Thanks to Hurricane Irene, I am now the proud owner of a brand new, ultra-efficient HVAC system. This new furnace and air conditioning unit is a lot smaller, quieter, efficient and even shinier than our old model, which was about 30 years old. We are guaranteed to have lower fuel and energy costs even as we are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than we were before.
As we save tons of money on our utility bills, one expense will rise – the cost of the filters we need to make our new machine run at its top possible performance. Our old unit required a simple, flat filter that we could pick up in our local hardware store for under $5; this new one has a much more sophisticated box filter that retails for about $30. And, the system makes it hard to get away with "forgetting" to replace the filter (as we are often apt to do). There is a built-in alert that sounds when the filter needs changing.
This more sophisticated filter not only responds to the need for more efficient operations and lower fuel costs, it speaks to health concerns.
Now, more than ever before, people are more aware of the value of clean air and water and the effect they can have on their health, and this is driving not only increased use of filtration media but also higher quality media. Filters are now found in car interiors, on office machines and in many other places unheard of just a few years ago. This has created a surge of activity in filtration as nonwovens makers serving this market develop new products and expand their operations to capitalize on this growing market.
From established industry players like Hollingsworth & Vose or Ahlstrom to newcomers like Precision Custom Coatings or DuPont, the filtration market continues to serve not only as an outlet for growth but also a beacon of new product development.
This month, Nonwovens Industry takes a good look at the filtration market (see page 50) in anticipation of INDA's Filtration exhibition, which will be held in Chicago in a few weeks. What we have found is that media suppliers are working overtime to apply new technologies like fine fibers and nanotechnology to the filtration market. It will be interesting to see what effects these efforts not only have on filtration technology but on the nonwovens industry in general.
Speaking of the Filtration exhibition, this month we will also provide a look at what some exhibitors plan to showcase at the show on page 58. Surely, this three-day event, complete with a strong conference program and tutorials, will prove once again how important filtration has become to the nonwovens industry. We hope to see you there.