Go with the Flow

By: Kaeser Compressors, Inc.

We recently published a blog entry on rotary blowers for vacuum applications and the benefits they can provide in providing better hold down, reduced footprint, and energy and maintenance savings. Here is a case study example from one of our customers who made the switch to blowers.


For many years, the compressed air system for an industry leader in furniture manufacturing relied on vacuum instead of flow to provide hold down for their CNC router tables.

Despite having multiple rotary screw vacuum units providing up to 27” Hg vacuum, there was still significant scrap materials and downtime since the sheets would move after portions were cut away. The 40 hp vacuum screw units were upgraded to 100 hp units and special roller bars were added to keep the sheets in place, but the problems continued.

Additionally, the leather fibers and dust that go hand-in-hand with this type of installation were harsh on the vacuum screw units. Filters collapsed and airends had to be replaced due to contamination.


Kaeser provided a unique solution – it’s not the vacuum that provides the hold down, it’s the flow that keeps the sheets of wood in place. Kaeser recommended an Omega DB 236 with optional external STC controls and additional DB 236C units with integrated controls to replace the multiple vacuum screw units.


In addition to providing outstanding hold down, the blower packages have a significantly smaller footprint – almost a quarter of the size of the 100 hp screw compressors. These blower packages require less routine maintenance and are less sensitive to the ambient conditions. They also use less oil and require few consumables, making them a greener solution. Finally, the energy savings have been significant – only 120 hp is needed to provide exceptional hold down instead of the 320 hp previously used for the vacuum screw units. To save on space, energy, and maintenance costs, sometimes you just have to go with the flow!

Operating Energy Costs for Previous System:          $119,000 per year

Operating Energy Costs for New System:       $45,000 per year

Floor Space Required for Previous System: 175 sq. ft.

Floor Space Required for New System:        70 sq. ft.

Additional Savings in Maintenance Costs:     $25,000 per year

Are you using compressors for vacuum hold down? Contact us to see if switching to blowers is the right choice for your application.