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Brown auto body values Mattei's rotary vane compressors

Dana Cooper, the owner of Brown Auto Body, a busy, modest-size shop located in southwest Iowa, has been in the collision industry for more than three decades. Cooper knows the value of reliable equipment and he’s convinced there’s no more important need in a shop than having a reliable air compressor.


Not only is it critical for his painting needs but he depends on it for air tools needed to maintain his cycle times. That’s why Cooper was so pleased when his Keystone rep introduced him to Mattei compressors for the first time late last year.

“With a machine like an air compressor, I want to be able to buy it and never worry about it ever again. We’re fixing 30-40 cars per month here, and it’s just another thing I don’t want to have to think about. We’ve had this Mattei unit for about five months now, and they’ve been very good about keeping us on the right maintenance schedule. I know this is important. If my air compressor goes down, we’re dead in the water. Almost everything from buffers to paint guns depends on air. It would be like trying to fix vehicles without paint or techs—that’s how important it is to have a good air compressor that won’t quit or need service all the time.” Darrin Cook, General Manager for Keystone Automotive Industries Inc. in Omaha, Nebraska has worked for Keystone for more than 22 years, so he’s seen (and heard) his share of air compressors of all brands, sizes and styles.

It’s not just a lot of hot air when Cook enthusiastically lauds the quality and performance of Mattei’s rotary vane compressors.“We’ve been marketing the Mattei compressors for more than a year now and they’re super quiet, while using less energy and producing more air,” Cook said.

“These Mattei units are smaller than the other brands we’ve sold before, so they also take up less space. Pricewise, they’re also in the ballpark. You’re getting a quality product, so you might be spending a little more with these Mattei compressors, but in the long run these machines will last you longer. In the past, the compressors I encountered worked hard but wore down pretty quickly. These rotary vane compressors from Mattei don’t work as hard, so they last longer, and they put out more air. They say ‘Get your last compressor, get a Mattei’ and after working with them for a while now, I believe it.”Mattei’s machines have been in use worldwide for industrial and automotive applications for almost a century.

The company was founded by Enea Mattei, an Italian engineer, when he became fascinated with the relatively minor compressed air industry in 1919. After 15 years of research and innovation, Mattei invented the world’s first portable air compressor and, after embracing a series of technological advances, Mattei became one of the leaders in compressed air worldwide. The company solidified their role as a pioneer in the industry.

The manufacturer’s rotary vane compressors have gained popularity with body shops within the last decade because they’re efficient, durable and maybe most importantly— quiet. Cooper started out as a tech and later purchased Brown Auto Body after he had been working for 20 years, he explained. “The original owner, Pete Brown, wanted to get out, so I bought the shop and took it over in 2000. Owning and running a shop has been a ton of work, but we’ve been staying busy, even during the recession and average $2,000–$3,000 per repair without any DRPs. I’ve got two techs and an office manager working part-time, so it’s a lean operation. We serve Atlantic, Iowa (6,800 population) and some of surrounding areas, competing with about three other shops in this area.”

Cooper has been pleasantly surprised with his compressor, partially because of the fact that he wasn’t familiar with Mattei until Darrin Cook at Keystone introduced him to the company and its line of rotary vane compressors. “Darrin gave me Mattei’s literature and we researched them online to find out a little more. At around the same time, one of my friends purchased an Americanmade compressor, and I realized that it was a lot noisier and doesn’t put out quite as much cfm as my Mattei does.”

After doing his homework, Cooper made the move to Mattei and he hasn’t had any regrets.“We bought Mattei’s 1,100 kilowatt unit,” he said. “We tested it by sandblasting a car and it performed really well. It gained psi the whole time and we didn’t have to stop to interrupt the job. And it’s so quiet! That’s a big plus. I can now stand right next to it while it’s running and still actually talk on the phone. Our old compressor was in our paint mixing room. It was so loud in there we had to scream to have a conversation— it was terrible. It was starting to leak oil and was beginning to worry about it, so we purchased it just in time. They come with a 10-year warranty and designed for 100,000 hours of use, although many go way past that, from what we’ve heard.” Cooper is looking forward to not hearing, or not hearing about, his Mattei compressor for a good long time.

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