Lincoln Electric’s Air Vantage system is a critical piece of equipment for many operators in tough terrain, offering a welder, generator, and air compressor. But the Air Vantage wouldn’t exist without VMAC, a mobile air manufacturer that provides compact yet powerful air compressor technology.
“Lincoln Electric and VMAC have successfully worked together for the past 20 years,” said Nicholas Winarski, Lincoln Electric’s product manager - Industrial Engine Drives. “VMAC is our top choice air compressor manufacturer for our Air Vantage models due to their high-quality air compressors and dedicated engineering support.”
VMAC’s relationship with Lincoln Electric began at a tradeshow in the summer of 1997, when one of Lincoln Electric’s engineers, Nino Silvestro, discovered VMAC’s Underhood air compressor. The Underhood is a compact and powerful rotary screw air compressor that is the foundation of many VMAC products to this day.
“Lincoln Electric was using a 4-cylinder, reciprocating, single-stage compressor that they were shoe-horning into a welding machine. Those compressors are the size of a small microwave oven, so it was a challenge, and that’s why their engineer was so excited about VMAC’s new technology,” said Jim Hogan, CEO of VMAC.
Over the next few years, VMAC refined the Underhood technology, while Lincoln Electric focused on projects of their own. In the early 2000s, VMAC and Lincoln Electric joined forces and began working together to develop an air compressor that would work seamlessly in Lincoln Electric machines.
“VMAC worked closely with Lincoln Electric to develop an air compressor system that integrated with their existing welder designs,” said Rick Duifhuis, OEM division manager at VMAC. “Our engineers spent the next couple of years designing, prototyping, testing, and refining the optimal air solution for Lincoln Electric. The result was a brand-new product line for Lincoln Electric called the Air Vantage.”
The first Air Vantage model, the “Air Vantage 500,” was launched in early 2004. It included VMAC’s S700033 spline drive rotary screw air compressor, and it was the only welder generator air compressor of its kind at the time.
The Air Vantage 500 was an undeniable success, but only the start of Lincoln Electric and VMAC’s partnership. VMAC continued to work closely with Lincoln Electric to ensure the Air Vantage product line met ever-changing market demands.
VMAC redesigned and adjusted its air compressor for the Air Vantage product line several times over the course of their relationship. Any time the system required a modification, usually due to an engine change, VMAC and Lincoln Electric worked together to develop a solution.
“VMAC has developed five complete air compressor systems for Lincoln Electric over the past two decades,” said Duifhuis. “Our team is always willing to do what it takes to serve our partners and ensure they have the air power they need to succeed.”
Lincoln Electric currently sells two Air Vantage models: the Air Vantage 566X and the Air Vantage 566X Hydraulic. The Air Vantage 566X features VMAC’s S700162 air compressor, which is a high-idle belt-driven rotary screw air compressor that delivers 60 CFM @ 100 psi.
The Air Vantage 566X is powered by a turbocharged Deutz Tier 4 Final Compliant engine, features a 20 kW generator, and supports numerous welding processes, including stick, MIG, TIC, flux-cored, and arc gouging. Meanwhile, the Air Vantage 566X Hydraulic variation also includes a 10 gpm hydraulic pump, which VMAC designed and supplied the mount/drive kit for. Lincoln Electric also sells the Air Vantage 600X-I to international markets.
“The Air Vantage 566X and Air Vantage 566X Hydraulic machines are used in some of the world’s most extreme climates,” said Duifhuis.