Case study: reducing energy waste to improve efficiency, save money, and increase sustainability

When Sandvik Coromant laid out ambitious goals for sustainability and energy efficiency, they realized that the air system in their South Carolina facility needed an upgrade. Working with Elevated Industrial Solutions, they were able to cut waste and enhance sustainable practices, all while reducing their overall energy bills.

About the client: Sandvik Coromant

Sandvik Coromant is a manufacturer specializing in metal-cutting tools used in machining applications. Established in 1942 in Sweden, this company is part of the larger engineering group known as Sandvik.

It’s an impressive company with over 100,000 customers worldwide. Sandvik holds more than 1,700 global patents and files 150 patents each year. The group specializes in customized machining tools and digitization; in manufacturing circles they have a well-established reputation for fast production and lasting quality. 

As a major global company, Sandvik Coromant leaders are aware of their significant impact on the environment. They are committed to sustainability and energy efficiency, which is why they needed the support of our air-system experts

The problem: wasted energy from the air system

Sandvik Coromant grew in numerous global regions, including South Carolina, mainly at the Westminster facility. 

The existing air system in Westminster had some issues. It was outdated and decentralized, leading to poor energy efficiency and overall air loss, causing the compressors to work overtime to meet the facility’s air needs. There was an issue maintaining consistent pressure, especially when the workload increased. The air within the system also had quality issues, reducing overall product quality and creating further needs for equipment maintenance. 

Energy consumption was a particular issue for the facility. Previous studies indicated that the air system was one of the biggest energy users for the entire facility. The company, however, had bold targets for sustainability; wasting that much energy was unacceptable.

Sandvik Coromant needed a partner who could evaluate their needs, plan and build an efficient system, and work with the company to maintain reliability, efficiency, and overall performance. They turned to Elevated, an authorized Kaeser distributor in the South Carolina area, to overhaul the air system and provide greater efficiency with superior performance.

Our solution: a smart, innovative air system

Using an air-study process, Elevated recommended a new primary air system and a smaller secondary system. 

The primary system would consist of four DSD-175 rotary-screw compressors and three TG 980 Secotec dryers. The team would also install a Sigma Air Manager (SAM) 4.0, which pulls operational data and enables stable pressure. To enhance efficiency, the team recommended increased storage and a new SmartPipe distribution system. These components and technologies would improve overall efficiency while significantly reducing wasted air. 

The secondary system would be used for extra machining and would consist of two SK 20 rotary-screw compressors. There would be a SAM for this system as well. 

The result: sustainability, savings, and efficiency

The original study estimated roughly $80,000 in annual energy savings for the facility. Even for a global manufacturing group like Sandvik, this would be a significant improvement. But in the end, the savings were $90,000 per year – $10,000 more than anticipated. 

In addition, facility managers can track usage and make adjustments thanks to reporting capabilities by the SAM unit. Using this critical information, managers and leaders can decrease pressure – as needed – for additional savings, all while delivering on the company’s promise to be more efficient and sustainable.

Exceed your goals with Elevated

Elevated helps you meet your company’s goals. We can increase the efficiency of your facility in eastern Michigan, western Ohio, and South Carolina. Our expert teams can install machines, conduct analysis, and provide additional equipment … just like they did at Sandvik Coromant.

We also offer preventive maintenance at each of our locations to ensure your facility never shuts down, operating at peak efficiency every day.

Special thanks to Kaeser for the article write-up!

Tony Grubish is an MVP at Kaeser and Elevated

Kaeser Compressors has high standards. The company and its employees only produce quality compressed air systems. Tony Grubish (sales engineer at Air Center – an Elevated Industrial Solutions Company) has high standards, too. Tony won the coveted Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for #1 salesperson in the U.S. from Kaeser (as part of the All Star contest) announced in January 2024.

Kaeser is known for precise German engineering. Like Elevated, Kaeser doesn’t compete on price; the company positions sales around value. What does that mean? The yellow compressors aren’t the cheapest option but are known for their longevity and quality; people choose them for their reliability and trustworthiness.

Tony Grubish came from the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic. Afterward, he worked as a service technician with a major competitor for nine years. At Air Center, he’s spent the past 19 years as a technician, service manager, and now a sales engineer. That time has given Tony a chance to develop a customer-focused strategy – understand his customers’ business and their compressors. In that way, Tony proves he’s reliable and trustworthy. Demonstrating our values is why customers keep coming back.

Kaeser’s All Star contest

There are various rules from Kaeser for the All Star contest based on baseball stats. You need to meet complicated criteria – sell two machines per month and achieve key metrics that include selling specific equipment.

Tony exceeded these metrics, winning the MVP at the year’s midpoint and at the end of the year.

Being an MVP came easy to Tony. One company had a mix of compressors, including some cheap Italian machines, that were failing. Employees there turned to Tony, relying on his expertise and competitive quote. He received a purchase order for 90 units before the end of January 2023.

“I was on a great path,” Tony admitted.

