“We continue to see the filtration market growing,” says Scott Tennison, director of innovation at Kimberly-Clark Filtration. “A lot of this has to do with the education to the consumer about how important the air quality is in your home. As consumers become more health conscious and understand how viruses and bacteria spread, they realize they want the air to be as clean as possible.”
For manufacturers of filter media, the challenge is to create a product that is able to increase the number of particulates being removed from the air without compromising machinery efficiency that would lead to increased heating and cooling costs for home owners.
“Striking that balance is important,” Tennison adds. “We can make ridiculously high MERV ratings and take the tiniest pieces of matter out of the air but it can be tough on the equipment.”
To achieve this, K-C is constantly running tests to understand how equipment works not only on its own but also with a large number of equipment manufacturers. “We look at the innovation of a pleated filter and try to understand how we can make it work better,” Tennison adds.
Some of the ways K-C achieves this is by incorporating multiple layers into the media or changing the height or width of the pleat to see how the media collect the particles from the air.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö Continues to Invest
Ahlstrom-Munksjö has been one of the global key players in the filtration market for many years and the company continues its goal of maintaining this position by continuing to expand capacity. Ahlstrom-Munksjö continues to strengthen its platforms as it sees positive growth in the filtration related applications. There have been several investments globally in the last few years and most recently, just last month, the company confirmed the second phase of significant expansion in micro glass capacity. It supports its initiatives in industrial, automotive and energy storage applications.
Last month, Ahlstrom-Munksjö said it had completed the initial analysis and design phase of its ongoing project to strengthen its manufacturing platform for high performance filtration and energy storage applications. In response to growing customer demand, the company has now decided to proceed with the second phase of the project, which consists of a significant expansion of its micro glass capacity and a further growth in industrial filtration capacity. Actions in the second phase include an expansion of industrial filtration capacity in Melmedy, Belgium; an increase in micro-glass-based media production capacity in Fabriano, Italy; the construction of a new line fully dedicated to microglass based media in Turin, Italy, as well as a machine rebuild in Binzhou, China, which will add capabilities and production capacity to expand offerings to the Asian industrial and transportation filtration markets.
“The investment supports Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s strategic ambition to maintain a leading position in selected niches of the global fiber-based solutions market that offer positive growth outlook and are supported by sustainable market drivers,” says Daniele Borlatto, executive vice president of Filtration & Performance Solutions business area. “The company has responded to growing customer demand by successively expanding its filtration manufacturing capabilities globally through several new and expansionary investments in the past few years.”
The total investment will be approximately €28 million, as announced in June 2018, and the entire project is expected to be fully completed in the second half of 2021. Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s Filtration business develops and produces filtration materials for engine oils, fuels and air, as well as industrial air, used in vehicles or for industrial purposes. The Filtration business also has applications and is further developing filtration solutions for hybrid and fully electric vehicles. Close to 20% of sales are generated in industrial applications and around 80% of sales derive from transportation applications, both for passenger cars and heavier duty applications such as truck and heavy machineries. In transportation applications, sales come primarily from the aftermarket.
According to Noora Blasi, marketing and communications manager, Ahlstrom-Munksjö sees further growth opportunities in the industrial filtration markets. “The increased need for pure and contaminant free air and liquids in industrial segments is a key driver,” she says. “Our goal is to be in the select niche markets that are supported by sustainable market drivers.”
Ahlstrom-Munksjö enhanced its range in November 2018 through the launch of Extia, a breakthrough, high performance product for industrial applications designed to extend filtration lifetime for air pollution control applications and to helps to protect people and the environment. Extia extends filtration lifetime by more than 40%, helping customers to extend the operational duration, before needing to change the filters.
In September 2019, Ahlstrom-Munksjö announced a portfolio expansion for Extia with several new products and now offers a complete mid efficiency range, including flame retardant, surface conductive and food approved versions. Products are designed to meet the safety requirements of specific industrial air pollution control applications.
The expanded portfolio also includes a high efficiency range reaching up to EN1822 H13, specifically designed for applications involving very fine particles and challenging dusts. Additionally, Extia proves to be much easier to convert into a filter, on both knife and rotary pleating machines.
