Industrial Utility Efficiency

Aeration Blowers at Weftec 2023

Weftec 2023, a leading event for industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities took place October 2-5, 2023 at Chicago's McCormick Place. The objective of this article is to provide readers with a sampling of aeration blower technologies on display at the show. We regret not being able to include all exhibitors or visits made due to article length considerations. 


Aeration Blower Technology

There’s a lot going on with Aerzen. I was first shown their completely newly redesigned rotary screw blower package called the Delta Hybrid 2.0. The four new models are optimized for performance at 8-15 psig for flows from 59 to 5,300 cfm. The product line has cylindrical roller bearings good for 70,000 hours at any operationg point, an updated casing, 12-20% brake horsepower improvement in energy efficiency, improved thermal stability achieved by modified process air flows and air intake within the new sound enclosures. Lastly the units feature an advanced AERtronic control system as a standard feature. Aerzen Rental was also present and said there’s a healthy demand for renting their blowers and even diffuser grids in industrial and municipal wastewater applications.

Adam Clarke and Justin Haag next to the Delta Hybrid 2.0. at the Aerzen booth (left to right).


I was very interested to learn a bit more about two firms, with adjacent technologies, which Aerzen has acquired over the past couple of years. They are Specialty Treatment Solutions (STS) and Aquarius Technologies. STS Systems are, in layman’s terms, a containerized entire wastewater treatment plant for industrial applications. These pre-engineered systems have had primary success as wastewater treatment systems for high strength influents seen at wineries, breweries and other food industry applications. Aquarius Technologies is a manufacturer and designer of fine and coarse bubble diffused aeration systems. They also produce Nebula® MultiStage Biofilm Systems.

There was a lot of activity at the booths of Aerzen’s recently acquired firms, Specialty Treatment Solutions and Aquarius Technologies.


Inovair continues to grow both their business and their integrally-geared centrifugal blower product line. Their manufacturing and engineering campus is located just outside Kansas City, Kansas. CEO Ken Jones and VP Sales & Marketing David Sperber told me it has expanded significantly with a new PTC-13 test booth which has already performed it’s first witness test with engineering firms. This will be featured in an upcoming PTC-13 Webinar we are hosting. The plant expansion also accommodates the growth of their core technology process, the 5-axis machining of their 7075-T6 aluminum impellers. They introduced two new models, the IM30/IM-40 (40-400 horsepower) and the IM-40/IM-50 (200-600 horsepower), which will be launched in 2024.

Calvin Miller, Ken Jones, Nate Neufeld and David Sperber, displaying their new 600 hp geared centrifugal blower, at the Inovair booth (left to right).


The Atlas Copco booth featured many blower technologies but my visit focused on their ZS Series gear-box driven, rotary screw blowers designed for industrial and aeration blower applications. Flow ranges are from 160 to 5,300 cfm at pressures from 4.4 to 22 psig. Blower Business Line VP, Travis McGarrah, explained the gear-box drive is an important feature as it improves energy efficiency and eliminates maintenance. Another important feature is a pressurized oil circuit with a filter and oil cooler. He also pointed out a new OGP+ Series oxygen generator, which when combined with a blower, provides almost double the flow of oxygen compared to a traditional compressed air supply.

Travis McGarrah next to a ZS 4 VSD rotary screw blower at the Atlas Copco booth.


APG-Neuros displayed large 500 hp, 1000 hp and 1500 hp models of their high-speed turbo blowers. The 500 hp and 1,000 hp (dual core) units deploy air bearings while the 1500 hp (single core) unit uses magnetic bearings. I was surprised to see such large units and Adam Hammoud confirmed the firm has successfully entered, over the past five years, the “very large” (that’s my technical term) turbo/centrifugal blower market. He also said a purchase order has been received from a Toronto area municipal wastewater facility for a complete retrofit of what they believe to be one of the largest aeration blower installations in North America. They plan to fulfill this order in 2024. He also showed me what they call a “medium voltage design” where they have integrated a transformer into a blower package.

Craig Phelps and Adam Hammoud at the APG-Neuros booth (left to right).


Kaeser Compressors’ booth featured their CompaK lobed blower package but the real highlight was the Second Generation design of their rotary screw blower product line. The CBS-HBS product lines cover a flow range of 190 to 5,650 cfm at pressures from 4 to 15 psi. Peter Werhahn and Stephen Horne showed me a new FBS unit in the booth. This new generation of machines feature gear drives and SYNRM (synchronous reluctance) motors offering 7% higher efficiencies and an integrated VFD installed with front access where the control panel is located. This space saving integration of the VFD allows for side-by-side installation of VFD blowers. They also had a 200 horsepower rental package of their magnetic bearing turbo blower in the booth.

Peter Werhahn and Stephen Horne next to the new generation FBS rotary screw blower at the Kaeser booth (left to right).


