FS-Curtis Air Compressor Blog

Auto Care Shop Compressors – Don’t Rotate from Recip & Don’t Vary from Fixed Speed

Posted by Jon Rehg

Jun 22, 2015 10:54:21 AM

A Variable Speed Drive compressor sounds like a smart idea, but is it really?

Earlier we posted a blog on why rotary machines are often not ideal applications in auto care shops – CLICK HERE TO GO TO THAT POST. Now let’s address another rotary compressor question that auto care facilities ask us on a regular basis: Should I spend the extra money to put an energy-saving VariableCT10_(1) Speed Drive (aka: Variable Frequency Drive) rotary screw compressor in my facility? The short answer to this question is: probably not.

The folks asking this question have heard that VSD/VFD machines may cost more up front but that they cost less to run and thus pay for themselves in the long run. In addition, many utility companies offer rebates for VSD/VFD machines that can help offset the larger up-front cost. Just like everyone else, automotive care facilities want to save money and energy, so this supposed value proposition sounds attractive. Right?

So why then is VSD/VFD probably not a good idea for most automotive care facilities?  The short answer is that most automotive care facilities typically have severe peaks and valleys in their compressed air usage due to the intermittent use of tools and equipment in the shop. This in itself does not rule out VSD/VFD. In fact, VSD/VFD is ideal for customers whose demand fluctuates, provided that it does not fluctuate too much. The problem with auto care facilities is that their valleys are too deep. Too much downtime. The rule of thumb is that when the valleys are 30% or less of the peaks, the compressor will have to shut down, essentially forcing it to run as a start/stop machine. There are several issues with running a VSD/VFD machine in this type of application:

  • More expensive – First of all, the customer is paying a 30% or more premium for a VSD/VFD machine to run just like a cheaper start/stop fixed speed machine. Perhaps the more important comparison is that the customer would be paying a whopping 70% premium compared to a fully-loaded UltraPack recip, which is probably the best application in most auto care shops.
  • Phantom Energy Savings – VSD/VFD machines are ideal for loads somewhere between 30 and 80 percent of full load. There are little to no energy savings otherwise. Even though very short payback periods are often cited, these are for machines in ideal scenarios with exactly the right load profile. Auto care facilities very seldom have an appropriate load profile. If one isn’t going to get the benefit of the VSD/VFD, why pay extra for it, and risk some of the potential headaches outlined below?
  • Increased Maintenance -

o   VSD/VFD’s require minimal incremental maintenance on the drive compared to standard fixed speed machines. These increased costs should be considered in any decision to go with a variable speed machine.

o   VSD/VFD’s require a cleaner environment for the sensitive electronics of the drive. This can lead to increased maintenance costs and possibly drive replacement, which is very expensive. If the machine is going to be placed in a shop with dust and other contaminants floating in the air, then the cost of protecting the drive from these contaminants, or paying extra for maintenance and/or replacement, must be considered.

The bottom line is that most auto care applications are not ideal for VSD/VFD machines.  The severe valleys in demand profiles mean there probably won’t be energy savings to offset the increased acquisition and maintenance/replacement costs. In addition, most shops are too dirty to install a VSD/VFD without increased risk and cost.

If you would like more information on fixed speed compressor options, click here to compare different options. If you still think a VSD/VFD makes sense, or if you have further questions about our machines (e.g. What is UltraPack? Duplex?) visit our YouTube Library, our distributor portal, our website, or simply call us at 800.925.5431.

Click below to get free production information regarding recip compressors

New Call-to-Action        New Call-to-Action        Click Here To Download

Read More

FS-Curtis Famous Route 66 Road Trip Photo Contest

Posted by Jon Rehg

Jun 18, 2015 7:05:00 AM




We want you to share your favorite summer vacation photo with us. Just for entering, you’re eligible to win one of any number of cool prizes, including Route 66 memorabilia, FS-Curtis stuff and a chance for the grand prize—two tickets to the 2016 Daytona 500! You can be a weekly winner and you’re still eligible to win the grand prize.

Send us something fun, different or slightly off the beaten path. Or, a family photo or selfie relaxing on the beach or hiking in the mountains. The more creative the better!

Prizes will be drawn randomly each week June 21-Sept 15, 2015. Grand prize will be drawn randomly November 5, 2015, week of the SEMA auto show in Las Vegas.

