In the dynamic and global filtration industry, news and information is breaking on a daily basis. International Filtration News is tracking stories relevant to our industry from air and gas filtration to liquid filtration and the various end-uses for filtration technology. Here we will post news stories relevant to filtration and its downstream applications on an ongoing basis. Please check back for regular updates. Please check back for regular updates. If you have news that you feel should be added to this summary report, please email it to Matt Migliore at email@example.com.
Most recent update: April 29, 2021
ASHRAE supports USGBC IAQ schools survey and report
With technical support from ASHRAE, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBS) published a new report on indoor air quality (IAQ) measures that schools have taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report titled “Preparation in the Pandemic: How Schools Implemented Air Quality Measures to Protect Occupants from COVID-19,” presents the survey responses of school districts representing more than 4,000 schools serving over 2.5 million students in 24 states, on the protocols and operations plans implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Maintaining proper ventilation and good indoor air quality are vital in keeping school buildings healthy and operating as energy efficiently as possible,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. “This report provides a wide-scale, foundational framework to school leaders and lawmakers alike towards the implementation of new building design guidelines and to advance health and sustainability goals, while instilling confidence in the places where people learn.”
The report is the only known national view of air quality measures implemented in schools during the pandemic. It highlights what school districts have prioritized, which actions they have taken, how they have made decisions and what the consequences have been. The results of the survey show that schools have implemented some protective measures to improve IAQ prioritizing ventilation and filtration to reduce the transmission of the virus. However, school districts still have unmet needs and face numerous challenges related to costs and outdated building infrastructure.
“Indoor air quality continues to be a critical concern as more teachers and students are returning to the classroom,” said Anisa Heming, Director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC. “Increasing clean air circulation for our teachers and students is vital to promoting public health and is a key green building strategy for school buildings. Our aim with this report is to inform policymakers and nonprofits that support our schools of the challenges that our education institutions face in combatting the spread of COVID-19, particularly given the deficient state of many school buildings across the country.”
Additional findings from the survey include:
- The most-frequently cited challenge to implementing protective air quality measures at schools was that school buildings were not designed to support the strategies that were being recommended.
- School districts that have been able to act have leaned heavily on their mechanical systems, such as increasing air supply through HVAC systems or upgrading filters to implement protective air quality measures for students and teachers.
- Only two-thirds of respondents were regularly monitoring IAQ before the pandemic, indicating that providing time, staff, and funding for regular monitoring and data collection has not been a priority for many districts in the past.
- Respondents want to continue the measures implemented during the pandemic, citing student and teacher health. Seventy percent of school districts plan to continue some or all of the strategies they’ve implemented.
“As schools re-open and develop health and safety plans to mitigate airborne transmission of COVID-19, many are prioritizing and upgrading current HVAC systems to provide the highest indoor air quality for building occupants,” said Corey Metzger, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Schools team lead. “We know that improved indoor air quality has a positive impact on student performance and general well-being and I’m hopeful that more schools will consider and implement the guidance provided by ASHRAE.”
Darryl Wilson and Bob Pragada elected to Eaton’s Board of Directors
Eaton announced that Darryl Wilson and Bob Pragada have been elected to the company’s Board of Directors.
Wilson is the founder, chairman and president of The Wilson Collective. Prior to founding the organization in 2018, Wilson worked for more than 25 years in global leadership roles at General Electric Company. During that time, he held a number of leadership positions of increasing responsibility including vice president of commercial, GE Power division, vice president and chief commercial officer of GE Energy Connections, and president and chief executive officer of GE Aeroderivative Gas Turbines.
Pragada is the president and chief operating officer of Jacobs Engineering Group. In this role, he has executive oversight of the company’s global operations which consist of the Aerospace, Technology and Nuclear, and Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities lines of business. Pragada has also previously served as president and chief executive officer of The Brock Group, Inc.
