Industrial Utility Efficiency

Vacuum and Compressed Air Systems at IWF 2022

The IWF 2022 International Woodworking Fair was held August 23-26 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. This was the first global woodworking fair since 2018. The Show attracted announced the attendance of thousands of verified buyers of woodworking equipment. IWF is the largest woodworking technology trade show in North America and is held every other year at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. It is ranked among the largest trade shows in the world. 

Both Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazines were pleased to be in the literature bins! 

There were a number of air compressor and vacuum technology vendors exhibiting equipment. Vacuum pumps are everywhere at this show, flanking all the CNC panel-cutting and routing machines. Roaming the aisles, it was fun to see the vacuum pumps supporting each piece of equipment as the machines worked and the on-board pneumatics directing the use of compressed air for automation.

A dry rotary vane vacuum system provides the hold-down force for a fiber board on a CNC router.

Vacuum hold-down force depends upon a few variables including tool characteristics on the router. An average hold-down force for a single piece is around 2,000 pounds.  The fiber board is where pieces to be cut are placed and the vacuum force goes through it. Some newer CNC routers can now shut off vacuum supply when the unit is not in use and also identify what section of the fiber board requires vacuum – and only supply vacuum to that section. Traditional models, supplying the entire board usually use a vacuum system that can deliver a minimum of 300 ACFM with as much depth of vacuum as possible. Generally, a vacuum level between 18 to 24 inches mercury (Hg) is considered normal.

Festo air preparation and pressure regulators support pneumatic automation in the Wemhöner 3D Variopress® Plus system.

A vacuum system supporting a Thermwood Model 43 CNC Router.

A Vmax oil-sealed liquid ring vacuum system supporting a HOMAG CENTATEQ CNC Machining Center at the STILES Machinery booth.


Vacuum and Compressed Air Systems

The Atlas Copco booth featured both compressed air and vacuum pump systems for woodworking shops. An interesting brochure and presentation of vacuum pump systems grouped them into two categories: point-of-use and centralized. Products displayed were the oil-sealed rotary screw vacuum pump with VSD (GHS VSD+ Series), the dry mono-claw vacuum pump with built-in VSD (DZS VSD+ Series) and the oil-sealed rotary vane vacuum pump (GVS A Series). Atlas Copco Vacuum Marketing Manager Dave Raffin said the general idea being taught is that point-of-use pumps can be a better choice for smaller woodworking operations with only a few CNC machines. Larger manufacturing facilities are encouraged to consider a centralized vacuum system. Representatives from recently acquired and local to Atlanta, Compressed Air Products, Inc. were also on hand at the Atlas Copco booth. They talked about the rotary screw air compressor product line offering with integrated refrigerated dryers and their aluminum piping system.

Dave Raffin and Andy Ricci (left to right) at the Atlas Copco booth.

Kaeser Compressors has a long history of providing their positive displacement blowers to the CNC routing machine industry for vacuum hold-down applications. “We are very effective with spoiler-board systems in routers running at 11-13 HgV,” said Marketing Manager Michael Camber. “We often find energy-saving opportunities of 50-60% by reducing the vacuum specification while increasing flow.” The booth featured the Kaeser tri-lobe, fully-enclosed, quiet blower which they recommend for routing machines.
Also on display were rotary screw air compressors with integrated refrigerated dryers (AirTowers and AirCenters), aluminum piping (SmartPipe) and smart controls such as their Sigma Air Manager 4.0. 

Michael Camber, Greg Garner, Lisa Purdue, Eva Johnson and Michelle Teekasingh at the Kaeser Compressors booth (left to right). 

Becker vacuum system products are widely used in the woodworking industry. The CNC routers in particular, seemed to have two 10 or 15 hp rotary vane Becker pumps in every booth next to their machines. I always enjoy speaking with Becker’s Mick Wentzel. “Our dry (oil-less) rotary vane vacuum pumps have been the technology of choice by U.S. and European OEM’s for many years,” Wentzel said. “The combination of extremely low maintenance requirements along with the benefits of oil-less technology are the decision drivers.” On display at their booth was a Duplex 250 vacuum system, featuring two VTLF 2.250 dry, rotary vane pumps with filtration.

Laurel Praeter, John Kopsidas, Brad Hughes, Mick Wentzel and Wendy Hoffert at the Becker Vacuum booth (left to right).

A Becker vacuum system supporting a FELDER CNC Router.

Dekker Vacuum Technologies had a nice booth displaying a 40 hp Vmx oil-sealed liquid ring vacuum pump system.  JD Ziegler explained the system comes with the Titan pump, a motor, patented DX oil separators, optional VFD, and a PLC able to control up to 9 pumps. Capacities range from 35 to 5,400 cfm. I also saw this system over at the STILES Machinery booth working away.

JD Ziegler with the Vmax oil-sealed liquid ring vacuum system at the Dekker Vacuum Technologies booth.

The PneuTech and UniPipe booth was very busy. Derrick Taylor was speaking with a group of Amish woodworkers about the RK Fixed Speed Air Compressor Series (5-20hp) with integrated refrigerated dryer mounted on a horizontal receiver tank. A feature catching my eye was the oversized air-oil separator tank and element allowing for less than 3ppm oil carryover and less than 0.02 bar pressure drop.  The UniPipe aluminum piping system was also generating a lot of interest for shop piping upgrades.

Derrick Taylor at the PneuTech/Uni-Pipe booth (left to right).

I spent some time talking with Director of Sales, Adam Schmitz, at the Prevost booth. He showed me their versatile PPS aluminum piping system for use in compressed air, vacuum and inert gas in sizes ranging from ½” to 4” pipe diameters. We also looked at their OSHA compliant prevoS1 blow guns, premium quality prevoS1 safety fittings with single press decompression and disconnection, STOFLEX anti-static hoses and their compressed air filtration modules for protecting paint equipment. This company has premium solutions for all those problems with connections and piping we see in the “last 30 feet”.

Adam Schmitz, Chris Smith and Daniel Cole (left to right) at the Prevost booth.

ELGi had a booth displaying their EN Series belt-drive air compressor, which is tank-mounted with a refrigerated dryer.  ELGi Regional Manager Kevin Ray also showed me a 25 horsepower premium EG Series direct drive air compressor. Steve Briscoe and other Patton’s team members were talking about service and auditing capabilities to folks from woodworking shops visiting the booth.

Steve Briscoe, Brad Shinkle, Kevin Ray and Cody Brown at the ELGi booth (left to right).

Quincy Compressor sent their vacuum specialist, Monroe Glover, to the show and she talked to me about the new QSV E-Series rotary screw vacuum pumps featuring VSD control and a wider vacuum range from 0 to 29.89 HgV”. She also showed me their QGS-10 compressed air package featuring a rotary screw compressor and refrigerated dryer mounted on a horizontal tank.

Vacuum Specialist Monroe Glover and Scott Stejskal at the Quincy Compressor booth (left to right).


For more information on IWF 2022 visit

To read similar Woodworking Industry articles, visit

To visit our Webinar Archive on Compressed Air and Vacuum Systems visit