If you’ve already been on the road and vacationing, you can still enter your favorite photo (only one) from your trip, as long as it was taken after May 21, 2015. One photo per person, per entry. You can only enter the contest one time.

To learn more about the contest and how to enter, click this link: http://info.us.fscurtis.com/fs-curtis-summertime-route-66-photo-contest.

ALL photos will be posted on the FS-Curtis website (http://us.fscurtis.com/) and our on Facebook page.

So break out the Brownie and snap away. Good Luck!

  Enter Photo Contest Page

Read More

Topics: Contest

When Should I Service My Oil Flooded Rotary Screw Air Compressor?

Posted by Jon Rehg

May 27, 2015 7:00:00 AM

Each manufacturer’s make and model of rotary screw air compressor gives specific guidelines for Nx_CD_with_tankpreventative maintenance in the operations manual sent with the air compressor. You’ve invested a good deal of money in your new compressor, to protect your new investment it’s a wise idea to follow these preventative maintenance procedures. Keep in mind this is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a good start and will help give of mind knowing you are not neglecting your air compressor.

Daily:   Check for abnormalities

            Check oil level

Monthly: Perform Daily checks

              Check inlet air filter

              Check operation (load and unload)

Quarterly (2000 hours): Change oil and air filter

                                    Take oil sample

                                    Check scavenger line flow

                                    Check v-belts (if applicable)

                                    Perform daily and monthly checks

Semi-Annual (4000 hours):  Change air/oil separators (spin on type)

                                           Perform quarterly checks

Annual (8000 hours):  Change oil

                                  Change air / oil separator (drop in type)

                                  Perform quarterly checks

Keep in mind, these are the basic maintenance items needed to keep an oil flooded rotary screw compressor in good operation. This preventative maintenance program is designed for a standard condition, but as we all know most installations for air compressors would be considered dirty and dusty environments.

Another factor that is critical to the life of a compressor is the actual run time. All rotary screw compressors underlying guideline for maintenance is hours of operation. Most installations never operate 24 hrs per day / 7 days a week. There are only 8760 hours in a year and anything less than 24 hours will result in lower hours, which affect the amount of maintenance needed for each installation.

So, with all of these factors to consider, what does an owner of an oil flooded rotary screw compressor do to properly maintain the air compressor to ensure long reliable operation?

To answer this question we need to look at several factors:

1)   Environment

First the environment is the one factor that governs all of the others. If your compressor is running in a dirty environment where you have to keep cleaning the coolers externally to keep the compressor cool and the air filter is continually dirty when you inspect it periodically; then you have a dirty environment. Use the monthly recommendations and not the hours of run time.

2) Hours of operation (less than 4000 hrs per year)

In this case the recommendation would be to follow the time frame set out for preventative maintenance as described in the operations manual. Use monthly intervals for filter changes and not the hours of operation as your guide. This means air and oil filters changed every quarter (or more frequently) as well as air/oil separators changed per instruction manual. Please note if you are running 24 hrs / 7 days then air and oil filters will need to be changed in accordance with OEM recommendations.

3) Costs

Costs of preventative maintenance should be only considered as a last resort as it has been proven in many studies that preventative maintenance saves money. A proper preventative maintenance program will translate into more reliable operation and less down times for the owner. This will create a more efficient production process for the owner which generates income on a consistent basis.

In all other instances the OEM manual should be used as a guideline for changing all filters for the proper maintenance your rotary screw compressor.

A properly maintained air compressor can be accomplished by following several practical guidelines and discussing your needs with an FS-Curtis compressed air professional. To learn more download the product information below or visit our website.

                                                       New Call-to-action                    Click Here To Download





Read More

Topics: Rotary Screw

FS-Curtis Launches New Intelligent Line of Nx Air Compressors with iCommand-Touch Controller

Posted by Jon Rehg

May 15, 2015 10:54:00 AM

The much anticipated Nx series rotary screw air compressor with iCommand-Touch officially launched nationwide May 1, 2015. FS-Curtis, headquartered in St. Louis, MO., envisions the Nx as Nx_B_with_tankthe new frontier and blueprint of the future for their workhorse rotary screw product lineup.

