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Kaeser Compressor lemon - Which brand to buy next?

Mickey_D

Stainless
Joined
Apr 18, 2006
Location
Austin, TX
Everybody says how great Kaeser compressors are, so I bought an SX5 rotary screw. Kaeser inspected my usage demands,inspected my exhaust ducting for proper design, and I have them do the service every year.

It is 3.5 years old with 3500 hours on it and it has already had a bad solenoid valve (warranty), a bad vent valve (warranty), the entire motor was replaced (warranty), and now the air end is shot, of course it's out of warranty and it's going to cost $5600 to fix a $7500 compressor. I think I have enough evidence to definitively call this thing a giant piece of shit.

The theory is that the compressor is not being utilized enough to cook water out of the oil. I don't know how much air we are using, but my old IR 18cfm piston compressor puts out very close to the rated 18cfm (tested by me, and yes I know the volume of compressed air is larger than the physical tank size), and that thing runs damn near all day long to keep up. So I'm not sure how we are under utilizing a 25cfm compressor bad enough to roast an air end in 3 years.

The Kaeser salesman even admits that this should not have happened, but so far Kaeser doesn't seem to want to give me any concessions toward either a replacement compressor or the repair bill to get this thing fixed. I'm told we should have a final answer to what Kaeser is willing to do 'before the holidays'. That would be nearly 2 months since I first brought up the problem. For a company that claims to be the king of reliability and service, this is piss poor performance.

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So! What brands should I be looking at to quote my next rotary screw?

We ran for a while on a 15HP Kaiser screw and it never shut off under normal use. It would open the relief valve and draw enough amps for about 7.5 hp but really did not help our electric bill. Added another 500 gallons of air tank and it helped with the cycling but it would still run for 30 minutes and shutdown for 20 or so. Ended up switching back to a 10hp recip and the electric bill dropped by about $400 a month. I learned that you really need to size a screw compressor correctly and shut it down at night so leaks do not make it cycle even when you are gone. As for your system, you might look at increasing the size of your tanks so it does not cycle as often.
 

smallshopwrench

Plastic
Joined
Dec 1, 2020
Atlas -Copco bought out Quincy and is slowly but surely turning them into Atlas clones. This comes from the midwest regional manager for Atlas. We bought a brand new Atlas VFD GA-26 in 2015 and it has been down more than running. Waiting on a yaksawa drive now, estimated to be 3 more months. We're looking elsewhere especially at eaton. Do not buy Atlas-copco they are now junk.
 

Ox

Diamond
Joined
Aug 27, 2002
Location
West Unity, Ohio
My Hydrovane is on at 110 and off at 120, no issues. Depending on the model, Max pressure is either 100 or 150 PSI. All you had to do is adjust it.


So why is a screw more popular?
Are they more efficient maybe?



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Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

kustomizer

Titanium
Joined
Aug 17, 2007
Location
North Fork Idaho
So why is a screw more popular?
Are they more efficient maybe?



-----------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox

They are more efficient if you can use all the air they can make, not so much if they are cycling in my experience. They are quieter, many have a built in dryer
 

dkmc

Diamond
Good question. They are:
More complicated and expensive to make
Spin at much higher RPM, so more wear and bigger bang when they fail
Generate more heat due to higher speeds/friction
Must be more but I'm out of ambition to think of it all....

Edit: It's easy to spend an hour on Google reading the Vane compressor bashing by the Screw compressor people, and visa-versa. In the end, the leakage paths in the screw seem like it would be a less efficient design. Who knows. I'm bias toward Vane types because of obvious design differences. And I own both Vane and Screw types.

So why is a screw more popular?
Are they more efficient maybe?



-----------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 

tomjelly

Stainless
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Location
GA
Most people (me at least) expect their compressors to run for years. The Kaesers I've seen have computers (some with batteries on board, and sealed so you can't replace them) and membrane button control panels, which don't. Ask me how I know. If that stuff fails, its all over no matter how good the pump and motor are. For recip, QR Quincys are great as are IR t-30s (decent IR knockoff parts are super cheap on ebay also). Atlas Copco GX4FF was as basic as it gets for a small screw as far as control goes, don't know if its still that way. The larger screw and vane compressor business is a racket with high dollar mystery lubricants, filters and service contracts. Stay away...
 

Dan from Oakland

Titanium
Joined
Sep 15, 2005
Location
Oakland, CA
Gotta say IR T30s seem to run forever if you keep oil in them. Our 15 HP is probably going on 40 years old and the only issue is the motor had a serious smoke leak about 15 years ago, so we even replaced the belts along with the motor. Not very sexy, but...…….. Best part is you can work on them yourself if something does break. The only "electronics" are the pressure switch and the motor contactor.
 

