Although it's tempting to get an air dryer built in I would not do it. It locks you into the drier and if it fails your choices become limited.
If you are redoing your air system I would further suggest you add a dry tank.
The system is compressor, wet tank, filter(s), dryer, dry tank. If you think for a moment the purpose of the tank is to hold air for surge capacity. If the surge is higher then the compressor is capable of putting out it is also higher than the drier is capable of so you are putting moisture into the system. Having a dry tank gives you surge capacity of dry air. We have a system as described and it is bone dry. There is a drain on the dry tank and I have never seen one drop of water come out of it.
I am not familiar with Chicago Pneumatic so I can not recommend them. All the other brands are reasonable.
We have Kaeser compressors and have been very pleased with them.
Kaeser is the best out there. We looked at Ingersol Rand, Atlas Copco, and Quincy. Quincy makes great piston compressors but others make better screw compressors. If you get the higher end Ingersol Rand or Atlas Copco they will run about the same price as a Kaeser. Don't be fooled by the 20hp Ingersol Rand or Atlas Copco you can get for $8,000 they are not the same and don't make near as many CFM as the $15,000 20hp models. We went from a 25hp Quincy (ran almost all the time and so loud) to a 20hp Kaeser that now has about 2,000 hours on it. Since we have bought it, the run time is less than 200 hours. The best part is its now in the shop and you can't even hear it over the dust system unless you are within 5 ft. We have 12 guys in the shop, a 5x12 cnc, 52" wide belt and an edge bander plus plenty of orbital sanders and it keeps up just fine.
I would agree that your suggested product line speaks to the lower end screws (other than quincy). The fact that Chicago is even on the list would give anyone pause.
Your best bet is to find a local distributor and talk to them. Have them into your shop, help evaluate your needs, and offer packages.
I would also agree not to incorporate the drier into the compressor. If you keep it all separate your options are better.
Not that it was your intent but that list speaks to Tractor Supply, Harbor Frieght, internet direct buy options. Do yourself a favor and get yourself in touch with a local distributor of Quincy or Kaeser. We could have bought our Quincy on-line (it actually would have been more expensive than our local rep). We installed the compressor and two weeks later had a leak in the head. Our local rep was at the shop within 2 hours, had it pulled down and got us back on-line that day, had the parts next day air and were back in the morning and all was good.
You can read and watch endless posts and vid's of people who have setup and bought their own systems on-line trying to nickle and dime and they usually paid more, and the service is worse.
If your going to spend the money do it right and get with your local shop.
I had a Kaeser and it was a maintenance nightmare. Nearest service tech was at least two hours away and I had to pay both ways. In 5 years I had spent about 70% of the cost of the machine in repairs. Not the reason I bought a Kaeser. I now have an Ingersoll Rand and have had a few issues with it as well. At least the service tech is local. I would certainly look at the service for the brands you're considering as they can determine the cost of repairs and amount of downtime. We have a backup compressor because we're dead in the water if we don't have air. Stay away from the Chicago Pnuematic. Check with your local guys and separate the systems if you have the room.
Jerry I think you are being a little sensitive. Everyone is in a different place in their journey. People volunteering their time to answer your question is a good thing. They are warning you of mistakes they may have already made. I have owned and grown out of 4 compressor systems. My system now redundant and state of the art for a company our size.
Some brands are coming out with machines to compete with the lessor machines. Someone warned you about that. You can get a fine IR machine or a price leader that's not so fine. I had a 30hp Quincy screw and it worked, was noisy and did not put out as much air as 20hp Kaeser. Everything is relative. The bulk of a compressors cost over time is not its purchase price.
I recently did a study on vacuum pumps. I was between a 40hp decker or a 25hp Kaeser. The math I did at my rates showed there would be a $100 a month difference in electricity costs. That adds up fast 1,200 a year or 6,000 in five years. That helped me make a decision. Do the math.
Look closely at how much air is produced per HP and figure out your actual need. We bought a gage for $2-300 that told us our actual use real time. You sit there and watch that for a while and you can get a firm handle on the real peak amount of air you use.
We dropped our main compressor down 10hp, that was good for $80 a month savings.