“The Nx ups the ante in our industry, changes the game,” said Robert Horneman, Global Product Manager for FS-Curtis. “But the real spotlight is on our new touchpad controller, the iCommand-Touch, that’s the brains of the compressor”

The controller’s intelligent technology stretches far beyond simple input/output and sequencing operations. It’s programmable in 17 languages and has automatic startup capabilities for when temperatures drop below 37 degrees the oil in the unit does not freeze. The iCommand-Touch controller features touch screen capabilities with full-color graphics. The bright 3 ¾ x 2 ¼ LED screen displays trending and graphing information in real-time and also stores historical data for up to a full month.

“At a glance, you can see exactly how your system is operating at any given time, including Pressure, Air Quantity, Temperature, Usage, Air Circuit and Oil Circuit, and Maintenance intervals.” Horneman said that this sophisticated level of monitoring capability will save maintenance costs and prevent potential shutdowns and downtimes for their customers.

“Once people experience and appreciate the unique features of this controller, they’ll realize how it will simplify their operation and even relieve a level of stress since one of the star features of the controller is its ability to pinpoint and visually indicate potential trouble spots throughout the entire air system, including loss of pressure and air quantity. That can save a huge amount of downtime.”

And simple maintenance tasks like changing oil and filters will be faster with the Nx because of the well thought-out design of the spin-on/spin-off oil filter. Air delivery has also been substantially increased due to longer airend and optimized RPM range.

The integrated dryer also simplifies and consolidates all operational controls into one location, one control panel, freeing the user from having to make adjustments to the unit and then to the dryer.  

For the first time in FS-Curtis history, the new Nx will offer Variable Speed units as low as 8kw (10hp) with single phase units available in 4kw.

As the new Nx units begin rolling out in May, ranging from 4kw (5hp) to 37kw (50hp), FS-Curtis’ SEG, SE and GVS lines will be phased out, eventually making room for Nx’s larger, industrial units with kilowatt ratings reaching up to 250kw.

The future appears to be now for FS-Curtis, and they’re banking on the new Nx line to take them there.

CLICK HERE to find an FS-Curtis distributor in your area.

Click the icons below to receive Nx product information.




Media Contact:

Jon Rehg

Marketing Manager



314-383-1300  ext. 280

Read More

Topics: Nx

Which Reciprocating Air Compressor do I Need?

Posted by John Rehg

Apr 27, 2015 7:00:00 AM


It’s Not as Confusing as You Might Think


The good news is you have plenty of choices for almost any application. The bad news is, you have plenty of choices for almost any application. Making the right decision seems overwhelming, but it’s not. Let’s break it down and simplify. 

An excellent reference resource to introduce you to the CA, CT and ML lines is the application table below. For more details though keep reading and we’ll get straight to the nuts and bolts of what you need and what you don’t need in a recip compressor.


Whichever compressor you choose or determine is right for you, make sure it’s heavy-duty cast iron construction—NOT aluminum. Second, if you need a steady supply of clean, quiet, 100% continuous-duty air, a rotary compressor might be a better fit for you.  Click here to find out more about rotary compressors.


CT – If, one of your primary concerns is price and you are not concerned about water vapor in your air, then the CT is the right compressor for you. And the 2-year warranty offers good peace of mind. However, if you need more air and horsepower (CT offers 10hp, 29.7cfm), you’ll want to step up to CA or ML.

CA – If, you value the added peace of mind provided by a 5-year warranty, require low moisture content in your air (e.g. for extended tool and equipment life, improved paint outcomes, etc.), you appreciate the lower maintenance provided by the UltraPack option, or want a duplex machine to provide 100% backup, then the CA is the series you should buy.  CA machines top out at 15hp (42.6cfm) for simplex and 10hp (68.4cfm) for duplex, so if you need more, it’s time to take a look at our ML.

ML – If, you don’t mind paying a little more for the best and you have an very demanding application, our ML series will stand up to the challenge. Its “targeted oiling” system provided by our patented Centro Ring pressure lubrication means less worry for you. As with the CA, the ML series offers both UltraPack and Duplex options for low maintenance and 100% backup. In addition, ML machines go all the way up to 30hp (102.2cfm simplex, 204.4cfm duplex), providing plenty of air, even for large shops.


