Ariel Corporation

Mount Vernon, Ohio, USA

Just in Time –

Top-Notch Logistics for the "Golden Age of Gas"

[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION 02/2013 ]

Ariel Corporation, Mount Vernon, Ohio, USA, is one of the leading manufacturers of high-speed reciprocating compressors in the world. Thanks to a modern distribution center, almost all replacement parts for Ariel compressors are delivered to any destination worldwide within 24 hours. HOERBIGER has been a long-standing partner and has supported the company's development since its inception.

Ariel is the prime choice worldwide for high-speed reciprocating compressors. The company worked hard over many years to achieve this position in the market. It shipped the 40,000th compressor just recently. Global market leadership goes hand in hand with a significant logistical challenge. The value proposition that Ariel provides to the customers covers everything from shipping the compressor to service in everyday operation. Developing the best systems, including for the aftermarket, has therefore been one of Ariel's strategic objectives for many years. While it took several months to complete an order during Ariel's early years, this time expenditure has significantly decreased. The distribution center opened in 2012 has considerably expedited Ariel's replacement part shipments as compared to most of its competitors. The majority of parts ship within 24 hours. In isolated cases, it may take up to 48 hours.

HOERBIGER Corporation of America, which supplies the lion's share of all valves used in Ariel compressors, is making a significant contribution to this achievement. The shared history dates back to immediately after the company's founding. At that time, Ariel was planning to build a reciprocating compressor that had a speed of 1,800 revolutions per minute. HOERBIGER in Vienna ultimately developed a matching valve. The basic design was the tried and tested RX valve. In the ensuing years, Ariel and HOERBIGER repeatedly joined forces to work on innovative solutions. Soon, the focus would no longer be only technical aspects, but increasingly also the logistical requirements of the supply chain. One example is the "IN-SYNC" program from 2004. Back then, the existing manual process for ordering valves was replaced with an electronic order system. The valves are now shipped configured for the unit and already contain the Ariel serial number. For the collaboration on the supply chain, the predefined target was 90 percent on-time performance. HOERBIGER achieved nearly 100 percent during the first phase of the program – IN-SYNC 1. This high performance is critical for the aftermarket. The aftermarket business is a major logistical challenge for everyone involved. Especially when it comes to valves, there are numerous variations - depending on the output and application of the compressors - despite a largely standardized portfolio.

Over the years, HOERBIGER has invested in a global network of production plants and service locations. These complement Ariel Corporation's distributor network. The new logistics center in Mount Vernon will support the increasing globalization of Ariel's business, but constitutes only a part of the strategic preparation for the challenges of the future. It is important to Ariel to be represented around the globe wherever their compressors are being used. HOERBIGER is part of this network and contributes to ensuring that Ariel can always procure the necessary components close to their customers.

At present, Ariel is intensively engaged in analyzing the effects of the economical use of shale gas, which the company expects to create significant momentum, especially in the North American market. It is critical for Ariel to be prepared for rapid growth. The company has undergone intensive preparations: it is imperative to have the right processes in production and in logistics to be able to keep up even with strongly rising demand. Ariel invested not only in the new distribution center, it also expanded the workforce. In addition, Ariel is working on new developments for high-speed compressors, which are specially tailored to the value-added chain as it relates to shale gas, from gathering to the end user. To this end, Ariel continues to count on the long-standing partnership with HOERBIGER.


The close collaboration between Ariel and HOERBIGER goes back to the inception of Ariel Corporation in 1966. Virtually all of the standard valves used in Ariel compressors are manufactured by HOERBIGER Corporation of America in Pompano Beach, Florida, USA. When it comes to developing new valves, Ariel works closely with HOERBIGER's research and development.

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Ariel Corporation is considered a market leader around the world for high-speed compressors. Initially, company founder Jim Buchwald's idea of combining conventional gas engines with high-speed compressors to form one powerful unit was met with skepticism by the industry. Today, the portfolios of almost all renowned compressor manufacturers include high-speed reciprocating compressors that follow this design principle.


The partnership between Ariel and HOERBIGER goes back to very close, friendly relations between Jim Buchwald, the founder of Ariel Corporation, and Hubert Wagner, who was searching for new business partners in the "New World" for the HOERBIGER commercial agency founded in 1963. Hubert Wagner valued the personal traits of the visionary design engineer from Ohio. From the history of HOERBIGER Ventilwerke in Vienna, he knew the difficulties that pioneers have to overcome. To this day, the cooperation between Ariel and HOERBIGER is distinguished by the pioneering spirit from those times - to include when it comes to developing innovative logistics processes for the supply chain.