Industrial Utility Efficiency

Show Report: 2019 WEFTEC Aeration Blower Technology

The 2019 WEFTEC Technical Exhibition and Conference was held September 23-25 at McCormick Place in Chicago.  The event featured 148 technical sessions, 27 workshops, 16 mobile sessions, seven local facility tours and 1,000+ exhibitors.  Both Blower & Vacuum Best Practices and Compressed Air Best PracticesÒ Magazines were pleased to be in the literature bins at the 2019 WEFTEC!


Motors, Drives and Alternate Technology Roundup

ABB was presenting the Abilityä Digital Powertrain at the show. The Powertrain is a single portal and reporting tool for a drives, motors, bearings and pumps.  ABB is unique in that they manufacture all the main components in the system. Sensors collect data that can be trended to provide safety and maintenance cost benefits.  The Powertrain is Bluetooth enabled and the data can be stored and shared from a cloud or server. 

ABB Abilityä Digital Powertrain.

Erik Arfalk showed me Fluence’s Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor technology. He said their products can reduce the need for blowers significantly. This low energy technology is a spirally wound self-respiring membrane submerged into the wastewater tank. Low pressure air is blown though the side of the membrane to result in simultaneous nitrification and denitrification.

Erik Arfalk, Chief Marketing Officer at Fluence, in front of their Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor.

Nidec Motor Corporation was at the show with their motors for blower OEMs.  Their World Motor line has been available for two years now and is a complete redesign of their legacy product from US Motors.  The new line is lighter and has new castings.  The line provides better performance and efficiency.  They have a model for each application (Hostile Duty, Corro-Duty, and 841 Plus). Nidec was also proud to show me their Commander D Series that is an integrated motor with a built-in drive. 

Ed Koepke and Brian Wolek in front of the redesigned Nidec World Motor (left to right).

Siemens introduced their new SINAMATICS G120X drive at the show.  This new product is a variable frequency drive for pumps, fans, and compressors/blowers. The easy to use drive comes with a high-resolution graphic color keypad and optional Wi-Fi -enabled Smart Access application for data logging and cybersecurity.  The drive comes in a specially designed cabinet that can operate in a temperature range of -4 to 140° F.

Mark Martina in front of the Siemens SINAMATICS G120X drive.


Aeration Blower Technology Roundup

Aerzen and Ralph Wilton brought one of their rental units to the show.  Aerzen Rental provides 100% oil-free temporary blower packages for a wide range of industry sectors.  They told me their Rental Division, based in Atlanta, is growing quickly by serving low-pressure rental packages to applications previously served by 100 psi compressed air rentals. Aerzen was also proud to show me their AERprocess Dissolved Oxygen Control system.  A growing focus for Aerzen, this is a solution for controlling the dissolved oxygen (DO) concentration in the activated sludge treatment process as well as the blowers used to generate the process air flow.  It uses a smart control strategy to maintain DO concentrations at their set points.

 Ralph Wilton, from Aerzen, in front of a blower rental package.

APG-Neuros and their President, Omar Hammoud, were proud to launch their Gas Turbine Blower at the show.  This recently patented technology operates with either biogas from wastewater digestion or natural gas to be used as a blower or provide electric power as a generator.  This blower has no motor and provides a 45% cost savings!  The blower is also designed and manufactured in the U.S.

 Omar Hammoud, from APG-Neuros, in front of their Gas Turbine Blower.

Atlas Copco was excited to show the core of their new geared turbo blower at the show.  The new ZB 8+ is designed for low pressure applications and high air flows of 10,000 m3/hr.  The blower has also been designed for the highest reliability along with low operational costs to minimize the lifecycle costs of the blower solution. The new design is expected to be ready in 2020.  They also gave me a tour of their six other blower technologies, and I was quite impressed with their broad range!  Their technologies include: ZS (VSD+) oil-free rotary screw blowers, ZB VSD+ oil-free centrifugal air blowers, ZM oil-free multistage centrifugal blowers, and ZL (VSD) oil-free lobe blowers.

 John Conover, Matthew Cuttice, Eric Dorsey, Pete Lopez, Calvin Wallace, Jeff Stallmer, and Deepak Vetal from Atlas Copco (left to right).

Hardy Pro-Air really celebrated that WEFTEC was in Chicago during football season with Bears stickers on their equipment!    They provide custom engineered blower packages and short-term blowers for wastewater applications including seasonal vacation areas.  They brought their Rental Pro-Pack to the show that can be easily picked up and dropped into any location.  The package is enclosed for sound attenuation and comes with a direct drive.  Hardy Pro-Air can customize the package to their customers’ needs with any brand of blower and motor and can even include a NEMA 4 enclosure for outdoor installation.

Brad Horgett, from Hardy Pro-Air, with their Rental Pro-Pack.