Hopefully, this quick tutorial helps you understand which FS-Curtis recip machine is right for you.  If you know what you want, Click here to purchase. If you still have questions about selecting the right compressor then check out one of our recip product brochures by clicking the icons below. You can also visit our YouTube Library, distributor portal, website, or call us at 800.925.5431.


New Call-to-Action      New Call-to-Action     Click Here To Download

Click to Download Brochure Information



Read More

Topics: Reciprocating Air Compressors

Should I purchase a refrigerated or desiccant compressed air dryer?

Posted by John Rehg

Apr 14, 2015 7:32:00 AM

Here's a hint…dew point          


Purchasing a refrigerated or desiccant air dryer is dependent on the acceptable moisture content or dew point requirement for your application.

Refrigerated air dryers are typically adequate for general purpose compressed air applications and will typically offer anywhere from a 35-40 F dew point. Cost is typically much less than that of other drying technologies. Refrigerated dryers use a refrigeration compressor and heat exchanger to cool the compressed air and remove moisture. There are two types of refrigerated dryers. The first type is cycling, which is the more energy efficient option and typically used for higher flows. The other and less expensive option is non-cycling. It is typically recommended to install a pre-filter to remove bulk liquids, oil and particulates to maximize the life of the dryer

Desiccant compressed air dryers are typically used when your application requires very dry compressed air or when the compressed air supply will run outside in cold environments. Desiccant dryers can achieve dew points as low as -100. This type of dryer typically has twin towers and passes the compressed air through a tower that is filled with desiccant. The desiccant attracts the moisture during the timed cycle and then purges, which releases the moisture to the atmosphere. While one tower is drying, the other is purging and regenerating.

This type of dryer does use a portion of the dried compressed air as part of the purge cycle so you need to be sure to supply enough compressed air to supply for both your demand and the purge requirement.

The different types of desiccant dryers can include  non-heated, heated purge and blower purge. The blower purge option uses the least amount of purged air and is the most expensive.  A pre- and after-filter should always be used with this type of dryer.

For more information on how to choose the correct compressed dryer visit the Air Treatment page of our website http://us.fscurtis.com/products/?c=7 or download our product brochures below.

                                     Click Here To Download         Click Here To Download         Click Here To Download        Click Here To Download

Click to Download Brochure Information

Read More

Topics: Dryers

DemandSmart Flow Controller Saves PSI, Energy and Money in Your Air Compressor System

Posted by John Rehg

Apr 6, 2015 10:11:00 AM



Why Do I Need a Flow Controller if I

Already Have a Pressure Regulator?


The Money Savings Payoff with a DemandSmart Flow Controller


The main inefficiency in only using a pressure regulator as oppowed to the DemandSmart Flow Controller system is in the mechanical losses. Often times a pressure regulator will experience a 10 psig mechanical loss through it. Why? Many pressure regulators are designed to operate by a spring applying pressure against a diaphragm. Ten psig air pressure is applied to the spring to collapse it enough to start opening the valve. This 10 psig is wasted energy for as long as air is flowing through the pressure regulator. It is NO different than having a 10 psig drop across an inline air filter.  A 10 psig restriction to air flow equals an increase of 5% energy back at the air compressor. See our blog post on how to save energy and money by conducting a simple air audit on your air compressor system. 


Many of us have experienced this pressure regulator inefficiency. For example, how many times have we set a pressure regulator at 100 psig, then walked over to an impact gun or paint sprayer only to see the pressure drop to 90 psig. The pressure regulator is then set to 110 psig to maintain 100 psig during air tool operation.

A properly designed Flow controller should only have a 2 psig or less mechanical loss during operation. Its feature & benefits are as follows:

  • Ensure a reliable stable source of air is available to production. Point-of-use air consuming equipment operates more consistently.
  • Reduction in waste and inefficiencies due to leaks and unregulated air use (artificial demand).
  • Allow consumption savings to translate into real dollar cost savings. Consumption is reduced proportionally to the reduction in air pressure.
  • True storage is created in an air system through pressure differential.
  • Air treatment equipment is protected from compressed air high velocities. This helps maintain the compressed air quality.
  • A reduction in air pressure improves the air quality by lowering the moisture dew point through expansion of the compressed air.