Welspun Focuses on Sustainability
Welspun launched its hybrid media technology-backed WelPleat product in October 2019 to the European market where it has been valued for its versatility and innovation as well as its ability to address challenges found in regular pleatable filter media. It exceeds in physical and performance metrics and helps in an overall better filtration efficiency.
Additionally, Welspun has introduced WelStrat to resolve the issues faced by the regular filtration media in the temperature range of 170-180°C with higher moisture content in the filtration environment. It has received many accolades at conferences across the globe and the testimonials from the field have been great.
“Impacting people’s lives has been always a core principle of Welspun group from the beginning,” says Mr. Cherian Thomas, CEO, Advanced Textiles, Welspun. “Across the segments we strive to provide the best products which contributes to a better living and sustainable world.”
Because filtration is such critical segment in improving people’s lives and the plants, Welspun has outfitted itself with multiple technological capabilities to provide the best products. As a global conglomerate, the company has striven to make an impact in the filtration industry and to positively impact people’s lives.
In India, particularly, a steep rise in urbanization and industrialization coupled with a focus on emission regulations are contributing to strong growth in filtration. Thermal power plants, cement and chemical manufacturing plants and premium residential and commercial complexes are going to be the biggest role players for the industry.
Thomas predicts a surge in the residential filtration market. High levels of pollution in urban areas have led to increased demand for improved filtration systems in urban households. Another area prime for growth is electric vehicle filtration and Welspun is already developing products to meet the needs of this market.
Sustainability is a core value in filtration, Thomas adds. “Welspun produces the media which perform for a longer time, which results in less replacements,” he says. “The water requirements for our manufacturing facility are completely fulfilled by an in-house sewage treatment plant, and won’t consume a single unit of fresh water which is designated for residential households. We constantly look to contribute sustainable practices that can impact the whole industry. We are looking to do the reverse mapping of the used filtration material (which is mostly going into landfills) and direct it to the industries which can reuse it and also we are considering to increase the share of recycled packaging material.”
DuPont Acquires Osmosis Specialist
DuPont has signed an agreement to acquire Desalitech Ltd., a closed circuit reverse osmosis (CCRO) company. The transaction was expected to close last month, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
“As a global leader in innovative water solutions, we are committed to delivering ways to solve water challenges around the world,” says Rose Lee, president, DuPont Safety & Construction. “This acquisition in the high-growth water purification space reinforces our strategic intent to provide a robust portfolio of technologies to meet our customers’ current and future challenges while advancing our corporate commitment to sustainability.”
DuPont is a leader in water purification and separation technology including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and ion exchange resins. The FilmTec brand is recognized globally and known for consistent and reliable performance. Each of the acquisitions announced this year, including Desalitech, supports a strategy to drive growth and innovation through access to new manufacturing capabilities, geographies and technologies.
Desalitech’s globally patented and unique process technology, using standardized design and operated using proprietary software, enhances DuPont’s portfolio with a compelling offering to further reduce the lifecycle cost of water purification and reuse. Desalitech has proven the value of these systems to deliver up to 90-98% water recovery at more than 200 blue chip customers over the past seven years.
“Water scarcity is a global challenge that all stakeholders need to solve with a sense of urgency to purify, conserve and reuse this precious resource,” said HP Nanda, global vice president & general manager, DuPont Water Solutions. “We look forward to working with OEMs, end users and value chain partners around the world, using business models such as technology licensing, system sales and fabrication partnerships to increase access to this technology.”
“As a leader in reverse osmosis, with a large, global installed base and deep knowledge across many industrial and municipal applications, DuPont is the perfect home for Desalitech and its disruptive CCRO technology,” says Nadav Efraty, CEO and chairman, Desalitech. “As part of DuPont, we will have an exponentially greater impact on global water scarcity with many more partners and users able to access this efficient, resilient and flexible water purification and reuse technology.”