Get the customer, not always the sale

Tony credits his background as a service technician with a Kaeser Master Service Tech/Sales Certification on how he wins with customers. He asks questions to thoroughly understand the customer’s business and checks out the machines. Sometimes, that means he sells a new compressor, but not always. Instead, he’s focused on taking care of the customer to help them meet their goals – recommending service or changes to extend the life of their current compressor … even when he receives a request for quote.

“I’d rather get the customer than a sale.”

He knows he’s building a relationship. Because customers trust Tony, they keep coming back.

Tony said, “Once the relationship is built, selling new equipment, when they need it, is easy.”


Tony was leading as the best salesperson for Kaeser all year, joined by two other salespeople at Air Center: Chris Brown and Tom Kilgore. Although Chris and Tom lost out in December, our Michigan branch nearly had three of the top five Kaeser sales spots!

He also credits the fantastic service technicians; he indicates they’re a big part of how the branch keeps winning. It doesn’t hurt that his wife, Fay Grubish, is the service manager in northwestern Ohio, where he sells compressors.

“At Air Center, we’ve always taken pride in our service, and we have built a great relationship between our sales and service departments.”

Tony’s win as MVP also moves Air Center to the Kaeser designation of “level 5.” Kaeser has a system of levels from 0 – 5, giving deeper discounts on equipment and parts as you move up the scale. At level 5, Air Center earns more profit from sales. Of course that makes general manager, Jim Casey, happy. It helps their branch stay competitive while selling the gold standard in compressors.

But there were some personal rewards, too, for being the MVP besides bragging rights. Tony and his wife are going to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. And Elevated provided an extra award for demonstrating the values and brand.

What’s on for 2024?

When asked if he would win the MVP again, Tony sheepishly noted he has a purchase order for a bunch of compressors. Modestly, he confirmed he has a good chance of staying in the Presidents Club in 2025.

That winning attitude is why Tony’s an MVP at Elevated, too.

Transair piping

If you are installing, modifying, or upgrading a compressed air system, you may consider a variety of different materials for your piping. Options include black pipe, galvanized steel, copper, and stainless steel. 

Before making a decision, consider the benefits and drawbacks of aluminum piping. Strong, versatile, and reliable, aluminum piping can bring a fast installation for compressed air systems and better long-term performance for your total operations. 

It’s not always the right choice, but for many facilities, aluminum piping is a great option. SmartPipe (by Kaeser) is always a fantastic option. Kaeser is known for their quality engineering. But if SmartPipe isn’t available, we recommend Transair Aluminum Pipe.

Advantages of Transair

Like SmartPipe, it’s easy to connect and modify, making expansions for your compressed air system and facility faster and less expensive. The Transair push-to-connect system creates a firm hold to make the pipes leak-free. It connects with other piping, too. Plus, Transair comes in a variety of sizes, available in 1/2″ to 8″, and includes a warranty.

Unlike SmartPipe, Transair is readily available and may cost less than SmartPipe. (Contact us for details.)

Advantages of aluminum pipes

Aluminum piping brings a variety of advantages that make it ideal for numerous situations. When you need an affordable, durable, long-lasting system that can deliver reliable air compression, aluminum is often the ideal solution.

Aluminum is lighter than most metals. The mounting requirements and time to install are less than other heavier materials. 

Aluminum in general is less prone to corrosion, even compared to stainless steel. Even if there is a moisture trap (which we regularly install on air systems) there will be some water in the system, creating the right conditions for corrosion. This is less of a concern with aluminum. 

Disadvantages of aluminum piping for air systems

Although it remains one of the best choices for air systems, this pliable metal does have a few disadvantages. The upfront costs may be higher compared to other metals, which may cause some facilities to choose a different material. (But do your research; aluminum can bring long-term savings when installed correctly.) 

There can also be more thermal expansion and contraction, so controlling facility temperatures is critical. Although it meets the needs of most facilities, the pressure rating for some aluminum products may be lower as well. 

Your source for high-quality aluminum piping

Transair is a leader in the air-pipe industry. The company has a vast collection of lightweight, strong, corrosion-resistant pipes that come in a variety of sizes. These products bring excellent longevity and typically require less maintenance on compressed air systems.

When choosing your piping, you may need the guidance of an experienced professional to ensure the right pipes for your facility. There are a variety of sizes. (You should get the right size for your compressed air system.) Our installation team can help you determine the best options, add drop points, and more. We make it easy from beginning to end (including start-up).

Contact Elevated Industrial Solutions for expert service on your next installation for compressed air systems. We proudly serve western Ohio, eastern Michigan, and South Carolina. We’ll help you select the right pipes for your specific air requirements, and we’ll be available for installation and long-term maintenance.

What’s the cost of an air leak?

What’s the cost of an air leak for your business? Thousands of dollars? If your operations are large enough, could it be in the hundreds of thousands?

Leaks in a compressed air system waste a staggering amount of energy, energy that drives up your already-expensive utility bill. Whether you are the owner or plant/facility manager, leak audits can identify problem areas and, with appropriate changes, significantly reduce your overall energy bill.

But first, you need to understand the true cost of leaks in your air system.

