Industrial Utility Efficiency


The inaugural BEST PRACTICES EXPO & Conference is officially in the books and show organizers and attendees alike have given it a big thumbs-up!

Held September 16-19, 2018 at the Chicago O’Hare Crowne Plaza and Conference Center, the first-ever event drew 750 attendees who came together to learn and share ideas about the countless ways to achieve efficiencies with compressed air, blower, vacuum and cooling systems – and in the process – save energy and improve profitability.

The publishers of Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazine, Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Chiller & Cooling Best Practices produced the event, co-sponsored by Chicago’s utility provider ComEd and by the Compressed Air & Gas Institute. Show Producer Rod Smith reported an overwhelmingly positive response to the event. “It exceeded our hopes for a first-time event in terms of attendance and content.” Smith said. “We felt we took a positive first step with the Corporate Energy Managers discussing how these three utilities are interdependent. I was encouraged to hear sales channel personnel say they are considering expanding their scope of auditing services to help plants better manage these utilities.”

Derrick Taylor, PneuTech Director USA, is one of many attendees and exhibitors who gave the BEST PRACTICES EXPO & Conference high marks. “It’s been awesome,” Taylor said on the show floor. “I believe the North American market needed a show like this for many years.”

The Educational Conference

The conference consisted of the following four tracks running simultaneously for 2 ½ days featuring almost 100 speakers. Our thanks go to the amazing collection of experts who came with the spirit of sharing knowledge so we can improve our manufacturing plants.

  1. Compressed Air Supply Strategies
  2. Compressed Air Demand Reduction
  3. Blower & Vacuum System Optimization
  4. Cooling Systems & Energy Management

Speakers included leading system assessment experts from the U.S. and Canada, as well as representatives speaking from the Compressed Air & Gas Institute, ComEd, Compressed Air Challenge®, Association of Energy Engineers, Department of Energy Better Plants Program, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR® for Industry program. 

Leading Energy Managers from General Mills, Ball Beverage Packaging, Fiat Chrysler, NTN Bearings (to name a few) gave very insightful speeches explaining their success and challenges with optimization projects. Chicago-region firms like Harris Equipment, Air Services Company, Fluid-Aire and Brabazon both exhibited and lent their expertise as speakers and session chairs.

And while a lot of business got done, there was also opportunity for networking and fun. Social events included a packed opening reception, along with a second gathering at a popular bar-restaurant where attendees got the opportunity to sample some of Chicago area’s great food and watch the Chicago Bears win their home opener.

Conference session BPExpo 2018

Track #1 Session on Compressed Air Quality Specifications & Compliance


The EXPO portion of the event sold out the exhibit space and featured 65+ exhibitors of compressed air, blower, vacuum and cooling system technologies. Attendance was free-of-charge for qualified industry personnel.

Compressed air technologies on display included all types of air compressors, controllers, compressed air dryers, nitrogen generators, piping and lubricants. At least ten booths featured blowers, rotary screw and rotary vane vacuum pumps, lubricants, piping and controls. There were also five cooling system technology booths exhibiting chillers, heat exchangers and custom cooling systems.

Here’s a sampling of booths the editorial team got the chance to visit in the allotted hours, starting with the co-sponsors of the entire event. Our apologies to all exhibitors/booths not mentioned or photographed here.


Co-Sponsored by the Compressed Air and Gas Institute and by the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program

The Compressed Air and Gas Institute (CAGI) continues to add more and more value to members. During a visit to CAGI’s booth, Chad Larrabee pointed to several examples, including ongoing work with educational resources. Specifically, the 7th edition of the Compressed Air & Gas Handbook is being updated with new chapters and made available as downloadable files. There is also CAGI’s e-Learning program. The online program is highly recommended given invaluable information concerning safe and efficient operation of compressed air systems. Members can also visit the “Industry Hot Topics” area of CAGI’s website to get answers to questions about efficiency, sustainability, heat recovery, and more. Visit to learn more.


Bruce McFee, Patrick Britton, Chad Larrabee and Rob Haseley at the CAGI booth (left to right).

It’s an understatement to say ComEd stands out as a utility dedicated to helping customers save energy. At the booth, Tom Johanson shared insights into ComEd’s Energy Efficiency program, offering three types of no-cost studies to industrial customers. ComEd will conduct a free compressed air study when a customer commits to repairing 50% of the identified leak volume. It will also cover the cost of an industrial refrigeration study when a customer commits to implementing at least \$15,000 of recommended energy efficiency projects. It will do the same for a process-cooling study. ComEd also announced its Fix-it-Now program, incentivizing customers to fix compressed air leaks. The program pays \$100 per leak repair to customers who qualify for the incentive. More details are available at

ComEd at BPExpo 2018

Eric Iversen, Nicole Glick, Chris Brucher, Cristina Curca, Jeri Ketzner, Shonda Biddle and Tom Johanson at the ComEd booth (left to right).


