The company that introduced the first medical atomizer has propelled itself onto the world stage by manufacturing state-of-the-art compression and air- tool systems. Lorie Russo paints the picture.
DeVilbiss Air Power Company (DAPC) began more than a century ago by giving the medical world a better way to administer semisolid medicines. Founded in 1888 by Dr. Allen DeVilbiss, who designed the first medical atomizer, DAPC later developed its new technology to apply to the paint spray-gun industry. The technology now serves a variety of applications, such as compressors, paint spray guns and air tools.
DAPC today is a $500 million company and a leading manufacturer of air compressors, air tools, generators and pressure washers. Headquartered in Jackson, Tenn., the company maintains extensive manufacturing and warehouse facilities. Says Sandy DeWald, company spokesperson, DAPC moved to Jackson from its founding location of Toledo, Ohio, in 1989. In 1999, DAPC became a part of the Pentair Company. Presently, DAPC distributes its superior product lines to a variety of markets, ranging from homeowners to contractors.
DAPC is a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of paint-spraying equipment and air compressors for the industrial and automotive markets. In these categories, the company pioneered oil-free and oil-lube technologies. It purchased Ingersoll-Rand’s small-air-compressor division in 1991, making it the largest air-compressor manufacturer in the United States. In 1993, DAPC added the Steel Driver series brand of contractor-grade air compressors. Two years later, it purchased Winpower and added a line of brushless electric generators, targeted at the consumer and commercial markets offering up to 10,000-watt products.
“We manufacture products for retail home improvement centers, warehouse clubs and farm-supply catalogues,” says DeWald. “We’re always looking for ways to improve products and for innovating ideas. We’re also looking continually for feedback from end users.”
DAPC manufactures a complete line of air compressors covering a variety of sizes and styles, and incorporating the latest technology. The company’s products include exclusive capabilities such as direct-drive, oil-free twin cylinder units within its single- and two-stage compressor lines.
DAPC’s air compressors – vertical stationary styles or contractor type – come complete with 3- to 80-gallon tanks, providing a ready air reserve.
In addition, the company manufactures state-of-the-art gas-powered pressure washers, which measure up to 13 horsepower and come in a variety of colors, frames and styles for all uses, including consumer, commercial and industrial. The pressure-washer line ranges from 2,000 pounds per square inch (psi) to 3,500 psi, and comes with additional features and accessories developed this year for the residential and commercial user. Innovative design and quality products have secured DAPC’s position as the largest pressure-washer
manufacturer in the United States.
In the area of generators, DAPC offers products geared for long life. Its brushless alternators produce exceptionally clean power and require less maintenance than cheaper brush designs. More particularly, the generator line ranges from emergency-power products to those that satisfy the heavy use of the professional contractor. DAPC’s emergency-power generators supply from 5,000 to 10,000 watts; its contractor generators furnish from 3,500 to 6,500 watts. The smallest wattages in the line measure 2,500 to 4,250.
DAPC’s air-tool line is diverse and expanding, and all of the company’s tools are available for individual purchase. The company also offers packaged kits complete with carrying cases and accessories. Its products include socket-driving tools, material-shaping tools, finishing/sanding tools and spray-painting tools. Its specialty tools include air-operated grease guns, air-operated caulk guns, engine cleaners and a sandblasting kit.
Listening for Innovation
By combining a good ear for customer feedback with know-how and resourcefulness, DeVilbiss Air Power Company has propelled itself to world-class status – especially in the field of developing technologies.
Among its most technologically advanced products is its line of state-of-the-art air compressors. Early in 2000, the company developed and introduced its proprietary High Pressure Technology for air compressors. High Pressure Technology puts more psi in the same-size tank, allowing the operator to use multiple tools and providing more power. The technology is now incorporated in DAPC’s more popular brands, including Porter-Cable.
DAPC is also set to launch a new line of pressure washers under the Ex-Cell brand, for both the homeowner and the contractor. “We’ve redesigned the entire line from the ground up,” says DeWald. “Once again, by paying attention to the consumers’ needs, we have revamped our Residential Pressure Washers into a new sleekly styled, user-friendly line. Our technologically advanced, oil-free pressure-washer pump outperforms and outlasts any competitive offering. Our Commercial series was built to withstand the tough day-to-day demands of the cleaning professional. Commercial features that come standard on these models include commercial-grade, high-pressure pumps and Honda engines, and Goodyear industrial-grade hoses with quick-connect fittings.”
DeVilbiss Air Power Company currently numbers more than 1,250 employees. Its high-efficiency facilities include the one in Jackson, which the company expanded to 350,000 square feet in 1994. Through its purchase of Ex-Cell in 1996, DAPC acquired a 40,000 square-foot complex in Decatur, Ark., which houses the world’s most advanced pressure-washer manufacturing line. It enlarged this facility to 102,000 square feet in 1997, and is currently in the processing of completing a further expansion at this location, which will bring the manufacturing space to 206,000 square feet. Also in 1997, the company gave its manufacturing another boost through its dedicated factory sources in Taiwan and China for air tools and accessories.
The company has both ISO 9001 new-product-development certification and ISO 9002 manufacturing certification. In 1999, DAPC received the Tennessee Quality Commitment Award and the Arkansas Quality Commitment Award, both of which recognized the company’s commitment to quality manufacturing and management principles.
DAPC’s customer service and support is second to none, operating more than 2,000 authorized warranty service centers throughout North America. The company’s authorized warranty service centers provide warranty repairs as well as technology assistance, troubleshooting and non-warranty repairs. These efforts personify the company’s strong work ethic, and its mission to continually improve its products while helping customers to achieve the highest level of output.