The filtration industry has never been more vital or global, as this year’s key events will seek to illuminate
By Adrian Wilson, European Correspondent
Taipei, Taiwan’s capital is the location for the 12th World Filtration Congress (WFC 12), which takes place from April 16-20 this year, with over 340 technical presentations planned covering all aspects of the worldwide filtration and separation industry.
Held every four years, the last congress attracted more than 1,800 delegates to Graz in Austria, with more than 100 companies taking part in its accompanying exhibition.
This year’s event is being organized by the Taiwan Filtration and Separations Society (TFS), Tamkang University (TKU), National Taiwan University (NTU), Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU), Taiwan Textile Research Institute (TTRI), the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and the Research Association of Solid-Liquid Separation (RASLS).
The first World Filtration Congress, held in Paris in 1974, was informally coordinated by a number of individual organizations, each acting independently, but as the event grew in size and scope, INDEFI – International Delegates on Filtration – was created in 1990 as an umbrella body for its coordination.
There is a timely reason for the 2016 event’s location – the Asia-Pacific region is on course to see the highest growth in investment in filtration technology in the coming years.
The demands for purer air and cleaner water – increasingly the subject of ever-more stringent legislation – are just two of the reasons why the filtration industry as a whole has excellent prospects for future growth.
A need for finer degrees of separation in industry – from hydraulic oils to semi-conductor wash water – can be added to the list, as can that for better hot exhaust gas filtration, including diesel exhausts, and for higher energy efficiencies in all separation operations.
These global challenges offer a wealth of opportunity to the filtration industry which incorporates a wide range of materials as filter media – from sophisticated membranes and open cell polyurethane foams through to ceramics and metals and even including coarse, porous materials such as sand, but most of all, for nonwoven fabrics, and especially in Asia.
New power plants – particularly in China – are turning into a very important market, as is China’s automotive market, which continues to soar. In addition, sales in the pharmaceutical manufacturing sector – one of the strengths of Taiwan’s domestic industry – are expected to see especially rapid growth, while purchases of filters in the HVAC sector are also rising strongly.
EDANA, the European Disposables and Nonwovens Association, already held its highly successful Filtrex conference in Hong Kong in March 2015.
“Nonwoven filter media are essential in protecting our health, and our lives,” said Pierre Wiertz, general manager of EDANA. “A recent report has declared the European Union’s early mortality rate due to poor indoor and outdoor air quality and this provides a sobering reminder that clean air is critical to our health and survival. China’s Premier Li Kequiang has been a leader in responding to this challenge, committing his attention, and the government’s focus to the issue across China and declaring a war on pollution, just like his predecessors some years before declared war on poverty. Our industry has the technology to help improve this situation, and deliver a very real benefit for our society and the planet.”
The bi-annual Filtrex will return to Europe in 2017.
Another must-attend conference is Filtech, which will be held again in Cologne, Germany, from October 11-13, 2016.
The 2015 Filtech event attracted more than 12,000 participants to an extremely full and varied conference program alongside a lively exhibition, with a substantial amount of new visitors registered from countries such as Turkey, Poland, Italy, USA, France, Israel, Japan and India.
Over in the USA, INDA’s Filtration 2015 exceeded all expectations, attracting almost as many delegates as the four-year World Filtration Congress, with around 1,500 delegates attending the conference and exposition held in Chicago in October.
The next of these annual INDA events will be taking place from November 8-10, 2016, in Philadelphia.
Particularly encouraged by increased attendance figures and the estimated headcount at the educational seminars, INDA President Dave Rousse said Filtration 2015 reflected increasing importance of nonwovens media for air and liquid filtration.
“There was a significant international flavor to the exhibitors as suppliers from around the globe recognize the strength and breadth of the North American filter market opportunity,” he said. “The number of attendees was slightly greater than the 2014 event in Baltimore and on par with our attendance two years ago in Chicago.”
Among the presentation highlights at Filtration 2015 was a keynote address by Armando Brunetti, executive vice president for Camfil Americas, who spoke on business trends in a presentation entitled: Who Are Our Customers and What Do They Really Need?
Rousse thinks a slight change to the format was also a contributing factor to the smooth flow of the whole event.
“The conference element of this year’s event was chock-full of exceptional content and attracted the largest conference turnout we’ve seen in years. This year we held the conference on the day before the exhibition floor opened rather than early in the morning before exhibition hours. I believe this change better meets the needs of attendees.”
Aside from the keynote address from Brunetti, the conference included four sessions organized around cutting edge technologies, industrial air filtration media, and filtration trends and statistics from INDA.
“While everyone attends this event to advance their sourcing, supplier or business development interests, many also attend to stay abreast of the latest in these important conference session areas. Speakers present more generally on the topic to expand the field of knowledge and less so on their company’s specific products. Each speaker had impressive credentials in the field of their presentation, and attendees expressed delight in the quality of content at this year’s conference.”
With the venue already confirmed for next year’s conference, Rousse anticipates the event going from strength-to-strength.
“With the filtration category representing the third largest nonwoven segment by volume, and forecast to grow annually at about 4.5% over the next five years, and with the sector so active in innovation and new materials and processes to enhance filtration performance, we see a continued need for an event like ours to bring together all elements of this important sector in one place at a predictable time of the year,” he said. “We also see opportunities to enhance the value of this event with another filtration-related event to consolidate time and travel spend, and will be exploring this concept as we go forward.”