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German company opens first facility in Mississippi

OLIVE BRANCH — The name Kaeser Compressors Inc. is a familiar one around the world. Headquartered in Coburg, Germany, the company operates 21 company-owned and -operated stores in the U.S., and is in more than 58 countries worldwide. However, its recently opened Mid-South Distribution and Service Center in Olive Branch represents Kaeser’s first foray into Mississippi.

“The difference in taxes and inventory impact had a great deal to do with the decision to move into Mississippi instead of Memphis,” said Steve Anglin, branch manager. “(From this facility), we cover West Tennessee, North Mississippi and all of Arkansas.”

The Olive Branch operation, housed in a 5,000-square-foot facility on Highway 178, currently employs six workers, but Anglin said typical Kaeser branches employ from 15-20 people, so growth can be expected. Kaeser customers encompass a wide range of industries, including furniture and general manufacturers, chemical processing plants, pulp and paper mills, newspapers, hospitals, body shops, power plants, food processors, fish farming and wastewater treatment facilities.

“(Air compressors) are everywhere,” Anglin said. “And understand that each of these applications can be uniquely different. Most people think of air as pressure. Although it does require pressure, its cfm (gas flow rates measured in cubic feet per minute) that does the true work.”

Thus, the Olive Branch sells and services the full line of Kaeser products. These include Sigma electrically-driven stationary and Mobilair engine-driven portable compressors, Omega blowers, vacuum pumps and related equipment. Kaeser’s gear can be used in applications ranging from 29 inches of mercury inlet vacuum to 650 pounds of discharge pressure with gas flow rates to 4,400 cfm.

Anglin and the company tout Kaeser’s German engineering, which also means that the corporation’s products are not the least expensive in the marketplace. But Anglin insists that the purchase price is the least of an owner’s costs.

“It costs more to run it than it does to buy it,” Anglin explained. “Over 70% of the life cycle cost will be in electricity. Less than 15% of the cost will be in the purchase price of a unit.”

To this end, Kaeser offers a wide range of services to assist its customers in understanding the costs associated with its products. The company can analyze various portions of the compressed air system or perform a full-plant air audit. The audit provides such information such as kilowatt-hour rates, leak detection, dew point monitoring, demand analysis and load profiling.

This attention to energy efficiency has not gone unnoticed by the federal government. According to Kaeser, it is the only air compressor manufacturer currently included in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Partnering for Success Program. The program features companies and organizations that have worked with the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) during the past year and have made significant efforts to raise awareness of the benefits of industrial energy efficiency. All of the companies in the book have contributed to improving the energy intensity of the U.S. economy as called for in the President’s National Energy Program. (To learn more about the program, visit www.eren.doe.gov.)

“Ninety-seven percent of the owners of compressed air systems don’t understand the true cost of air production,” Anglin said. “You ask them about their electrical bill and they think they know how much they pay in energy costs. But very few calculate how much energy is needed for compressed air. In the U.S., on average, compressed air cost is seven to 10 times more expensive than electricity per volume. We call it the fourth utility — the least understood utility.”

Anglin, a 20-year veteran of the industry, said, “The compressor industry has changed more in the past five to 10 years than it has in the past 100 years.”

Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at northway@msbusiness.com.

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