Rob L

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Location
Staffordshire, UK
They are more efficient if you can use all the air they can make, not so much if they are cycling in my experience. They are quieter, many have a built in dryer
On that topic this video (imo) sums it up quite well,

Variable speed air compressors are they the future - YouTube

I'm quite glad of this thread, I have fairly low air supply requirements and have been running a 3HP piston compressor for six years running probably a 25% duty cycle, finally got sick of the noise and the lack of a good place to put it where the noise would be less of a problem, looked at a Hydrovane since they're made domestically and have a reputation for being super reliable but my air consumption just isn't high enough for it to be worth it, same for screw compressors but with a load of added hype, extra expense and complexity.

Ended up ordering (and receiving) an ABAC silenced 3HP compressor last week, partly unfluenced by all the comments here, basically what I had but considerably quieter and appears to be built to a higher standard. One of the important factors in choosing it was the simplicity and availablility of parts though, the most complex bit of the electronics is the analogue hour counter and the rest is just a good quality motor and pump with service parts readily available for not much money.

Prior to seeing this and really doing some more research myself I was under the impression that Kaeser screw compressors were the bees knees, largely thanks to the usual youtubers/influencers who seem to love them but now I know that is actually a lot more application dependant than I realised. I guess I shouldn't be suprised, what in the world of machining isn't application dependant afterall.
 

bryan_machine

Diamond
Joined
Jun 16, 2006
Location
Near Seattle
I bought a Kaeser in 2006 or so, to provide air for my then brand new DMU60 (installed 2007) Because it didn't sound like a banshie come to haul me away to hell, would make the volume of air sustained, and in that pre-youtube influencer era, various parties suggested them. We do have a good local dealer for them.

The oil/filter/belt stuff is spendy. I only run maybe 200 hours a year (very low.) But it's now 17 years old with exactly zero problems. The keypad, computer battery, yada yada are fine - so far.

But my use case isn't actually all that intermittent - as most of you know VMCs spit air constantly when running (spindle purge) and that's most of what this compressor supports - and so when it's on, it does have to actually keep running.

That said, it's **way** quieter than what it replaced, and does NOT fun "full power" all the time like some bigger/older rotary screws where claimed to do.

None of that informs what anybody should buy in 2022.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
I'm lucky my air requirements are low, so I can get away with using 3hp reciprocating compressors.

Main shop compressor is a Home Depot Husky unit that had been returned, which I got from a warehouse full of Home Depot returns for $100. Runs great, goes thru pressure switches about once every other year, so i keep the $25 replacements on the shelf. This last year i forgot to keep a spare pressure switch, so I had to go to Harbor Freight and get the largest compressor ($250 approx) that would fit into the backseat of my Corolla. That runs great, it's not being used, but the tank is for extra capacity.

I figure just keep buying cheap compressors, if nothing else, it adds to the tank capacity.

I'll never need to see what some influencer,youtuber,tiktoker says i should be using, less than $500 investment for air compressors over the last 10 years has kept more than adequately supplied.

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as for the noise when it runs, it drowns out the country music:eek: coming from my neighbour.
 

Garwood

Diamond
Joined
Oct 10, 2009
Location
Oregon
I finally got my pair of skid mounted 5HP Quincy 325's set up with a 240 tank and 100 CFM refer drier and I love them. Both compressors running on quality VFD's with a lazy 5 second accel. They are very quiet without even trying and they can deliver about 40 CFM @ 165 when I need it. I haven't had both of them kick on yet. With a 240 tank one keeps up with everything so far. I mainly wanted two identical compressors for redundancy.

Don't buy cheap VFD's. I would have had this setup running in 2018 if I'd have spent the money for quality VFD's from the start. I went cheap and it was a big waste of time and money.

I am also surprised how much quieter these compressors are compared to all the similar Quincy's I've had in the past that were tank mounted. I just put soft rubber feet on the skids from Mcmaster carr and they are super mellow even at full tilt. The tank must be like an amplifier for the pump noise. I have a brand new 325 on a tank right next to the two on skids and the tank mounted one is much louder even though it's the exact same thing.
 

DouglasJRizzo

Titanium
Joined
Jun 7, 2011
Location
Ramsey, NJ.
When it comes to spare parts, I had a local supply house come through with some real miracles. I used to work in a place with a 50 hp Atlas-Copco compressor. One day, no air. Motor spinning, electrics good. Pull off a cover and there was a composite clutch between the motor and the pump that had disintegrated - literally nothing but tan powder in the motor compartment.