I would call the local dealers, IR, Quincy, Gardner Denver, Kaeser all of them. If nothing else you will learn a great deal.
We went from 2 10hp Curtis recips to one 25hp Curtis screw. The recips were OK but got to the point of almost continuous run, not good for a recip. The Curtis screw has been very disappointing. Control failures, leaks, rather crude looking construction. A poor local dealer. We have a 40hp Quincy vac that has been very good. About 17,000 hours on the meter. I think Quincy is now owned by Atlas Copco.
We have 2 Atlas Copco rotary screw units. A 15hp main and a 10hp backup, both have run without a problem for years. They are the nicer units, not the cheap ones. We also have a great dealer in the area.
I'd steer clear of Atlas Copco. We got a lemon from them that in the first few months dumped all of it's oil into our airlines (loop system in a 18,000 ft2 shop. They literally were told by their top guy not to speak to us when our insurance company wanted their insurance information to subrogate the claim. This left us dead in the water for a couple weeks, only months after buying a $20k+ compressor. Now the replacement is losing oil after a year. Not a good move, and we are still stuck with contaminated lines. It cost us several thousand to replace hoses and some lines as well as a couple of jobs that needed to be stripped and refinished after getting contaminated.
We added the Atlas to increase capacity from a 10hp Kaiser screw and even though Kaiser is expensive to have serviced it's a much better design. Take note of the filtration of the air going into the unit. Kaisers have a frame to hold a filter, Atlas has nothing, so the dust goes right into the compressor body and plugs the radiator. We've had to make magnetic frames and put filters on the Atlas unit to prevent constant overheating and maintenance. No matter what you get, make sure it is designed well, and has pre-filters, or you'll be constantly working on it. Pay attention to how the panels come off. The Kaiser has hinged doors, and panels that pop off with the half turn of a key. The Atlas uses a ton of 5mm allen head bolts, which will wear the threads out of the sheet metal in a hurry for as often as we've had to take them off.
Thank you all for your awesome feedback. I'm fortunate in my location in York, PA. Ingersol Rand is made here, Atlas Copco and hour away in Reading PA, and Kaeser is only two hours away in VA with techs an hour away. Kaeser was in here yesterday. That sales rep actually worked for all 3 of the companies. His opinion was stay away from Atlas as well. He said Kaesar first, then anybody but Atlas.
Something else to consider is where to locate a compressor. Ours is in a separate room with lots of ventilation air pulled through filters and exhausted out the top through a big air to air cooler. If I was doing it again I would have some way of using outside ventilation air when the weather was suitable. Maybe a separate duct to even bring in cold outside air for the compressor intake. The refrigerated air drier should also be located in that same room (ours isn't, error.) Actually putting the vacuum pumps in there would be a good idea too. Some day. I wouldn't buy an all in one compressor/drier.
It would cut the noise, & keep the radiators and filters cleaner.
More food for thought regarding air supply and venting to a compressor, especially in it's own room- Definitely get outside air and do your math to determine volume and size for intakes/exhaust. Outside air is typically cooler and or cleaner than shop air. You can actually starve a compressor for air and force it to work harder by having an inadequate air supply in a small room. Imagine trying to breath through a garden hose, you'd pass out pretty quickly. In this case your compressor will be working harder and get much hotter causing premature wear.
We have a dedicated compressor room with the air dryers in it as well. Within that room are two fans up near the ceiling on thermostats to exhaust warm air and keep the room cool. Down near the floor there are intake vents to pull outside air in to compress and cool the room. We also have a fan on a separate thermostat that exhausts into the shop during winter months so as to utilize some of the heat generated.
We have a 40 hp vacuum pump in a small shed outside of the shop. Works fine. There is a big wall fan with automatic shutters on a thermostat. There is also a set of ducts and a fan that we use to pull heated air into the shop when heating season and to keep the shed warm over night.
Just wish we had all of the air handling in one place. I wanted to add a room for it but the city said I needed to add another parking space to permit the building getting bigger, lot is maxed out now. Space inside the shop is pretty snug already, 25,000sq. ft. Too much stuff!
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