The EXPO – Compressed Air Technology

At the Sullair booth, Senior Product Manager – Stationary Air Compressors Brit Thielemann, showed the editorial team the LS Series oil-flooded rotary screw air compressors using Electronic Spiral Valve technology to reduce operational costs. The variable capacity control method efficiently manages changes in compressor demand. Doing so reduces the amount of air compressed, which in turn, reduces energy usage. Sullair also provided insights into its AirSuite compressed air system auditing software allowing users to identify true system costs and opportunities for energy, equipment and maintenance costs. 

Sullair BPExpo 2018

Brit Thielemann, Creg Fenwick, Rebecca Borodzik, Ken Kitlasz, Stephanie Roberts, Lexi Luber, Brian Pratka, Kent Van Sickle, Gordana Stefoski and Nick Rhode at the Sullair booth (left to right). 

Atlas Copco showcased its new Optimizer 4.0 central controller, which optimizes the airflow of the compressor room, saving energy – while helping to prevent unequal air compressor wear and more. The controller links all compressors and dryers and lowers the overall pressure band. It also selects the best machine combination to efficiently deliver the required compressed air output. The company also displayed its oil-injected GA30 VSD+ rotary screw, variable speed drive compressor equipped with an integrated dryer in one compact package. 

Atlas Copco BPExpo 2018

Greg Marciniak, Jack Gusciora, Brian Blum, Sara Nagib and Lindsay (Yontz) Moss at the Atlas Copco booth (left to right).

Kaeser Compressors talked about its Custom Engineered Solutions – including compressed air, vacuum, and blower systems built to customer specifications. Complete systems, which can be built in custom enclosures or modified ISO shipping containers, help users eliminate constraints with space, weather and accessibility. Kaeser Marketing Services Manager Michael Camber said the packaged systems also go a long way toward helping users reduce construction, installation and operating costs. Kaeser also showcased its SIGMA Air Manager® 4.0 multi-unit controller. 

Kaeser at BPExpo 2018

Eric Kooienga (Air Components & Engineering) Chris Erickson, Tom Pischl, Mark Olson, Fred Bergsma (Air Components & Engineering), Tony Witter, Michael Camber, Steve Ekkens (Air Components & Engineering) and Vince Hardy (Air Components & Engineering) at the Kaeser booth (left to right).

BEKO Technologies displayed its family of DRYPOINT XC heatless desiccant dryers.  Designed and manufactured in the United States, the dryers are offered in models rated from 60 psig, all the way to the high-pressure model rated to perform at 7,250 psig. The dryers offer standard outlet pressure dewpoints of –40 oF and optional outlet pressure dew point of –100 oF. 

BEKO at BPExpo 2018

Tilo Fruth at the BEKO Technologies booth.

DV Systems President Garth Greenough took time away from a busy booth to emphasize how DV Systems’ product design philosophy revolves around energy efficiency. He talked about a number of products, including the company’s Huron B10 Airsystem, a 10 hp variable speed, direct drive rotary screw air compressor. In addition to providing three-phase electrical power, it features a unique single-phase design that enables enabling the machine’s installation in locations where it was previously economical or impossible to do so. The unit, which has a low maximum 55-amp draw, efficiently delivers 37 scfm at 145 psi.

DVSystems BPExpo 2018

Biren Bhalla, Kevin Ray, Bogdan Markiel and Garth Greenough at the DV Systems booth (left to right).

Gardner Denver displayed its Ultima oil-free, two-stage variable speed drive rotary screw air compressor, which is one of numerous models offered in its PureAir oil-free air compressor line. The Ultima is offered as standard from 75kW to 160kW, with each unit fully upgradeable between this kilowatt-range. Patrick Kraemer, Oil Free Business Development Manager, West Region, said the air compressor is attracting significant interest in applications such as those in the food and beverage industry given the importance of oil-free compressed air systems. He called out numerous features of the machine, such as permanent magnet synchronous motors providing 97% efficiency, as well as a host of water-cooled components including the intercooler, after-cooler, airends, main motors, and inverters that result in improved performance and longevity. The quiet-running and compact machine also has a 37% smaller footprint, allowing it to conserve precious floor space. Additionally, the machine lends itself easily to heat recovery.

