I. Familiarity with the systems approach
The Compressed Air Challenge (CAC) provides Fundamentals of Compressed Air Systems and Advanced Management of Compressed Air Systems training to end users and service providers. One way to gauge a service provider’s commitment to the systems approach is whether they have staff who have received CAC training. If they do, ask whether these individuals will be providing or supervising services for your facility. Providers who are familiar with using a systems approach are much more likely to address situations, both inside and outside the compressor room, that are having an effect on the reliability of your compressed air supply.
II. Availability of compressed air system assessment services
Does the provider offer compressed air system analysis services? If yes, how well do these services fit your needs? If no, can the provider outsource these services to an experienced system specialist?
How experienced are the individuals who will be providing these services?
Once a walk-through, assessment, or audit is performed, what kind of follow-up services are available to ensure that the recommendations are properly implemented and produce the desired results?
Ask for a sample of similar work that the provider has done for others, resumes of the personnel who will be performing the work, and client references. Please note that while leak detection is a useful element of a system assessment, a true system assessment should include much more. See www.compressedairchallenge.org for additional guidance. Important Note: recommendations resulting from system analysis activities should provide product-neutral solutions to system problems and include, only if needed, performance-based rather than brand-based equipment recommendations.
III. Compressor Knowledge and Expertise
Does the service provider have the expertise to work on your equipment?
Can the service provider work on all types of air compressors in your facility?
How much experience do the service technicians have?
How are the service technicians trained?
Is formal schooling involved?
Knowledgeable service technicians are worth the premium price they may demand because of their ability to troubleshoot and get equipment back on line efficiently and effectively.
IV. System Components and Controls Knowledge and Expertise
Treatment, accessory, and ancillary equipment-
Does the service provider have the expertise to perform refrigeration and other work on dryers and related equipment?
Is the service provider capable of servicing the types of filters, drains, distribution and point of use equipment found in your facility?
Does the service provider have the diagnostic and technical controls capability to determine how to optimize your existing control configuration and make recommendations for improvements?
Can they help network air compressors together or remotely monitor, if necessary?
Advanced controls can save energy as well as improve reliability through automatic start and stop, as well as turning compressors off that can then serve as back-ups. Advance warning through remote monitoring may help identify a problem before it turns into a major shutdown.
V. Company Capabilities
Ask about the standards of performance that the prospective service provider has established for:
Emergency service response
Other factors which may influence your decision, such as:
Installation capabilities internally or through a mechanical contractor
Emergency rental fleet availability – electric or portable diesel driven
Your company may request information on the service provider’s:
Compliance with specific government regulations or those of your company
VI. Service Facilities
Visit the facilities of two or three service providers under consideration to see first hand the type of repair shop and parts warehouse with which you will be dealing.