Called Atlas and the part was nearly $1200. Called the supply house, same part, no fancy labels or decals, $200.
 

Rapid_Tech

Aluminum
Joined
Oct 27, 2014
Location
Toronto
When it comes to spare parts, I had a local supply house come through with some real miracles. I used to work in a place with a 50 hp Atlas-Copco compressor. One day, no air. Motor spinning, electrics good. Pull off a cover and there was a composite clutch between the motor and the pump that had disintegrated - literally nothing but tan powder in the motor compartment.

Called Atlas and the part was nearly $1200. Called the supply house, same part, no fancy labels or decals, $200.

All these well known compressor manufacturers will try to screw you one way or another. We've got a Kaeser air center at the shop (compressor/dryer/tank all in one) and it's been fairly reliable but parts aren't cheap and "official" Kaeser service techs are nearly useless. At least the ones who service our area, that's right Air Solutions in Hamilton, I'm looking at you. All I can say is, have a back up compressor because there will be times you will need it!
 

dkmc

Diamond
Hydrovane makes units down to (I think) 3 horsepower. Surely you're not using less than that? Also, be sure you're shopping it the right place. Mine came out of a hedge row at an auto wrecking yard, total tariff.....$150 USD.

On that topic this video (imo) sums it up quite well,
looked at a Hydrovane since they're made domestically and have a reputation for being super reliable but my air consumption just isn't high enough for it to be worth it,

Went thru same couple years back with my IR 185 diesel portable. Luckily, the coupling had the brand name and part number still inked on it.....Lord Couplings. IR wanted $650, Lord distributor had it for $240.

When it comes to spare parts, I had a local supply house come through with some real miracles. I used to work in a place with a 50 hp Atlas-Copco compressor. One day, no air. Motor spinning, electrics good. Pull off a cover and there was a composite clutch between the motor and the pump that had disintegrated - literally nothing but tan powder in the motor compartment.

Called Atlas and the part was nearly $1200. Called the supply house, same part, no fancy labels or decals, $200.
 

BOB-OO

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 5, 2010
Location
NE PA
Kaesar SK20 & SK15- 12 & 8 years old, the maintenance is expensive but both have never missed a day. I don't think your experience is normal, maybe a poor design on the smaller sized units. I would ask your dealer to contact the area guy directly and look for a solution through Kaesar. They make a good product and you obviously didn't get one, I'd try to push for a solution with some goodwill from them. also send the oil out for a $35 analysis - you'll know if there's water in it and how much. The air ends should be good for minimum of 20k op hours and if sized properly(with air storage tanks) w good maintenance double that 40k. That should mean 10-20 years @ 8h/5d.

Sorry your having issues, they really should do something for you.
 

Rob L

Aluminum
Joined
Nov 5, 2019
Location
Staffordshire, UK
Hydrovane makes units down to (I think) 3 horsepower. Surely you're not using less than that? Also, be sure you're shopping it the right place. Mine came out of a hedge row at an auto wrecking yard, total tariff.....$150 USD.
I did look at the single phase 3HP models mounted on receivers, if memory serves me correctly my old compressor would run and fill the 150L receiver for two or three minutes and then be off for about 10 minutes before it'd kick in again, very low usage and that's running my most air hoggy machine (Hardinge CHNC), if I'm only running my Haas OL-1 I can get through an 8 hour day with it only coming on twice.

For the time being I'm going to be using my old compressor as my main receiver in addition to the small receiver mounted inside the new compressor but I'll probably look at buying a bigger vertical receiver to cut the number of startups the compressor has to do, I've just got to work out the best place to put one and how big I can get away with.
 

Nerdlinger

Stainless
Joined
Aug 10, 2013
Location
Chicago, IL
I did not read any more than your title and just wanted to say we got a Gardner Denver a couple years ago and so far so good! Quincy is our backup. Good luck!
 

escapethewrmhole

Aluminum
Joined
Dec 10, 2017
Atlas -Copco bought out Quincy and is slowly but surely turning them into Atlas clones. This comes from the midwest regional manager for Atlas. We bought a brand new Atlas VFD GA-26 in 2015 and it has been down more than running. Waiting on a yaksawa drive now, estimated to be 3 more months. We're looking elsewhere especially at eaton. Do not buy Atlas-copco they are now junk.

I have two atlas copco compressors. One about 5-6 years old, one brand new. Both have been flawless and we don't maintain them nearly as well as what they should be. So perhaps your mileage may vary depending on model etc.
 








 
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