Consider Advancements in Compressor Design

Before choosing a truck-mounted compressor it's important to consider the latest advancements. The increased efficiencies and improved controls may change the way you compare these units.

"Over the past few years, truck-mounted compressors made some fantastic advancements," says Dan Hutchinson, product management specialist, VMAC. "Rotary screw compressors have become more common, which has enabled users to move to more powerful and more productive tools. More compact sizes - without a loss of power - have freed up more space on the vehicle, allowing users to gain efficiencies."

"The market as a whole has advanced," agrees Todd Dufur, Doosan Infracore Portable Power. "The compressors are smaller in size by the fact that they are more efficient." They are also lighter due to different materials and designs. "They are more durable than they used to be in terms of operating life cycle."

"Innovative smart features have increased the ability to operate in extreme temperature conditions without damaging the compressors or trucks," notes Hutchinson. "Control systems have seen impressive advancements, which have led to smoother running operation, accessibility to more information, energy savings and help in troubleshooting.

"Some of the energy-saving features of VMAC's Advanced Underhood Compressor include the ability to idle, shut off and restart the truck engine as a function of air needs," he points out. "Additionally, a change from modulation control to an on/off (or load/no-load) control - and on to variable speed control - represents big energy savings."

Likewise, Vanair boasts advancements in electronic controls. "We have come out with our VTEC, which is our total electronic control and diagnostic system," says Dan Kokot, executive vice president. "It is exclusive technology that regulates the engine speed according to the demand. It provides comprehensive system monitoring abilities utilizing a streamlined wire harness. It has plug and play connections that plug into the engine's ECU."

Some units are also integrating compressors and generators into a single unit. "For instance, we launched our CAS35WG that includes a 35-cfm reciprocating air compressor with a 225-amp welder and a 5,000-watt generator," says Tim Worman, product manager - commercial vehicles, Iowa Mold Tooling (IMT). "Combining the compressor, welder and generator saves on service costs and reduces vehicle weight. Customers get more load bed space and increased payload capacity."