Compressed air and vacuum technology: All-rounders needed
Manufacturers of compressors and vacuum pumps are becoming all-round service providers. Contracting is also a growing trend.11 Feb 2016
Companies in the compressed-air and vacuum technology industry are no longer pure specialists. Although they have the specialist expertise to develop highly-complex assemblies that slot seamlessly into the process chain of their mechanical engineering customers, they have increasingly become all-rounders since their interdisciplinary knowledge and expertise gives them the ability to develop efficient turn-key solutions.
The latest solutions from the industry are showcased at ComVac 2015 . "In Hall 26 visitors will discover compressed air and vacuum technologies in all their many forms and facets. That's everything from systems for generating, treating and distributing compressed and vacuum air, to applications for using it in production plants and machinery, right through to contracting and services," says Marc Siemering, Senior Vice-President of HANNOVER MESSE at Deutsche Messe AG. As the world’s leading trade fair for compressed air and vacuum technology, ComVac is for Siemering "an absolute must for industrial users seeking the best the market has to offer in terms of cost, quality and system availability."
Leading compressor manufacturers such as Kaeser, Ingersoll Rand and Boge will showcase their products in Hall 26. Vacuum-technology companies include Busch and Aerzen. Gardner Denver, Almig, Dalgakiran Makina and Fini Nuair are among the exhibitors at ComVac, along with Beko Technologies, Edwards High Vacuum, Gebr. Becker, General Europe Vacuum, Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, Pfeiffer Vacuum and VAT Deutschland.
Questions that will be addressed at the trade show include: How can I boost the efficiency of my compressed air systems? What solutions and innovations are available to achieve oil-free compressed air? Is it worthwhile for my company to think about contracting out compressed and vacuum air? Exhibitors not only have the answer to these and other questions but have also brought along the corresponding technology.
A relatively new trend, but one that providers believe has considerable potential for growth is contracting. Under the contracting model, customers do not generate compressed air with their own compressors but purchase it at a pre-arranged, fixed price from a contractor who installs the necessary compressors on-site at the customer’s factory. This offers several advantages from a customer’s standpoint, including improved cost transparency and ongoing all-around support from the provider, who maintains and services the equipment, keeps it up to date and can scale the compressed air supply up or down according to changes in the customer's requirements. "Compressed air contracting is a growth area because, ultimately, users don't actually want compressor hardware. All they want is a reliable supply of compressed air at minimum cost," says Thomas Kaeser, Chairman of the Management Board of Kaeser Compressors, Germany. "We've been providing compressed-air hardware for over 20 years and we're noticing now that more and more customers are opting for contracting solutions."
In the vacuum technology sector, one of the main drivers of innovation is energy efficiency. "Apart from that, our customers are increasingly looking for space-saving design and reduced noise emissions," said Ulrich Wilkesmann, CEO of the German vacuum-pump and compressor manufacturer Gebr. Becker GmbH. "A very effective way of meeting these requirements is to use high-speed vacuum pumps and to install them as close as possible to the equipment that uses the vacuum air," he adds. Another German-based vacuum technology specialist, Oerlikon Leybold, has noticed an ongoing trend to replace oil-sealed vacuum pumps with dry pumps. "This is more of a long-term trend, with customers gradually modernizing their existing plant and equipment," explains Christina Steigler, Oerlikon's Head of Marketing & Communications. "Vacuum-technology customers are moving more towards standardized solutions – technologies that are application-specific, yet deliver rapid availability and reliability," she adds.
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