Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: 2017 WEFTEC Aeration Blower Technology

The 2017 WEFTEC Technical Exhibition and Conference was held October 2-4 at  McCormick Place in Chicago. The 2017 event made the list of the top five largest and best-attended events in the conference’s 90-year history. A total of 22,860 registrants and 1,011 exhibitors using a net of 305,600 ft2 of space attended WEFTEC. The event featured technical sessions, workshops, facility tours, and numerous other educational and networking events. My apologies go out in advance to the many booths I visited (and also those I did not) who are not covered in this article due to running out of editorial space. WEFTEC is an enormous show.  Both Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Compressed Air Best Practices® Magazines were pleased to be in the literature bins at the 2017 WEFTEC!


Howden Roots Closes Siemens Turblex® Acquisition at the Show

In a deal signed in March, Howden Roots and Siemens Energy announced, at the show, the closing of Howden’s acquisition of the Siemens Turblex® business based in Springfield, Missouri.  Springfield-based General Manager Tim Dobyns said, “Roots and Turblex have long been two important brands in our industry. It’s exciting to see us join forces.”  Sales Manager Alex Lequio showed me the KA44 single-stage turbo compressor in their booth commenting, “This unit has a 60% turndown making it uniquely efficient at such a wide range of operation.”  The KA turbo compressor is also available in a BaseLINE version, designed specifically for water resource recovery facilities.

The combined sales forces will now have access to an extremely broad product offering, ranging from turbo compressors to multiple positive displacement technologies - including the original Roots blower built in Connersville, Indiana.  The Connersville-based Howden Roots team was talking about their new EasyAir™ Rotary factory standard package, featuring the latest Tri-RAM rotary blower. North America Sales Manager Paul Kearney said, “The sound attenuating enclosure is designed to optimize process airflow and ensure easy service access to belts, filter and oil fill points through the front doors.” The units also offer an optional integrated electronic controller. The small footprint package allows for side-by-side installation for ore efficient use of floor space and has an automatic belt-tensioning system, counterbalanced to optimize v-belt life.


Howden Roots at Weftec 2017

Alex Lequio and Tim Dobyns presented the KA44 single-stage turbo compressor at the Howden Roots booth (left to right).

Aeration Blower Technology Roundup

Gardner Denver continues to power forward with its incredibly broad product offerings in blower technology.  GD Director of Blower and Vacuum Technology, Kenny Reekie, suggested I review the new CycloBlower® H.E. Series 160, 200 and 250 models. This product range, marketed as “the original rotary screw blower,” has been reinvented with a patented design and claims best-in-class energy efficiency. The new models deliver pressures to 36 psi and 22 inHg, and flows to 6,200 cfm.  The patented design features a 3 x 5 helical screw rotor profile. The rotors are coated with food-grade PTFE to minimize air loss while maximizing efficiency. An exclusive split-cylinder design combined with three discharge port options (low, medium, high pressure) helps optimize efficiencies based upon specific performance needs of different applications.  The CycloBlower has over 25,000 installations around the world and it’s great to see engineering resources applied to it to maintain it’s “world class” stature.  A tremendous solution for OEM’s, the GD team said its the only rotary screw bare blower on the market. This allows OEM’s to retrofit existing packages, upgrade product lines and design future machines with the new efficiencies and features of the CycloBlower.


Gardner Denver at Weftec 2017

Jason Costigan and Carl Kruthoff next to the new and improved Gardner Denver CycloBlower H.E. Series rotary screw blower (left to right).


The Aerzen booth highlighted the MultiCore series of single stage high speed turbo blowers. Multiple Cores allow for a wide range of operation with airflow deliveries up to 20,000 cfm. Using multiple cores, the design offers over 6 to 1 turndown for WRRF’s with significant variances in demand. The units utilize one user interface and come standard with one discharge connection allowing for easy installation and simple operation.  Marketing Manager Ralph Wilton also explained how Aerzen is focusing significant resources to educate engineering firms and integrators on how to use their AERprocess dissolved oxygen (DO) control system.  This system provides DO to the activated sludge process by calculating the total airflow required as well as the exact airflow required in each aeration zone to maintain the DO at the set point. AERprocess then sequences the blowers and accurately adjusts the valves to distribute the airflow as required.  The control strategy is a Most Open Valve (MOV) method for air distribution at the lowest possible operating pressure for reduced energy consumption.


Aerzen at Weftec 2017

Ralph Wilton next to the Aerzen Multicore single stage high speed turbo blower.

The Atlas Copco team was bubbling (pun intended-sorry) with enthusiasm over new product introductions and positive results in 2017. Blower and Low Pressure Compressor Sales Manager, John Conover, commented on their ZB VSD (variable speed drive) centrifugal air blower range, featuring magnetic bearings. “The ZB 'all-in' package has been well received. Clients appreciate the magnetic bearings’ ability to withstand surge conditions and appreciate all the full-feature compenents integrated into the package.”  Conover said 2018 will bring expanded options and models to the ZB Series range.  We also reviewed the ZS Series Oil-Free Rotary Screw Blower line with Blower and Low Pressure Product Manager, Travis McGarrah, “The ZS range has models from 24 to 422 hp and the ZS VSD range covers 24-475 hp.”  McGarrah continued, “Atlas Copco has pioneered the development of oil free air technology. We are very excited to bring Class 0 oil-free air, leveraging the energy-efficiency benefits of rotary screw technology, to the blower market.”  The team also said the application engineering and support staff, at the Houston Blower Competency Center, is also growing.


