Industrial Utility Efficiency    

Show Report: Blower and Vacuum Technology at the NPE 2015 Plastics Showcase

The NPE 2015 International Plastics Showcase was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, March 23-27. The Show attracted 2,029 exhibitors - including Blower & Vacuum Best Practices Magazine!  Over 1,128,000 square feet of exhibition space was used – both figures breaking the all-time NPE records set in 2000. Held once every three years, NPE registered attendance was 65,810 – 19% greater than the 2012 event.

The plastics industry is the 4th largest in the U.S. It’s a major user of all the technologies we cover including blowers, vacuum, chillers and compressed air system components. Whether for extruding, thermoforming or conveying, the blower and vacuum industry was very well represented displaying technologies supporting the plastics industry. Here are the highlights:


NPE 2015

Aside from a lot of cool blower and vacuum technology, NPE also had some really cool mold builders showing what they can do!


Vacuum Technology Focused on Plastics

The plastics industry, particularly extruders, is a heavy user of liquid ring vacuum pumps due to the wet environment. Atlas Copco is making a strong push, with their GHS rotary screw vacuum pumps, to replace liquid ring technology. Erik Arfalk and Brian Plotkin explained how they are implementing projects where their 15 horsepower vacuum pumps are replacing 30 horsepower units. Their GHS VSD soft-start units have a 90% turn-down range and a patented inlet valve preventing the machine from seeing more than 400 mbar. They told me the “energy-efficiency” sweet spot of the GHS is at 25” HgV.


Atlas Copco NPE 2015

Randy Leath, Erik Arfalk, Paul Petersen and Brian Plotkin from Atlas Copco (left to right) next to the GHS 730VSD+ vacuum pump.


Becker Pumps had a nice booth where Mick Wentzel and Greg Braswell said the company had launched a new 20,000 hour guaranteed vane life, available on all Becker oil-free rotary vane vacuum pumps. We discussed how their U Series oil-lubricated rotary vane pumps are popular in thermoforming applications. These direct-driven units featuring a multi-stage oil separation system provide vacuum to 29.9 “Hg (0.4 Torr).


Becker Pumps at NPE 2015

Mick Wentzel and Greg Braswell from Becker Pumps (left to right) announced a 20,000 hour guaranteed vane life program on oil-free rotary vane pumps.


The more I learn about blower and vacuum technology, the more I realize how broad a product offering Gardner Denver has. Paul Mosher and Joe Janssen gave me a quick tutorial on how liquid ring vacuum pumps function and then reviewed some of the technologies in their booth including their 2BH side channel blower and the 2BV liquid ring vacuum pump. They explained how their VSi rotary screw vacuum pump is being used to remove CO2 from the carbonation process with some bottlers. We spent a considerable amount of time reviewing their VLR claw vacuum pump rated for 43-671 cfm with an ultimate vacuum of 27” Hg. The unit features contact-less compression and lower maintenance costs as there are no carbon vanes to wear or replace.


Gardner Denver at NPE 2015

Paul Mosher and Joe Janssen from Gardner Denver (left to right) stand next a cut-away of their VLR Claw Vacuum Pump.


FIPA is a leading German manufacturer of vacuum technology and gripper systems for assembly equipment. Their U.S. operation has been based in Cary, North Carolina since 2006 and they recently expanded their sales force by adding Joe Opal to focus on the plastic assembly market. Those who know me realize this technology interests me greatly due to the compressed air demand-reduction opportunities this process represents. While at their booth, Jennifer Gerdhenrichs reviewed their new air-saving EMA Series with electronic vacuum and blow-off control able to provide compressed air consumption savings of up to 90%.


X, Jennifer Gerdhenrichs and X from FIPA (left to right) with their EMA Series vacuum ejectors featuring an air-saving function.

Max Eason, Jennifer Gerdhenrichs and Brent Lewis from FIPA (left to right) with their EMA Series vacuum ejectors featuring an air-saving function.


Syncro at NPE 2015

Syncro designs a full range of air ring, conveying, gauging and other plastics processing systems. Pictured is an Elmo Rietschle unit integrated into a Syncro system.


For more information, contact Rod Smth, Editor of Blower & Vacuum Best Practices Magazine, tel: 1-412-980-9901. For more information on NPE 2018 visit