eliminated the potentiometers (the time cycle knobs)! You can program the ON and OFF intervals from your smart phone. A key advantage is the knobs can’t be tampered with and left ON  as we often see. President Jan de Bie also showed me their “no air-loss” KAPTIV-CS drains, where they’ve introduced a digital sight port so one can monitor the condensate level in the reservoir and monitor the operation.  JORC introduced their vision of being able to wirelessly monitor and control all drain and oil-water separator operations to ensure reliable condensate management.



Jan de Bie and Aaron de Koning explained their vision of remote monitoring and control of compressed air condensate management systems (left to right).


SPX FLOW launched the new FLEX Series of phase change material (PCM) energy saving refrigerated dryers. James Doherty and Jay Francis explained to me that PCM is a material that harnesses latent heat produced as it converts from solid to liquid or liquid to solid.  Now I have to go review my latent heat fundamentals! Designed with a 3-in-1 heat exchanger, the PCM encapsulates the refrigeration and air circuits, allowing the PCM to stay colder for longer periods of time. This cycles the refrigerant compressor less often than conventional energy-saving designs.  Another benefit is that the PCM itself is an eco-friendly refrigerant that melts and solidifies above 0 °C (32 °F) and does not require the use of glycol, pump, tank or hot gas bypass.



Cole Isban, James Doherty, Jose Larios and Ben Lee next to the new FLEX energy-saving refrigerated dryer from SPX FLOW (left to right).


MIKROPOR is aggressively introducing their own brand of compressed air treatment products into the U.S.  Volkan Ayhan told me their warehouse in Michigan City (Indiana) is fully stocked with UL and ASME approved refrigerated dryers, desiccant dryers and filters. He reported they have been operating in the U.S., for a few years now, and the market acceptance has been excellent.

Nano-purification solutions continues to position itself for growth, exhibiting for the first time at Hannover Messe.  While discussing “what’s new,” nano confirmed the business has recently completed another acquisition, this time acquiring the F1 Series tooling and industrial filtration technology from their current supplier.  David Peters, Managing Member stated, “Acquiring our core filtration product line further enhances the business’s value, while also expanding the businesses ability to support a broader geography and customer base, which supports the business’s vision of growth and capability.”



Peter Fearon, David Peters, Don Joyce, Adam Wright and Andrew Brighton with nano’s next generation GEN2 nitrogen generator (left to right).


MTA continues it’s history as a leader in cycling energy-saving refrigerated air dryers. Roberto Bettin showed me their ETM DM enhanced thermal mass drying modules for large capacity systems. Single modules are rated for 1,800 to 5,400 m3/h (1,048 to 3,145 scfm) and multiple TWIN and TRIO modules are rated for 7,200 to 32,400 m3/h (4,193 to 18,870 scfm). The technology uses a patented 2-in-1 aluminum heat exchanger including an air-t-air and air-to-chilled mass heat exchanger combined with a water separator externally connected by Victaulic joints. The product literature states it is engineered with wide air channels and an oversized demister separator, it ensures optimum dew point performance with industry-leading air side pressure drops.



Roberto Bettin next to the new ETM DM large-capacity drying module from MTA.


VPInstruments introduced the new FlowScope M with WIFI cpabilities. They believe smartphones, desktop computers and tablets will be used commonly in the future to monitor and control flow, temperature and pressure in compressed air systems. VP is moving to IP based sensors to make this easy for plants. They also showed a new panel-mounted display which can be located in the plant. Both Menno Verbeek and Patrick Boers said their introduction, two years ago, of sending replacement sensor elements (instead of sending them in for calibration) has been very successful.



Menno Verbeek and Patrick Boers with their flow meters at the VPInstruments booth (left to right).


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