Click the DOWNLOAD link to get a copy of the DemandSmart product literature.  DemandSmart Flow Controller Saves PSI Pressure in Air Compressor System Demand Smart Flow Controller saves PSI and money in your air compressor system


Read More

THIS IS NO APRIL FOOL'S JOKE. Stay tuned for more...

Posted by John Rehg

Apr 1, 2015 5:42:22 AM

Read More

Using Rotary Air Compressors in Your Automotive Shop May be Costing You Money

Posted by John Rehg

Mar 11, 2015 3:40:00 PM

There has been a trend in recent years to promote the use of rotary screw air compressors in autocare applications due to the fact that reciprocating technology is perceived as “dated” and rotary as “cutting edge.” Rotary technology is also much quieter than recip technology, which increases the perceived value of rotary machines. It’s true that rotary technology is newer and quieter than recip, however, the initial cost for a rotary machine is typically 50% more than an UltraPack recip machine, regardless of whether it’s right for the job or not. In addition, there are several hidden costs associated with rotary machines that need to be considered before deciding which one is the best fit for your application:

  • Maintenance Costs  – Some manufacturers have mistakenly led customers to believe that recip machines are more expensive to maintain than rotary machines by stating that there is “easier” or “less” maintenance involved in rotary.  While it is true that rotary maintenance intervals (typically 2000 hours or one year, whichever comes first) are longer than recip maintenance intervals (typically 3 or 6 months), the cost of the consumables makes rotary maintenance 2 to 3 times that of recip over a 5 year period.  See the table below for two typical machines which details this cost comparison:
  • Misapplications – One of the great advantages of rotary technology is that it loves to run all the time. So if you have an application requiring a continuous use of air, and you size the compressor appropriately, a rotary machine will perform well without overheating. But, this strength becomes a weakness if a rotary machine is mis-applied.

o   Intermittent demand – If a rotary machine is placed in an application where demand fluctuates greatly, it will be underutilized during periods of low demand. This will cause the rotary machine to “short cycle” – i.e., the machine will not run long enough to build up the temperatures required in the airend to burn off water vapor in the oil. When a machine short cycles, it can lead to: premature fouling of internal filtration and downstream components; to pre-mature airend failure; and potentially to motor failure if an electronic controller or timer is not used to ensure that the machine does not start and stop too often. All of these potential issues add up to extra maintenance and/or replacement costs for misapplied rotaries. In addition, these things may void a manufacturer’s warranty, leaving the end-user to bear the burden of all costs.

o   Importance of sizing – If a rotary machine is oversized to account for future growth or simply as an insurance policy to make sure enough air is supplied to a customer, all of the issues outlined above come into play.  An oversized machine will almost surely short-cycle and lead to increased maintenance and service issues.

o   Cost of extra tank if flexibility is needed – If a rotary machine is misapplied, one of the ways to fix the application is to provide a larger storage buffer by adding a remote stand-alone tank, which will cause the compressor to run longer and achieve the required operating temperature.  While this can be an effective solution, it adds extra cost to some rotary applications that should be considered up front.

o   Bleeding air to atmosphere – Another solution to short-cycling is to bleed air to atmosphere if there is not enough demand.  This requires extra equipment and also means that the customer is spending money to compress air that is literally vented into the air instead of being put to work in the shop. Although this can be an effective solution, it again adds costs that should be considered up-front.

  • Re-builds – While rotary airends typically are designed to last twice as long as the best recip pumps, it costs a great deal to have them repaired or re-built, and in some cases, it is not possible to do so. So if a rotary machine is misapplied and the airend fails prematurely, the cost of the re-build will dwarf the cost of re-building a piston compressor.

Bottom line: While rotary machines are great in many applications, it pays to do some homework upfront to make sure a rotary makes sense in your application. At a minimum, check the following before buying a rotary machine for your shop:

  1. Make sure it’s the right size – A walk-through assessment of your shop is the best way to tell what size you need. If that option isn’t available, a simple pump-up test may suffice. If math is not your strong suit and you don’t have access to assessment equipment, work with a local air compressor expert to determine what is the appropriate size.
  2. Make sure your demand profile is appropriate – Basically this means ensuring that air demand is consistent enough to warrant a rotary machine. Again, a walk-through assessment is a great way to determine this, but engaging a local air expert is a good backup.
  3. And finally, once you buy the machine, make sure that it’s installed and maintained on a regular basis by a qualified rotary screw service center.

