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Compressed Air Dryers in High-Humidity Climates: A Case Study with Fouts Bros.

Compressed Air Dryers in High-Humidity Climates: A Case Study with Fouts Bros.

“Any future expansion of the compressed air system at this facility would definitely include Tsunami products …. We also hope to upgrade our second facility as well as any additional facilities with Tsunami products.”  - Heath Lawrence, director of facilities, Fouts Brothers Fire Equipment


WHO: Fouts Brothers Fire Equipment, Milledgeville, GA (Second location in La Grange, Texas)

NEED: Uninterrupted production lines and reliable dry air

SOLUTION: Fouts Brothers utilizes a three-compressor system with Ultra Series Rail Mounted dryers. Thanks to the system’s interconnection, the facility has not experienced extended shutdowns due to issues at any point in its three years of operation


 

Fouts Brothers Fire Equipment

fouts bros production floor image

Fouts Brothers Fire Equipment, founded in 1952, is a family owned company based in Milledgeville, Georgia. They are committed to their customers by developing dependable, high quality fire products. Fouts Bros. offers a wide range of standard line model trucks, designed to meet the needs of all fire stations, regardless of their department size. Today, they produce 7,500 trucks annually for fire stations across the country.

 

The Problem: Production Line Downtime

What’s a worst-case scenario for a manufacturer? When part of a production line goes down due to a broken or damaged component or tool.  For facilities where pneumatic machines and tools are in operation 24/7 - or for those that offer paint services - a major component to keeping  lines operational is clean and dry air from a compressed air dryer. 

Without high-quality compressed air, pneumatic systems may be affected – or worse, damaged by:

  • Condensation 
  • Oil particles
  • & other airborne contaminants   

 

Solution: Tsunami’s Ultra Series Rail Mounted Dryer

To reduce the risk of downtime via poor compressed air quality, Fouts Bros. incorporated a three-compressor system of Ultra Series Rail Mounted dryers from Tsunami Compressed Air Solutions. 

Heath Lawrence, Director of Facilities at a manufacturer of emergency response vehicles,  explained that GSB Industries, a Tsunami distributor, provided assistance during the renovation of their Milledgeville facility. 

Fouts Brothers have used the Ultra Series system for three years. During that time, the company completed the required maintenance to keep its manufacturing lines running and avoided many repairs. Meanwhile, the system has also helped reduce tool replacement costs. 

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For assistance with an optimized schedule, Refer to our preventative maintenance checklist

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“In the van line, we are running a lot of pneumatic rivet guns,” Lawrence said. “Those are pretty expensive tools. If you are dumping water into them all day, they don’t last nearly as long as opposed to filling them with clean, dry air.”

 

Lawrence explained that regular maintenance of the tools does not lead to the discovery of any sign of rust and corrosion - which was previously common due to the amount of condensation that occurred during the summer months. He said, “Tool life is a big thing, especially when you run tools that are that expensive.” 

 

What Happened:

fouts bros truck

In 2019, the headquarters and main production facility were moved to Milledgeville, about 90miles south of Atlanta. The 340,000-sq.-foot-building required significant renovations, and needed clean, reliable air for effective product manufacturing. 

“As this was a new facility, we were fortunate enough to start with a Tsunami system, but the other alternatives considered were refrigerant and desiccant,” said Lawrence. “I have used both refrigerant and desiccant dryers at previous facilities.

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To learn more about various dryer types, take a look Air Dryer Comparison: Regenerative Dryers vs Refrigerant Dryers or A Discussion on Desiccant Air Dryers

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“The refrigerant dryers fail to remove a substantial amount of moisture, especially during the high-humidity summers of our southern climate,” Lawrence said. “I have also had long-term reliability issues with refrigerant dryers and much prefer the simplicity of the Tsunami design. Desiccant systems work great at removing the majority of moisture, but volume can be limited and there is an enormous ongoing cost with changing the desiccant.”

After a lack of success with both refrigerant dryers and a desiccant air dryer, Fouts Brothers was on the lookout for a new way to provide compressed air to the workshop and improve productivity. The choice to go with regenerative desiccant technology occurred after consultation with experts.  

Fouts Brothers partnered with GSB Industries, a company that specializes in installation and service for spray booths, compressors, and related equipment. Lawrence explained that the Tsunami distributor was helpful not only in the design phase but also in their follow-up services and shared knowledge. 

 

Benefits So Far: 

Tsunami’s Ultra Series tank-mounted dryer system has prolonged the life of many of the air tools used at Fouts Brothers. It’s also greatly improved their paint process and quality. 

 

“We now use a Tsunami secondary filter in addition to the primary at our paint locations, where we would have required a desiccant system before to achieve the same results,” Lawrence said. 

 

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To learn more about how air filters can make a difference when paint bubbles occur, read Paint Bubbles? You Might Need a Better Air Filter.

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tsunami ultra series dryer on the production floor

“The fire trucks that we paint are the equivalent of a higher-end sports car. The paint on those has to have a lot of gloss to it,” Lawrence said. The facility handles work on around 500 trucks each month, which requires a lot of air tools in operation, and water through those tools leads to extensive wear quickly.”

 

Tsunami’s Top Qualities

For anyone buying a Tsunami system that is located in a high-humidity area, the investment can mean great quality and better production. 

 

“Especially in the southern climate zone, the quality of compressed air produced is far superior to that of refrigerant units,” Lawrence said.

 

Compressed Air Dryers Ensure Reliable Operation

Tsunami compressed air systems also provide valuable benefits in terms of reducing repair budgets and the cost of media replacement in the long run

 

For a look at the models of Tsunami’s Compressed Air Systems, visit our product pages or contact us today to discuss our capabilities.

 

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Further Reading: To learn about another company that found its solution with Tsunami compressed air systems, read about Von Hanson’s Snacks

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