Calculating the cost

Calculating the exact cost of a compressed-air leak can be difficult, as numerous factors are involved. The size of the leak is just one factor. Other factors include the running PSI of your system, the number of tubes, hoses, and pipes, the diameter of pipes, and the number of tools being used. The cost of energy in your area is also an essential factor for calculating the costs of a leak.

While we can’t tell you, at least through this article, how much leaks are costing your business, we can describe the potential for huge losses that come from leaks in your air system so you can help calculate it. The formula, according to Cincinnati Test Systems is:

Number of leaks * leakage rate (CFM) * (kW/CFM) * operating hours per year * ($/kWh)

As an example, Fluid Power Journal, an industry publication that provides a spreadsheet of leak-cost data, provides some key items and costs associated. Depending on the desired PSI, the cost for a half-inch leak can, according to their data, range between $60,005 and $98,970. A one-inch hole can cost as much as $395,879 if maximum pressure is required by the system. And, we should note, this information was published in 2015. As of February 2023, that one-inch hole using an inflation calculator would be more than $475,842.91. Oof!

But, fortunately, there are ways to reduce these costs.

Reduce air leak costs

In 2014, the United States Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy conducted a study at a chemical plant, working with plant leadership to conduct a compressed-air audit, then following through with a leak-prevention program. The program involves multiple phases, including the establishment of a “Leak Detection and Repair” segment. This phase, which cost $2,500, conserved over 120,000 kilowatt-hours in a single year and saved $9,100. By their estimates, the program paid for itself in three months. This was back in 2014, so it’s dated, but it highlights the potential savings, which are still possible, that come when a plant finds and stops air leaks.

Air or leak assessments are relatively quick and painless. Someone comes to your facility, discusses company goals and concerns, and then begins running some tests to collect metrics. In less than a week, that data is collected and is ready to be discussed.

Air leak audits to maintain an efficient system

A leak audit from the experts at Elevated Industrial Solutions is the first step toward eliminating costly wasted energy. Contact our team today and let’s schedule your leak audit as soon as possible. We proudly serve South Carolina, southern and northern Ohio, and southeastern Michigan.

Meet service technician Eric Pressley

Eric Pressley is one of the many distinguished service technicians working for Elevated Industrial Solutions, formerly Palmetto Compressors. He’s an important member of the team with profound technical knowledge, outstanding experience, and a passion for service. It’s why Jason Acker (Elevated’s general manager in South Carolina) was thrilled to hire him in June of 2022. Bringing nearly a decade of experience and a lifetime of service, Eric helps our customers maintain effective compressed air systems. 

Expertise in compressed air

Eric works with the entire compressed air system, including low-pressure and high-pressure blowers. He can examine a plant’s current system and find ways to improve efficiencies, save money, or make the compression system more effective. One of his favorite activities is helping to save companies’ energy. It’s why Eric is often the frontman for plant managers and owners, whether facilities need subtle changes or a complete overhaul.

He holds certifications and training in Garden Denver oil-free systems, refrigerated air systems, and Sullair air compressors, to name a few. And of course, he’s also knowledgeable about Kaeser Compressors, one of Elevated’s premier vendors. His background is so thorough, Eric was featured in Compressed Air Best Practices, highlighting his work refitting a racing shop with modern, high-efficiency, consistent air compression. 

Air compressors aren’t new to Eric. Both his mother and father worked in the compressed air industry, so Eric has an understanding that goes beyond his nine years of on-the-job experience. With a family legacy in the industry, years of helping companies with their compressed air systems, and training in all aspects of air compression, Eric knows a thing or two about air compressors. 

Commitment to our nation

His passion for compressed air isn’t the only reason Elevated employees are so proud to have Eric on the team. He’s been a member of the United States Air Force since 2012 and remains a member of the Air National Guard, currently holding the rank of Technical Sergeant. He specializes in preventative maintenance and repairs, as well as logistics and leadership in the military. So, his mechanical know-how doesn’t just help our customers; his skills help the U.S. government! 

As a member of the Air Force, Technical Sergeant Pressley has been deployed to Qatar and Kuwait. He’s also provided hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. 

Dedication to our veterans

Even outside of the military, Eric continues to help his community. It’s a passion of his and yet another reason the Elevated team is proud to work with him. 

Eric acts as the state lead for the South Carolina chapter of The Fallen Outdoors, an organization with the mission of connecting Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, and Marines with like-minded individuals along with teaching them a skill and passion they can continue for a lifetime. The group helps wounded or disabled military personnel regain their life and purpose as well as assisting those with mental illnesses to refocus and regain balance.

It’s a mission near and dear to his heart. If you follow him on LinkedIn, you’ll no doubt see him participating in activities regularly.  

South Carolina air compressor service

If you’re in South Carolina or the Dayton-Cincinnati area and you want to work with dedicated, service-oriented professionals like Eric, contact Elevated today. We take pride in hiring quality service technicians and other people who fully understand air compression systems for large- and small-scale operations. Expertise is important, but we also hire fantastic individuals that have a passion for helping others. 

Let us partner with you to find the right solutions for your business. We’d be happy to conduct a walk-through to understand what your facility needs as well as make recommendations to save you time and energy, reduce costs, and get your compressed air systems running at peak efficiency. 

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