There was a lot to take in at Parker Hannifin’s booth, starting with its OFAS (Oil-Free Air System) desiccant dryer recently launched to the North American market. The dryer is third party-validated to ISO 8573-1 Class O Quality Classes and designed for use with any air compressor type. Advanced controls automatically adapt dryer operation to ambient and inlet conditions and compressed air load profiles. The result is reduced energy consumption and lower running costs. It’s suitable for instrumentation, electronics, robotics, plant automation and industrial compressed air treatment environments.  Next, the Parker Transair team shared insights into the Transair Condition Monitoring (TCM) sensors and cloud-based software that allows users to easily monitor their compressed air systems from anywhere in real time. The TCM line of pressure/vacuum, humidity, temperature, power and flow sensors can be integrated into existing steel or copper piping systems, as well as into the Transair aluminum pipe system.

Parker at BPExpo 2018

Keith Harger, Tim Mcdonald, Jody Panzer, Jim Tuma and Guillermo Hiyane at the Parker Transair booth (left to right).

At the Hertz Kompressoren booth, VP General Manager Bob Groendyke talked about the importance of manufacturing quality equipment and customer service. He pointed to the company’s HVD Series direct drive and variable speed air compressors. Available in models from 7.5 to 400 hp, the air compressor is engineered to save up to 35% energy. He also said the company’s expansion into the United States continues its upward trend based not only on efficient and reliable products, but also on the company’s passion for customer service.  “We pride ourselves on literally having someone pick up the phone every time the phone rings,” Groendyke said.

Hertz at BPExpo 2018

Milton Boyce, Sergio Lopez and Bob Groendyke at the Hertz Kompressoren booth (left to right).

JORC continues to demonstrate a singular focus on condensate management products. They manufacture a full range of oil-water separators and condensate drains ranging from zero air loss to timed electric solenoid with valves. Jan de Bie explained they are now helping clients visualize condensate drain performance and reliability with some Internet-of-Things solutions.

Jorc at BPExpo 2018

Darren and Jan de Bie at the JORC booth (left to right).

The team at ELGi Compressors was excited to share insights into its expanded single- and two-stage, oil-free rotary screw air compressors now available from 60 to 500 hp and designed to consistently meet ISO 8573-1 Class 0 Oil Quality Classes. It also touted the capabilities of its Premium EG electric lubricated screw compressors available from 125 to 200 hp, which are specially designed for ensuring lower energy consumption and higher efficiencies.

ELGI at BPExpo 2018

Gray Biggins, Jeff Bremer and Frank Brookshire at the ELGi Compressors booth (left to right).

PneuTech displayed its RK Series 10 hp variable speed drive combo air compressor. The rotary screw compressor incorporates two, 5 hp air compressors, a refrigerated air dryer, inline filtration, storage tank, oil/water separator, and timer drain in a single compact package. The air compressors operate together when needed to efficiently meet air demand, while also providing redundancy. PneuTech also discussed its remote monitoring system. Named, “monitor,” it can be adapted to any brand of compressor, helping users make proactive decisions about usage and maintenance.

PneuTech BPExpo 2018

Kevin Taylor, Jason Jones, Jeffrey Vaughn, Dave Cruse, James Brevoort, Natasha Taylor, Tom Chellberg, Anina Diener, Mike Heine and Derrick Taylor at the PneuTech booth (left to right).

Sullivan-Palatek talked about the technical know-how it puts into its products, including the SP Series low pressure rotary air compressors with capacities upwards of 2,200 cfm at pressures as low as 45 psi. President Steve Van Loan said technical expertise is evident in the low pressure air compressors’ ability to run cool and deliver long life. He also pointed out the SP Series’ quiet operation. With an enclosure, for example, the SP-16 Series operates at 66-72 dBA.

Sulivan Palatek BPExpo 2018

Steve Van Loan, Jerry Rodriguez (Saylor Beall Manufacturing Company), Michael Gonder, Brian Stober, Mike Kropp and Matt Nolte at the Sullivan-Palatek booth (left to right).

Mattei Compressors Sales & Product Manager Bill Kennedy proudly discussed the continued success of the company’s belt-driven BLADE Series, including  the BLADE 22i model built with variable frequency drive technology. The rotary vane BLADE Series air compressors are rated to efficiently deliver 14.8 through 65 scfm at speeds as low as 1,050 rpm. The machines also operate very quietly, keeping noise as low as 61 dBA.

Mattei BPExpo 2018

Bill Kennedy at the Mattei booth.

Bay Controls discussed how it helps energy managers and plant operators make informed, data-driven decisions and improve their compressed air systems. Whether it’s the company’s cloud-based plant controls and monitoring system, its localized system that connects to the plant’s intranet, its controls for one or multiple air compressors – or its customized solutions – Bay Controls works with customers to improve compressed air system reliability, improve uptime, and save energy. In addition to compressed air systems, Bay Controls has grown to service the HVAC market.


