August 14, 2020
The manufacture, maintenance and repair of today’s jet aircraft involves a global network of suppliers applying some of the world’s most advanced technologies to keep commercial airliners, business jets and military aircraft flying. A recognized leader in the field is Aviation Technical Services, Inc., (ATS) of Everett, Washington.
Atlas Copco: Describe the influence of environmental stewardship on decision making at ATS. How does “green thinking” impact your bottom line? Laura Mork: Corporate responsibility and involvement in the community are elements in any good company. Many energy conservation measures are not only good for the community, but also provide a good return on investment. ATS consistently looks for opportunities to reduce energy, recycle, reduce hazardous waste generation, etc. In our annual Earth Day events, we use the opportunity to educate our employees about what we have done to reduce energy usage, a conversation which includes efficient air compressors. We also use this opportunity to discuss the wasted energy and costs associated with compressed air leaks, encouraging our staff to replace leaking air hoses, and report other air leaks. Atlas Copco: Given that compressed air is used in 90% of your production operations, describe the importance to ATS of compressed air quality, compressor energy efficiency and system reliability have Atlas Copco compressors met your expectation? Laura Mork: We first purchased Atlas Copco compressors utilizing rebate monies provided by the local utility to reduce energy consumption in 2002. At that time, there were significant concerns throughout the entire ATS organization regarding all of these issues. Many people were concerned that our compressed air quality, quantity, and system reliability would be compromised by the change out of the compressed air plants to much more energy efficient models. It took me months of internal wheedling to obtain permission to upgrade the compressed air plants within the three separate aircraft hangars. A third party consultant was instrumental in providing further supporting evidence of the change. I even kept one of the old compressors alive in one of the plants, due to the perceived risks involved. I would not have been successful without the utility incentive funding. Approximately three months after the conversion, I was asked why it took me so long to get the upgrade! Not only were the power bills lower, but the compressed air quality and reliability were also improved. Prior to 2002, I used to have to give regular reports regarding the compressed air systems. After that, if fell off the agenda; management no longer needed to be concerned that schedules would be impacted by compressed air. With this historical background, it made it easy for ATS to decide what to do when we moved into a new building. Atlas Copco: Now that you have an AIRnet piping system in place, what do you think are its most significant benefits for ATS? Would you recommend AIRnet to others? Laura Mork: The AIRnet piping installed very quickly. My staff has been able to easily make the minor modifications that are necessary when you move into a new building and find out that you need to make minor adjustments. I would definitely recommend AIRnet piping to others.
“ATS has the biggest AIRnet installation we have ever done in the Pacific Northwest,” says John Kuipers, Service Sales Manager for Atlas Copco Compressors LLC in Kent, WA. “There is close to 2000 feet of AIRnet pipe throughout the facility. AIRnet components were installed in multiple rooms for paint booths and work stations and for connecting to end user equipment. The blue AIRnet pipe looks really nice aesthetically, too.” Kuipers says that ATS installed more connections – and a wider range of them – than if they’d have used black pipe. “The modular design of AIRnet is easy to adapt to any application,” he explains, “and you absolutely can install it yourself. It doesn’t take a mechanical contractor and no hot work permits are needed to install or adapt the piping system. That saves time, personnel and money. AIRnet has every fitting you’ll need for your installation, and the high quality, corrosion-free components are backed by a 10-year warranty.” In addition to being easy to install, AIRnet is easy to take down and reuse somewhere else. “Given the variable nature of the aviation business, ATS has to be flexible to take advantage of new opportunities,” says Kuipers. “They installed an AIRnet system in their Interiors facility, and when that facility was no longer needed they were able to recover the pipe and reuse it in another facility to preserve their investment in AIRnet. Being able to take it out and use it elsewhere is the ultimate in modularity.”