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Feature Story

Nelson Miller, president of Air Systems of Lenoir, located in Lenoir, N.C., displays an electronic soft start motor starter.

Air Systems Expands, Opens New Division
By Gary Miller

Lenoir, N.C.—Since 1988, Air Systems Manufacturing of Lenoir Inc. has established a solid reputation in the field of  buying and selling new and used baghouses up to 75,000 cubic feet per minute, blowers, motors, cyclones, airlocks, motor starters and stand-alone filter systems from 2,500 to 7,500 cubic feet per minute. For example, Air Systems’ employees expertly install such products as: Pneumafil Baghouses, MAC Baghouses, Donaldson-Torit Baghouses, Chicago Blowers, custom truck loading equipment and self-contained cyclone/filter systems.

Now Air Systems is poised to substantially increase its customer base in the refurbished equipment market. Within the next few months, Air Systems, which now operates in a large manufacturing plant that the firm owns in Lenoir, will be equipped to fulfill mass customer orders at its recently acquired second facility, which comprises 26,000 square feet of property. Situated on three acres, the new operation that is also located in Lenoir, was built in 1994 and was utilized as a lumber storage yard for a furniture company until its closing.

The company designs, manufactures and installs a wide variety of dust, fume and smoke collection/filtration systems
This is a used, high-pressure feeder at Air Systems of Lenoir.
designed to meet each customer’s individual and specific requests.

“Now it is time we fully offered our services in refurbishment to other companies,” said Nelson Miller, owner and pres ident of Air Systems. “We can supply companies with rebuilt, used equipment and save them money. One year from now, our goal is to also supply companies with supplies and parts for the used equipment we sell them as well.”

Total employment for Air Systems will consist of a 30-man workforce and will stock an extensive inventory of mechanical parts that include: Carter Day, Pneumafil and Torit, among others. The operation will also handle rough material using high pressure feeders, and systems that convey materials long distances.

Miller noted that the refurbished inventory Air Systems will stock will be useful to any sawmill, lumber yard, cabinet, door and moulding manufacturer, truss and fencing company, as well as the panel industry, which includes companies that make plywood, oriented strandboard, medium density fiberboard, particleboard or flakeboard.

“We’ll be able to offer our products not only in the woodworking and lumber industries, but other industries as well,” Miller explained.

Some of the items that will be available soon at the new Air Systems division are: 3,000 to 37,000 cubic feet per minute fans rated up to 200 horsepower motors; 100 horsepower horizontal wood hogs by Williams; motors that operate at 1100 rpm’s and 3600 r
Pictured is an assortment of blowers, ranging from 3,000 cfm to 12,000 cfm capacity that the company offers.
pm’s, as well as standard 1800 rpm.

“Our whole purpose with the new division is to take really good, used equ ipment, put some work into it and make it like new again, and then sell it to our customers at a savings to them,” Miller said.

Typically, when a customer purchases a refurbished piece of equipment from Air Systems, he can expect to save between 40 to 60 percent of what the cost would have been had he purchased the equipment new. For example, Miller noted that Air Systems stocks a particular small fan, commonly used in truck loading systems and small one-router shops. Miller’s firm sells the refurbished fan replete with a six-month guarantee for approximately $2,000 and ships it to the customer within one to two days. If the customer purchases the fan new, he can expect to spend about $4,500, and also expect a shipment delay, according to Miller’s calculations.

“Often, a much quicker turnaround time can be achieved by installing used and refurbished equipment because it can take up to eight weeks to get new equipm
This used Pneumafil baghouse has a 15,000 cfm capacity.
ent delivered to a company,” Miller explained. “So if a customer has an immediate need, we can pull that item out of our inventory and install it for them quicker than they could get new parts shipped to their facility. Even on a repair basis we can do that. They can get parts shipped from us the next day.”

Air Systems does not sell any refurbished product that has used more than 30 percent of its expected life. Miller mentioned that if the product, such as a small fan, has used 30 percent of its life, his firm does not remanufacture it. They recycle it. In other words, they put the fan back in to scrap so at least a company will get a 70 percent or better product when they buy one from Air Systems Mfg. of Lenoir, Inc.

Techniques employed by Air Systems’ personnel during refurbishment are geared specifically to the individual product. For example, a turning lathe is used to polish the shaft in a fan, and Air Systems can easily install new bearings in a motor as well as check its windings.

“There’s no reason for companies not to gain more life from the machinery they use day after day,” Miller said. “Our new division is in the business of determining the most cost effective way to rework mechanical parts, which will save our customers from spending money on new equipment before they absolutely must do so.”

Air Systems’ new division complements the company’s existing six-acre, 15,000-squa
Air Systems’ used Carter Day baghouse has a 38,000 cfm capacity.
re-foot facility that maintains a large inventory of new and used equipment. At this facility, customers can purchase specialized machine hoods, custom magnet housing for grinders/hogs, fire system compatible return air diverters and screw/belt conveyers.

Whether providing new system installations or upgrading an existing system, Air Systems is capable of designing and installing the most modern and energy efficient systems available today, added Miller.

In fact, Miller’s firm depends on such state-of-the-art machinery as the latest CAD software and support systems, a CXS Shape Cutter with plasma and torch cutting capabilities and a mechanical press brake.

To install Air Systems’ products at a factory, the operation is equipped with two Toyota forklifts and one Nissan forklift with 8,500-pound capacities to deliver and lift orders. For hauling items, Air Systems’ fleet includes a straight truck and a van body truck that are 20 to 25 feet long each, as well as three drop-deck trailers. Additionally, the company owns cranes, man lifts and a 10-ton boom truck, which is used for local deliveries.

An installation crew of four to eight employees often logs up to 70 hours per week to ensure Air Systems’ prompt service on customers’ orders.
Among Air Systems’ inventory of rebuilt equipment is this rebuilt blower and rotary valve.

“Customers’ needs vary so much that we make certain we have the equipment and products necessary to fit anything from a small three or four man furniture or cabinet shop up to a 300-person woodworking plant,” Miller said.

He added that Air Systems, during its 18-year history, has cultivated strong relationships with many of its customers. Therefore, the company reaps the rewards of attracting customers who repeatedly bring their service to Air Sy stems.

“Ours is really a custom-design business,” said Miller. “Whatever the customer needs is what we have to produce. And by doing that, the customers know they can count on us.”

Originally, Air Systems began as a fairly small joint venture between Miller and Steve Dagenhart, vice president of sales. The two men had been employed at the same dust collection firm prior to Miller deciding to open his own company. Shortly after Miller founded Air Systems, Dagenhart quickly joined him and they began building the company primarily by working with wood furniture manufacturers in the Southeast. However, through the y
This is a horizontal wood hog used at Air Systems’ operation.
ears the firm has developed a diversified customer base.

Today, Air Systems is reaping the benefits of having taken very good care of its customers since the business first began.

In closing, Miller said, “We make our customers’ priorities our priorities. That’s how we’ve grown.” 

These larger used blowers have a capacity that ranges from 20,000 cfm to 35,000 cfm.






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