The EXPO – Blowers and Vacuum

Howden Roots talked about its RAM-DVJ WHISPAIR Exhauster, a dry exhauster that features a unique discharge plenum that allows cool, atmospheric air to flow into the cylinder. As such, it permits continuous operation at vacuum levels to blank-off with a single stage unit. It also displayed its 412 HPT blower for the dry bulk transportation market. The high-pressure tri-lobe blower delivers more flow than the competitive blowers in its class and is designed to minimize maintenance, said Sales Manager Roger Blanton, P.E.

Howden Roots at BPExpo 2018

Thomas Tressler, Roger Blanton and Becky Gibson at the Howden Roots booth (left to right).

Atlas Copco showcased its GHS VSD+ Series of oil-sealed rotary screw vacuum pumps, available in models from 230 to 2,245 acfm. The pumps incorporate VSD technology, along with set point control, allowing the vacuum pump to only deliver what’s needed to meet required demand. The unit cuts energy costs by an average of 50%, and is found in a wide range of applications, including plastics, glass, bottling, canning, wood, packaging, printing and paper and meat packaging.

Solberg’s US Director of Sales Jamie Stebbins walked through the TKO Series Multistage Liquid/Particulate separator, which is designed for use with most vacuum pump liquid removal applications in the marketplace. The TKO Series uses multi-stage filtration and separation technology to protect pumps against harmful liquids that destroy lubricating/seal oil. Additionally, it guards against emulsification in oil-lubricated systems. It can be equipped with Solberg’s automatic drain system, which allows the unit to drain without stopping the process and breaking the vacuum.

Gardner Denver displayed its CycloBlower VHX, which utilizes a unique 3 X 5 variable helix rotor design to achieve energy cost savings of up to 35%. Touted as an industry first, the rotor design incorporates faster internal compression and a significantly larger discharge port to eliminate losses, while also improving efficiencies and a higher turndown capability. “Our customers are looking for energy savings and the investments we make in our products to improve their processes,” said North America Sales Manager Shawn Boynton.

Gardner Denver at BPExpo 2018

Patrick Kraemer and Shawn Boynton at the Gardner Denver booth (left to right).

Leybold talked about its DRYVAC Energy Saver device that reduces the power consumption of various DRYVAC dry compressing vacuum pumps by as much as 50%. The proprietary technology primarily conserves energy by managing the inlet and exhaust pressures of the pump, in turn, placing lower power demand on the motor. Energy Saver can be installed on new DRYVAC pumps, or retrofitted to pumps in the field.

Leybold at BPExpo 2018

James Hupp and Alex Kun at the Leybold booth (left to right).


The EXPO- Chillers and Custom Cooling Systems

Innovation was on tap at nano purifications solutions booth where Don Joyce talked about the latest NCS multi-scroll air-cooled chiller. The unit automatically alternates between traditional cooling and free cooling. To provide free cooling, a modulating valve (with the help of ambient sensors) changes the flow from the refrigeration circuit to the free cooling coil allowing for a reduction in refrigeration kW. When ambient temperature falls to 4 oF below the return temperature, the chiller starts to partially free cool. The valve then begins to route the process-cooling water to a separate radiator-type chiller housed on the opposite side of the unit, allowing the chiller’s compressor to cycle to match the lower load. When ambient temperature reaches 9 oF below setpoint, the chiller is in 100% free-cooling mode. The only electric power needed is to operate fans.

nano at BPExpo 2018

Adrien Perez, Don Joyce, David Peters and Todd Allison at the Nano Purification Solutions booth (left to right).

HydroThrift talked about its engineered cooling systems, including the closed-loop PCX cooling system. It features a plate and frame, or a shell and tube type heat exchanger, to cool equipment via a closed-loop using an external water source, such as plant process water, tower water, or a pond or river. The closed-loop can also be filled with a water-glycol mixture, deionized water, city water, or other clean heat transfer fluid. The system ensures no entrained air, contaminants, air-borne dirt or chemicals from treated or untreated water are evident in liquid-cooled equipment.

HydroThrift BPExpo 2018

Bruce Williams and Mike Wlodarski at the HydroThrift booth (left to right).


Judging by the success of the first BEST PRACTICES EXPO & Conference, the next event scheduled for October 13-16, 2019 at the Music City Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., promises to be yet another exciting opportunity for knowledge sharing, viewing technology and networking fun. We look forward to seeing you there!


For more information please visit For the 2019 Exhibitor Prospectus or to propose a Presentation Abstract please contact Rod Smith at email:


To read more about Compressed Air Technology, visit; for Blower & Vacuum Technology, visit; and for Cooling Systems visit