CAGI Performance Verification History

CAGI performance verification is important for the industry
CAGI performance verification is important for the industry

CAGI is the Compressed Air and Gas Institute and the source for CAGI Performance Verification of industrial air compressors. It has been in operation for over 100 years. It published the compressed air and gas handbook as early as 1947, which has been the bible of the compressed air industry since then. The current sections of CAGI are:

Air drying and filtration

Blower and vacuum



Pneumatic tools

Portable compressors

Rotary positive displacement


All the decisions on developing these products and setting standards are done by the members who come from these industries. CAGI has done a wonderful job of publishing training manuals and having online training sessions on all aspects of these industries for both industry professionals and customers. For more information go to

The CAGI datasheets that we are discussing come from the rotary positive displacement area. Here is the partial history of how these came about.

Compressor verification history

In the 1970 era, rotary screw compressors had just begun to be produced. No one knew or cared much about energy efficiency because energy was so cheap at that time. The vendors all tested their compressors in different methods, and no one had any idea which compressors were the most energy efficient. Some manufactures didn’t even publish capacities on in their brochures.

In the early 1980’s clients started to think about energy, but nothing was done until the 1990’s. CAGI started to work on a standard for testing compressors because some manufacturers were testing total packages and others were testing the bare air ends.

After the members agreed on a standard, the manufacturers were given time to adjust their manufacturing and testing. They then published their performances in their brochures. It was still hard to compare, so the members decided to start putting their performances on a sheet called a CAGI datasheet. They decided that each vendor would put them on their websites. This happened in early 2000.

Unfortunately, some vendors’ performances and capacities looked much better. Some were using very high service factor motors to give much higher capacities and some may not have been telling the whole truth. Because of this, the members decided on mandatory random testing. The participants would have a couple machines per year to be tested by an independent laboratory and the results were posted on the CAGI websites. In the early years of this testing most passed, but a few failed and were allowed to re-rate the compressors and test again.

Things were recently tightened up and members were terminated from the program if they failed three tests. And this did happen to three companies.

What has this done for the customer and the industry? In 2007 the most efficient 125HP- 100 PSI screw compressor had a specific power of 20.11 and the least efficient was 22.35. Today the best is 15.70 and the worst is 20.48. That is a 25% improvement. This is what CAGI has done for the industry.

Where we come in

Now, with Fourth Utility Consulting comparing everyone side-by side on the same page by combining CAGI performance verification information, the vendors will be encouraged to improve their products.

The current members are who are in this performance verification are; Atlas Copco, Boge, Elgi, F.S. Curtis, Gardner Denver, Hertz, Ingersoll Rand, Kaeser, Kaishan Compressor, Sullair and Sullivan Pallatek. The companies that have participated in the past or present are Atlas Copco, Boge, Chicago Pneumatic, Elgi, F.S. Curtis, Gardner Denver, Hertz, Ingersoll Rand, Kaeser, Kaishan Compressor, Mattie, Sullair and Sullivan Pallatek and Quincy.

We expect to see more and more improvement in the industry and constant changes in performance and Fourth Utility Consulting will keep you current.