In 2016, Cat dealer Finning approached VMAC with a special request: Finning wanted the manufacturer to modify its 6-in-1 multifunction power system to use a Cat engine. VMAC's multi-power system includes a rotary screw air compressor, generator, welder, battery booster/charger and PTO with optional hydraulic pump.
"The existing power system was already popular with Finning mechanics who used it to service heavy equipment for customers. However, Finning mechanics naturally are more familiar and comfortable with Cat engines and prefer those over competing engines," said Mike Pettigrew, VMAC's marketing manager. "That's what led to this new request."
The two organizations had a long history of collaborating together. "Finning has been one of our most valued and trusted partners over the past two decades. Their needs have heavily influenced our R&D priorities and product demands," Pettigrew said.
"We enjoy working with Finning to develop innovative air compressor products that meet their service mechanics' evolving needs. Also, people in our industry follow what Caterpillar is doing. We know that when Caterpillar or a Cat dealer is asking for something, others are likely to start asking for it, too."
Finning connected VMAC with Caterpillar's engineering team to jumpstart the exploratory process. The Cat dealer also facilitated an application review of the VMAC multifunction design to ensure that Cat engine operating specifications were met.
After the review was complete, Caterpillar provided engine recommendations. Ultimately, the Cat C1.1 Industrial Engine was determined to be the best match. "The C1.1 was the optimal fit and form to meet our overall product dimensional requirements," said Pettigrew, who emphasized that the engine's ultra-compact size was important to VMAC. The company looks to reduce size with all of its product designs while also still providing powerful performance.
Noise reduction was another important consideration. That's because air compressors tend to produce noise at high decibel (dB) levels. In fact, the Finning team had expressed interest in getting a quieter product from VMAC, and the C1.1 made that possible: it utilizes lower engine speeds, which helps reduce noise better than other small industrial engines.
"From 21 feet, our traditional multifunction power system produces 81.2 dB at high idle and 76 dB at low idle," Pettigrew explained. "In comparison, the newer system with the Cat C1.1 engine produces 74.25 dB at high idle and 69.75 dB at low idle. Reducing noise by more than six decibels helps protect workers' hearing and creates safer jobsites."
Pettigrew noted that his company is happy with the results. "This was a positive experience for VMAC. The Cat C1.1 engine allows us to provide a reliable, quiet and durable product – one with high performance, a compact package size and optimized fuel efficiency."
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