Lontra had a large booth with their new LP2 Blade Blower technology. Their Commercial Director is Chris Hyde, who it turns out is a veteran like me of the European compressed air market in the ‘90’s. Their sales manager in the U.S. is also very experienced, Edgar Arreaza. They told me they are actively seeking “sponsored installation sites” in the U.S. and encourage our readers to contact them. They had a 110 horsepower VFD blower in the booth which uses a permanent magnet motor. They say their new technology (they describe it as a cross between a vertical recip and a rotary vane) is 22 to 34% more efficient than a traditional lobe blower and that it has an 80% turndown while holding high efficiency levels.

Cody Shultz, Katherine Garratt, Ronan Cox, Chris Hyde, and Edgar Arreaza at the Lontra booth (left to right).

There have been some significant changes at Howden. First, they were acquired by Chart Industries in March 2023. The Chart website says it’s “a global manufacturer of highly engineered cryogenic equipment servicing multiple applications in the clean energy and industrial gas market.” Second, Ingersoll Rand completed the acquisition of Roots from Chart Industries in August, 2023. What hasn’t changed is that Howden is the owner of the powerful Turblex™ brand name and at their booth they were showing a 200 kW Howden turbo blower using a Turblex™ airend with a permanent magnet motor with active magnetic bearings. Jim Trace and Ricardo Alzate explained there are four models in the 100 to 300 kW range and that the design eliminates the need for lubrication oils. They also said their customers like their fully integrated multi blower control system able to manage up to eight blowers.

Jim Trace and Ricardo Alzate next to a 200 kW magnetic bearing turbo blower at the Howden booth (left to right).


Hoffman & Lamson is part of the Nash Division and manufactured by Gardner Denver Inc., which is part of Ingersoll Rand. I think I’m expressing that correctly. Interestingly, their booth only featured the Hoffman & Lamson brand name. The booth team showed me the Hoffman Defender PD lobe or rotary screw product line, featuring “Robuschi inside”, with models up to 500 horsepower. They also displayed a Hoffman Revolution Plus turbo blower, using air foil bearings, with models up to 700 horsepower. They also continue to manufacture a full range of traditional multistage centrifugal blowers from 10 to 2,000 horsepower.

George Hubbard, Robert Sexton and Andre Narbonne at the Hoffman and Lamson booth (left to right).


Lone Star Blower and Compressor displayed their wide range of blowers including a high speed turbo which uses air bearings. Based in Houston, Lone Star manufactures centrifugal, geared, gearless and multistage blowers and air compressors. 

Charles Davis and Amber Roberts at the Lone Star Blower and Compressor booth (left to right).


Roger Blanton at the Eurus Blower booth said they’ve experienced significant growth over the past few years. Eurus manufactures rotary lobe PD blowers and said their strength is their reliability plus the fact they have five warehouses in North America with good lead times.  Mentioning industry consolidation and acquisitions as a factor, Roger said OEMs have turned to them as reliable partner for on-time deliveries and reliable performance. I was surprised to hear him say they’ve also been making headway with multistage centrifugal blower sales.

Roger Blanton at the Eurus Blower booth.


Next Turbo Americas is based in Kansas City, MO, where it has manufacturing, assembly and service capabilities for their line of integrally geared turbocompressors manufactured in Italy. General Manager Scott Matthews kindly took some time to give me a crash course on some key features of their integrally geared turbocompressors (pressures to 23 psi) available in six frame families to above 3,000 horsepower. He started with saying their design is a favorite with service technicians and maintenance people. For example, the easy access to the impeller allows them to train their customers to clean the diffuser vanes every three years. After saying their designs are for 3600 rpm machines, he went into the two types of bearings they use (1) ceramic anti-friction bearings and (2) hydrodynamic multi-pad bearings. One item stuck with me regarding the ceramic bearings when he said they only require a fill of 10 gallons of oil vs. journal bearings which can require fills of 80 to 130 gallons.

Scott Matthews at the Next Turbo booth.


TNE is a Korean manufacturer of air bearing, gear-less, high-speed turbo blowers. Their literature states they have a business in Oakland, California. It goes on to list four product lines ranging from 10 to 900 horsepower. I spoke briefly with their manager for business in Mexico, Latin and South America, Luis Enrique Beltran, who said he’s been working for them for many years with good results.

Luis Enrique Beltran at the TNE booth.


SMC had a booth with all their pneumatic solutions. Jon Jensen showed me, once again, their Air Management System. The AMS, in my opinion, is an excellent next-step for anybody wondering how to continue demand-side improvements after getting their compressed air leak load under control. The system can automatically close valves and shut off compressed air supply to idle work stations. It can also incorporate a simple dew point measurement device to warn of poor compressed air quality.

Jon Jensen next to the Air Management System at the SMC booth.


Weftec 2024 is scheduled for October 7-9, 2024, in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. For more information visit

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