Atlas Copco at Weftec 2017

Standing next to their ZS Series oil-free, rotary screw, variable speed drive, blower are Trey Poer, Lee Ann Hellums, John Conover, and Edgar Arreaza (left to right) at the Atlas Copco booth.

If you wanted to learn something about magnetic bearings, the Sulzer booth was the right place to be.  Dave Parsons managed to have a cutaway of the actual magnetic bearings inside a Sulzer high-speed ABS HST turbo compressor!  Parsons, who also is also the Chairman of the CAGI Blower Section, commented, “The U.S. market continues to adopt premium magnetic bearing technology, we are up to close to 300 installations now in this market.” I still find the technology and engineering behind the use of magnetic bearings amazing.  The magnetic bearings used, eliminate physical contact and thereby all mechanical wear – even during starts and stops.  Parsons continued, “We run the turbo at 42,000 rpm, taking measurements on 5 axis points and monitoring it 50,000 times per second.” 


Sulzer at Weftec 2017

Sulzer Magnetic Bearing

Landy Lu, Chris Chong and Dave Parsons (left to right) at the Sulzer booth next to their Turbocompressor Type ABS HST 20. Also pictured is a close-up of the magnetic bearing technology.

Kaeser Compressors continues to gain market share in the blower market with their time-tested Omega line of rotary lobe PD blowers and in recent years, with the introduction of their rotary screw blowers featuring their famous Sigma Profile™ rotor technology. Kaeser Blower Product Manager, Stephen Horne, said the market reception for the truly integrated full feature direct drive DBS Series blowers has been excellent, with more and more interest in using the IoT capabilities of the Sigma Air Manager 4.0. “Models come standard with Sigma Control 2™. In addition to monitoring all onboard sensors, Sigma Control 2 features expanded communication capabilities and can be seamlessly integrated into plant control/monitoring systems like the Kaeser Sigma Air Manager 4.0.” The packed Kaeser booth had working models where engineers could see how the blower controller could interface with the overall system controller. Very high-tech!


Kaeser at Weftec 2017

Visitors at the Kaeser booth learn about rotary lobe technology from Stephan Dagovitz (pictured) and experienced the new IoT capabilities of the controller on the DBS direct drive rotary screw blower.

APG-Neuros continues to grow their air bearing turbo blower business.  The firm, over the past ten years, has carved out a significant market share providing customers with energy savings, smaller package foot prints, low noise and vibration and maintenance cost savings. Allen Bradley is their standard 6” touchscreen PLC controller on smaller 50 hp units and clients can choose between Allen Bradley, CIMON, Simens, GE and Modicon PLC’s on larger units.  I spoke to company representatives about actions they take to help their technology perform under adverse working conditions. They said this is very important and they take particular care to understand each unique installation. For example, if there’s reason to suspect it, they send out hydrogen sulfide (H2S) monitors to analyze ambient conditions. Based upon these readings, they will put special protective coatings on key components. 


APG-Neuros at Weftec 2017

Ranjan Manivelu next to a 50 hp air bearing turbo blower at the APG-Neuros booth.

Hardy Pro-Air is an interesting packager of PD blowers serving a multitude of applications including wastewater and pneumatic conveying markets. Sales Manager Scott Stevenson said, “Our Pro-Pack standard blower packages are 'Made in Illinois' and we specialize in custom engineering projects.”  The firm also builds customized vacuum packages. We reviewed a package for 3,000 cfm at 24” Hg.


Hary Pro-Air at Weftec 2017

Scott Stevenson at the Hardy Pro-Air booth.

Eurus Blower, with U.S. General Manager Tom Hodanovac, was at the show with their Bi-lobe (ZZ Series) and workhorse MB Series standard blower and vacuum packages.  The firm is carving out a solid presence as primarily an OEM supplier. Units feature heavy duty everything – from oversized bearings, to one piece integrated ductile iron rotors and shafts with large shaft diameters.


Eurus Blower at Weftec 2017

Jim Billings (G3 Engineering), Chet Adamczyk and Tom Hodanovac at the Eurus Blower booth (left to right).

Lone Star Blower has also shaken up the market in the last few years. General Manager Andrew Balberg’s firm offers geared (GL Series) and gearless (DT Series) single stage turbo blowers, multistage centrifugal (LS Series) turbo blowers and PS Series custom engineered blower packages for pressure, vacuum, air or gas applications.  Based in Houston, the firm focuses on applications in water and wastewater, power, petrochemical, oil and gas, food and beverage and mining industries.  The capacities of their products reflect this - like the GL Series turbo blower: 100 to 6,000 horsepower, 2-35 psi, 500 to 70,000+ scfm!


Lone Star Blower at Weftec 2017

James Jin next to the GL Series geared single stage turbo blower at the Lone Star Blower booth.


NexTurbo at Weftec 2017

Scott Matthews introduced NexTurbo technology to the market.

Becker at Weftec 2017

Mick Wentzel and Darin Ladd presented the new SV Series of regenerative blowers at the Becker booth (left to right).


The 2018 WEFTEC Technical Exhibition and Conference will be held September 29th to October 3rd at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. For more information on the 2018 WEFTEC, visit


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