Howden showed the latest generation of their EasyAirä Rotary blower at the show.  This new and improved blower has improved noise attenuation by lowering it 5-10 dBA to below 75 dBA. With 360° accessibility, the unit is really designed with service technicians in mind. It provides flows up to 5,000 cfm with seven units from 7.5 to 300 HP.  Everything in the package is stainless steel which makes it good for use in applications like saltwater spray.  Howden also had a Plinko game at their booth where you can play for donations to Jamming for Water among other prizes!

Jacque Shultz and Tim Hilgart from Howden (left to right).

Inovair had an impressive booth with a centrifugal blower hanging from the ceiling!  They had their IM 20/30 Series Geared Centrifugal Blowers displayed in the booth. They featured the new IM 20 Single model just released at the show.  The smaller design leads to better air filtration with pressure up to 22 psi.  These blowers will fit on a pad and are a true plug and play replacement for older models.  They told me their designs focus on reliability and low cost of ownership blowers.  Their proven technology is quiet and easy to service.  They are also proud of their industrial heritage.  They provide the blowers for forced air deicing for aircrafts that spread the fluid better and cut glycol use by 50%.  They also provide the blowers on the carts of fighter jets.  They provide durability, the right temperature, and an impressive pressure of 14 psi at altitude.

Ken Jones and Glen Roderique, from Inovair, in front of their IM 20 Single Geared Centrifugal Blower (left to right).

Kaeser was proud to present their newly acquired PillAerator Magnetic Bearing Turbo Blower at the show.  The PillAerator has a direct-drive, magnetic bearing motor and built in intelligent control system, so that it can reach efficiencies of up to 84%.  There are no oil changes or bearing replacements needed due to the magnetic bearing motor. The unit is water cooled and comes in a 200 Hp model and a 400 Hp model.  It can even act as a generator during a power outage!  Kaeser also showed me their Sigma Air Manager 4.0 performance asset management system.

Michael Camber, Travis Snead, and Stephen Horne in front of the Kaeser PillAerator turbo blower (left to right).

Lone Star Blower and Andrew Balberg were at the show with three blower technologies.  They offer the GL Series Geared Turbo Blower which is their most efficient option and is guaranteed for 10 years non-stop!  The blower has no ball bearings and no oil and uses a synthetic lubricant.  It has a long power range from 100 HP all the way up to 6,000 HP.  He also showed me the LS Series Multistage Turbo Blower designed for variable frequency drives. It has a wide flow range of 300 to 45,000 scfm and good sealings.  The last technology I saw was their DT Series Gearless Turbo Blower, the TurboMAX from Korea.  This is their fourth year with this blower and there are 100 units running in the U.S. already. This blower is air cooled and does not use a fan or a pump.  Andrew Balberg was most excited to talk about Lone Star Blower’s Aftermarket Services.  They supply rentals and OEM replacement parts for all manufacturers!  All of their parts are made in the U.S. and are assembled in their new factory in Houston.

Andrew Balberg and James Jin, from Lone Star Blower, and Rod Smith, Publisher of Blower and Vacuum Best Practices Magazine (left to right).

Mapro had their ML Series positive displacement blowers at the show.  These blowers are suitable for applications requiring a high flow rate of up to 2,450 cfm and discharge pressures of up to 15 psig. The unit has a rotating pair of tri-lobe rotors and does not develop pressure within the casting. The blowers are usually supplied with an integrated discharge silencer and soundproofed packages are also available. 

 Marcello Molesini from Mapro International SpA.

Ruhou Gao was proud to show me Spencer’s AyrJetä high efficiency turbo blower. The blower is a single stage magnetic bearing turbo for use in wastewater aeration.  The product range is from 100 to 470 hp, with flows up to 10,000 cfm and discharge pressures up to 15 psi.  The blower even has an integrated harmonic filter to protect the motor from the electrical current.  It has a maximum ambient temperature of 50° C and can be either air-cooled or water-cooled.

 Ruhou Gao, from Spencer, with their AyrJetä.

Sulzer was at the show with their efficient and reliable HSTä turbocompressors. The turbocompressors provide energy savings, reduced CO2 emissions, and low maintenance costs to secure a fast investment pay-back.  Each model has a high-speed motor and digitally controlled magnetic bearings. The magnetic bearing technology is oil-free to reduce operating and maintenance costs.  Even the first machines installed more than 20 years ago are still running on their first set of bearings!  All of the separate components of the unit are incorporated into one cabinet so that there is no need for a special foundation.  The booth even had the separate components of their magnetic bearings separated for you to touch and see!

Edward Paro and Scott Long from Sulzer (left to right).

The 2020 WEFTEC Technical Exhibition and Conference will be held October 5th to October 7th at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.  For more information on the 2020 WEFTEC, visit


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