Rotary or Recip? The choice is yours. But an educated decision could save you some money.

Click this link to learn more about choosing the right recip compressor for your needs: http://us.fscurtis.com/products/?c=1 or click on the brochure image to receive free product information.

               Click to Download Brochure Information

Click Here To Download ML_Group

Read More

Topics: Recip vs. Rotary


Posted by John Rehg

Mar 5, 2015 6:29:00 AM


If your operation is looking for ways to cut costs and save money, start with your compressed air system. These systems have come a long way in a few short years, presenting the opportunity to maximize your air system and save energy (MONEY!). The first step in identifying these opportunities within your own compressed air system, and the most effective way to identify and verify these opportunities, is to do a simple walk-through assessment. If your system is like most, there are a lot of “low hanging fruit” opportunities that, if attended to properly, can save you several hundreds of dollars, maybe several thousands of dollars. The time it takes to do the assessment is well worth the effort.


  1. Artificial Demand
  • One of the most wasteful and expensive uses of compressed air is artificial demand. Artificial demand is defined by an air leak(s) in the piping system. Air leaks fool the air compressor into thinking that it needs to use more air than it actually does, but in reality the air is leaking into the atmosphere and causing the air compressor to continue to run unnecessarily. This artificial demand can be very expensive and costly to the compressed air system, and your wallet.

Please see Compressed Air Leak chart to calculate how much money you could be saving every day.


  1. System Pressure
  • Pressure in the pipe can be regulated to the demand side of the compressed air system with regulators or flow controllers. Pressure in the supply side can be controlled by the controller on the rotary air compressor or the pressure switch on the reciprocating air compressor. The lower the pressure that can be utilized in the production side or demand side, the lower the energy costs. Savings can be utilized by lowering the pressure and saving 1% in energy cost for every 2 PSI. Reducing system pressure also can have a cascading effect in improving overall system performance, reducing leakage rates and helping with capacity and other problems. Reduced pressure also reduces stress on components and operating equipment, making them last longer.
  1. Controls and System Performance are at the Heart of Energy Savings
  • Few air systems operate at full-load all of the time. Part-load performance is therefore critical and is primarily influenced by compressor type and control strategy. The type of control specified for a given system is largely determined by the type of compressor being used and the facility's demand profile. If a system has a single compressor with a very steady demand, a simple control system may be appropriate. On the other hand, a complex system with multiple compressors, varying demand, and many types of end uses will require a more sophisticated strategy. In any case, careful consideration should be given to both compressor and system control selection because they can be the most important factors affecting system performance and efficiency.
  1. Misuse of Air
  • Compressed air is probably the most expensive form of energy available in a plant. Compressed air is also clean, readily available and simple to use. As a result, compressed air is often chosen for applications for which other energy sources are more economical. Users should always consider more cost-effective forms of power before considering compressed air. Many operations can be accomplished more economically using alternative energy sources. Inappropriate uses of compressed air include any application that can be done more effectively or more efficiently by a method other than compressed air. Examples of potentially inappropriate uses of compressed air include:

           • Open blowing

           • Sparging

           • Aspirating

           • Atomizing

           • Padding

           • Vacuum generation

           • Personnel cooling

           • Open hand-held blowguns or lances

           • Diaphragm pumps

           • Cabinet cooling

  1. VFD/GSV Air Compressors
  • Replacing your current fix-speed air compressor with a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) air compressor will increase your energy savings. Most VFD compressors will realize a minimum of 20% to 30% energy savings over a fix- speed compressor. If you operate multiple air compressors, you will want to make one of them a Variable Drive and set it up as a trim machine to maximize the air system and energy savings.
  1. Drains
  • Eliminate Electronic Drain Valves (EDV) and replace with no-loss drains.

Bottom line: saving energy (MONEY!) is about recognizing problem areas and misuses of air in your system and making sure you have the right compressor in place.

Click this link to receive FREE information about how you can start saving energy today: http://info.us.fscurtis.com/demand-smart-flow-controller



Read More

Topics: Energy Savings

Subscribe to Email Updates

Follow Me