Bondex Focuses on Industrial Filtration
Nonwovens and roll goods manufacturer Bondex, of Trenton, SC, is a subsidiary of the U.K.-based multi-national manufacturing company Andrew Industries, focusing on filtration, electrical insulation, medical and home care markets.
Brian Little, president of Bondex, believes the filtration industry is ripe for innovation as the global needs continue to change. “Industrial filtration has been confined to a limited number of material solutions for a long time, but with recent advancements such as hydroentangling of filtration felt, we see that customers are reconsidering ways to solve needs in filtration,” he says.
Bondex’s solution for this is its Hydrolox technology, which launched two years ago. The company’s proprietary process combines aspects of traditional needlefelt with high-pressure hydroentangling for consolidation of the material. This high pressure water enables it to employ fibers which split under high pressure, generating very fine fibers in the felt, which enables the material to provide performance comparable to ePTFE laminated felt, but without the practical issues experienced with membrane. Bondex can produce hydroentangled filter felt in virtually all fiber types, which the industry employs in industrial air and liquid filtration. Fibers such as aramid, polyester, PPS, polypropylene, homopolymer acrylic and polyimide are most common, according to Little. “This technology produces material which is more efficient than needlefelt and is so strong that is does not need a scrim.”
Opportunities for Hydrolox are likely in the asphalt industry where its lightweight value can be employed to replace heavy weight aramid needlefelt. Where higher efficiency is required in the cement industry, Little says homopolymer acrylic Hydrolox offers users new options without the use of membrane laminated felt. Moreover, the growing applications of pleated materials is being addressed through the pleated offering in its hydroentangled technology.
“Also, we are seeing where hydroentangled nonwovens are replacing woven goods in shaker bags and filter press cloths as a function of the performance and value,” he explains.
In terms of product development, Bondex has added a range of fiber types available in its hydroentangled filtration felt over the past few months, as well as chemical treatment capability. The company is actively considering future investments to meet a range of customer needs in various markets, Little says.
Freudenberg Acquires Majority Stake in Apollo
Recently Freudenberg has focused on strengthening its position in China’s rapidly growing market for filtration solutions.
Last year Freudenberg Filtration Technologies finalized the acquisition of a 75% majority stake in Apollo Air-Cleaner Co., Ltd., a leading supplier of air and water filtration solutions in China, with approximately 1000 employees and €96 million in sales.
The new joint venture with the previous sole proprietor Apollo Trading Group, Japan, with the remaining 25% stake, began operations in April under the name Freudenberg Apollo Filtration Technologies.
Air and water filtration solutions have been witnessing strong year-on-year growth rates, especially in China, thanks to legislation demanding stricter regulations and increased environmental awareness, according to Freudenberg. Experts estimate that the global market for products of Apollo – filters for room air purifiers, decentralized ventilation systems and water treatment – will have a total value of some $5 billion by the year 2022.
“Apollo is a great fit for Freudenberg,” says Dr. Andreas Kreuter, CEO of Freudenberg Filtration Technologies. “It is an innovative technology company that complements our own portfolio of filtration solutions for indoor air and water purification. The company also has first class production expertise and excellent networks in the industry.”
Mann + Hummel Grows through Acquisition
Mann + Hummel, which was founded as an automotive components supplier in 1941 and produces a range of filter systems such as systems and components for automotive original equipment, products for the automotive aftermarket, industrial filters and water filtration, has been taking steps to grow outside of the automotive industry. It has accomplished this through multiple acquisitions in recent years.
In 2018, the German company purchased Tri-Dim, a Louisa, VA-based company, specializing in air filtration for a variety of commercial and industrial spaces including hospitals, schools, automotive factories and paint rooms, data centers, food and beverage settings, and other commercial environments. The acquisition provided Mann + Hummel with a full-line of HVAC filtration products and services, including air & liquid filtration, heating/air conditioning supplies, cleanroom filtration, air purification equipment, gas phase filtration, and air testing & remediation.
Then, this past August, Mann + Hummel acquired Hardy Filtration, a Canada-based air filtration company. This acquisition helped expand the global footprint and manufacturing capabilities of the Tri-Dim Filter business. Founded in 1993, Hardy develops, manufactures and markets a range of filtration products for various applications such as air filters, paint booth filters and dust collector bags.
