Product Review: Vanair AIR N ARC 150
Vanair’s Air N Arc 150 all-In-one power system makes it easy to get those repair jobs done from the back of your truck
By Bruce W. Smith
(Photos by Bruce Smith & Tom Jackson)
A service truck without on-board air, a welder and electric power is about as worthless as a backhoe without a bucket.
The challenge for most pickup owners is having all of those components in the bed while leaving room to carry tools and parts. By the time you load in a welder, a generator, and decent air compressor, well, there’s not much room left over.
Having all three neatly arranged into one compact package is the first goal. Having the controls for all three within easy reach is another.
That’s exactly what the 500-pound Vanair Air N Arc 150 All-In-One Power System brings to the jobsite. It’s also the unit we’ve had mounted in three of our four magazine project trucks.
To provide rotary power for compressed air and the generator, the compact unit (20W x 48L x 29H) like the one in Big Red relies on a 18hp Kohler four-stroke driving a dual V-belt. The 4.5-gallon fuel tank should provide a good days work without refueling.
The air-compressor has an 8-gallon tank and a 20cfm rating with a 150psi maximum.
That’s enough air power to handle ½-inch impact wrenches and most shop air tools all day long, and enough make use of a ¾-inch impact for short durations. It also work well for airing up low tires on equipment.
Vanair’s Air N Arc 150 also delivers 5kW peak watts of “pure sine” electrical juice in 120/240V.
The True 2 generator serves multiple functions like any good portable genset and with clean electrical power so there’re no worries running sensitive equipment from it like laptops and diagnostic tools.
The generator can also multi-task: Not only could you power tower lights, you could be welding at the same time, which is great for those night repairs.
Speaking of welding, the other part of the mechanic’s holy trinity is a good welder, and the Air N Arc 150’s stick welder delivers 150amps AC/DC at 100 percent duty-cycle.
We put the Air N Arc unit in Big Red in the hands of Tyler Shirley with Shirley Fabrication out of Tuscaloosa , Alabama, for a few hours of hands-on evaluation for both shop and field service work.
Shirley is kept busy with local contractors and local mills doing general jobsite welding repair from a service truck, as well as wrought iron fence installations.
In the shop he does all kinds of custom fabrication including decorative wrought iron and metal gates and heavy-duty bumper guards.
“I can see using this setup quite a bit in my business,” says Shirley after a few hours in the field with Big Red.
“The air compressor is definitely a great combination for site repairs and the welder technology shows in this unit. I like the amp control on the leads.”
“I really like Vanair’s control panel mounted in the side tool box. Saves steps and time. I have seriously not seen a better-equipped work truck,” says Shirley referring to the Fleetwest slide-out servicebody and how the Air N Arc 150 is integrated into it.
Karl Hagar, a self-employed vehicle service technician in Long Beach, MS, agrees.
“It’s nice having your three main shop tools at your fingertips when working in the field,” says Hagar as he airs up a customer’s backhoe loader tires and doing some light service/maintenance work.
“A lot of my work is after dark when the smaller contractors leave the jobsite. I run a small light stand, so the 5kW genset, air compressor and welder are being used simultaneously. The remote control panel is very handy, too.
“It’s nice not having to climb into the bed to adjust or turn on/off the unit. Vanair has a really nice setup here.”
That was my initial take on the $7,195 package as well.
But the professional’s word is what counts when it comes to field service work and the tools that make those jobs faster and easier. – Bruce W. Smith/Editor.