“We are committed to expanding in the air and water filtration industries, and we are excited to announce the addition of the Hardy team less than a year after the successful addition of Tri-Dim Filter Corporation to our group,” Sean Cromie, president and general manager of Mann+Hummel’s Life Sciences & Environment business unit, said at the time of the announcement.
The merger with Tri-Dim Canada provides expanded market share and opportunities to grow the combined businesses throughout Canada.
Sandler Continues to Expand Filtration Range
With over four decades of experience in the filtration market, Sandler is one of the major players in the filtration industry today. Sandler’s product range includes fiber-based nonwovens and meltblown filter media for filters classed G1–E11 / MERV 1-16 and for all efficiency ranges according to ISO 16890. It utilizes different combinations of synthetic raw materials and production technologies, which allows for the adaptation of the nonwoven’s properties to the specific application. Multi-layer structures create depth filtration properties. Its filter media are used in HVAC applications, the transportation industry, synthetic vacuum cleaner bags, customized special filters for liquid filtration as well as medical and hygiene applications.
Among Sandler’s latest developments are filter media for use in activated carbon filters. “With these products, the functionality of activated carbon filters and the optimum particle filtration provided by nonwoven media can be combined in a durable product—for example for cabin air filtration in vehicles,” says Sandler’s Müller.
Sandler is also expanding its range of filter media for liquid filtration. “New mobility concepts require the filtration of specific liquids to protect the propulsion technology. The latest Sandler developments offer nonwoven solutions for these specialized applications. In addition, process- or drinking water as well as other process liquids can be listed in this context,” Müller adds.
From Sandler’s view, the filtration industry continues to hold a lot of potential and demand for innovation, and product development is ongoing.
“The importance of this sector is likely to continue to grow in light of new legislation and environmental concerns,” says Müller. “There is potential for growth and new challenges arise regarding major trends such as electromobility and regarding new players from Asian countries. It will be up to filter media manufacturers to develop innovative product solutions that meet changing customer and regulatory requirements. All in all, that certainly makes the filtration industry an interesting market to do business in.”
TWE Group Develops ParaHyd
TWE Group manufactures filter media using different technologies such as mechanical bonding (needling or waterjet), thermal bonding or chemical bonding.
TWE believes there are more opportunities in the field of filtration due to the high demands of governments for environmental protection, along with more and more emphasis placed on clean air and clean water.
“In the field of filtration, we see growth due to the new requirements,” says Carsten Bräuer, business unit director Filtration, TWE Group. “However, new regions will also be added as they have some catching up to do in the area of environmental protection. Here we see an increase in the economic region MENA for the future.”
In recent years, TWE has focused on and invested in product development, which resulted in a new product portfolio. Due to the increasing demand of the filtration market for fully synthetic media, which enables ever finer filtration performance, TWE developed ParaHyd. ParaHyd is a mechanical bonded fully synthetic filter medium which fulfills the filter standards ISO ePM10> 50%, ISO ePM2.5> 50% and ISO ePM1> 50% according to ISO 18690.
ParaHyd is suitable for a wide variety of applications, such as filters for heating ventilation, air conditioning systems (elements with pleated filter media), gas turbines, engine air intake filters, dust storage, filtration of hydraulic oil, liquid filtration (cooling lubricants, water, food) and de-dusting filter (surface filter).
According to TWE, ParaHyd combines several functions in one medium and enables a significant improvement of the element manufacturing as well as the final product properties. Because the new product design eliminates the need for separate layers, ParaHyd is able to safely separate both small particles and high dust holding capacity. The multilayer nonwoven consists of two to five layers: layers of coarse fiber nonwovens on the dirty gas side (depth filter); fine fiber nonwoven on the clean gas or dirty gas side and layers of coarse fibers on the clean gas side (surface filter).
“Filtration is a stable and interesting future market for the TWE Group due to the increasing importance of environmental protection,” Bräuer says