“Darryl and Bob bring extensive experience in the power, industrial and technology sectors, as well as a global perspective that will make them both valuable additions to Eaton,” said Craig Arnold, Eaton chairman and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to welcome them to the Board. These appointments also mark a milestone in the evolution of our Board, with two-thirds of our directors now women or U.S. minorities. At Eaton, we know having diverse teams drives innovation, growth, and strong performance. Our commitment to inclusion and diversity is also reflected in the strength of our global leadership team, more than half of whom are U.S. minorities.”
Wilson and Pragada succeed Michael J. Critelli, who has reached the mandatory retirement age for directors and Richard H. Fearon who retired from the Board on March 31, 2021, having reached the mandatory retirement age for officers.
“I’d like to thank Rick and Mike for their many years of extraordinary service to Eaton,” said Arnold. “They have both made a meaningful and lasting impact on the organization, and we wish them the best for the future.”
Pentair announces Q1 2021 financials; agrees to acquire Ken’s Beverage Inc.
Pentair plc announced first quarter 2021 sales of $866 million. Sales were up 22% compared to sales for the same period last year. Excluding currency translation, acquisitions and divestitures, core sales grew 19% in the first quarter. First quarter 2021 earnings per diluted share from continuing operations (“EPS”) were $0.78 compared to $0.43 in the first quarter of 2020. On an adjusted basis, the company reported EPS of $0.81 compared to $0.52 in the first quarter of 2020.
First quarter 2021 operating income was $157 million, up 56% compared to operating income for the first quarter of 2020, and return on sales (“ROS”) was 18.1%, an increase of 390 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2020. On an adjusted basis, the company reported segment income of $164 million for the first quarter of 2020, up 47% compared to segment income for the first quarter of 2020, and ROS was 19.0%, an increase of 330 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Consumer Solutions sales were up 34% compared to sales for the same period last year. Excluding currency translation, acquisitions and divestitures, core sales grew 31% in the first quarter. Segment income of $131 million was up 54% compared to the first quarter of 2020, and ROS was 25.1%, an increase of 330 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Industrial & Flow Technologies sales were up 7% compared to sales for the same period last year. Excluding currency translation, core sales grew 3% in the first quarter. Segment income of $50 million was up 12% compared to the first quarter of 2020, and ROS was 14.5%, an increase of 60 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2020.
Net cash used for operating activities of continuing operations was $19 million compared to a use of $162 million in the first quarter of 2020 and free cash flow used for continuing operations for the quarter was $29 million compared to $181 million in the first quarter of 2020.
Pentair also announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Ken’s Beverage, Inc. (KBI), a provider of beverage equipment and service to commercial customers.
“The planned addition of KBI advances our strategy to provide a full suite of services for commercial customers, and supports Pentair’s vision to be a leading residential and commercial water treatment company,” said Mario D’Ovidio, Executive Vice President and President, Pentair Consumer Solutions. “KBI brings a valuable national direct service network to the portfolio, allowing Pentair to seamlessly manage the full customer experience, including product development, sales, installation, and service to ensure the best quality products are matched with the most reliable and dedicated service network for all commercial applications.”
Total consideration for the transaction is approximately $80 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. The transaction is anticipated to be completed in the second quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.
Elsner Engineering launches online training program and ‘Keep On Rollin” video series
Elsner Engineering launched its ELSNER University online training program with virtual educational programs on machine operation, maintenance and adjustment procedures. The program is designed for customers and prospective customers to learn best practices for maximizing throughput while keeping production running optimally.
Elsner also recently launched a new video series “Keep On Rollin'” with Jay Roth, the company’s director of sales, sharing stories about the history of Elsner innovations, to tours around the facilities to interviews with key team members.
Ohio Fabricators hires Mark Thaxton, Ray Davis to engineering and plant management roles
Ohio Fabricators Company (OFCO) announced Mark Thaxton will join the company as an industrial engineer. Thaxton holds a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology from the University of Akron. He is a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter engine mechanic and supervisor. Prior to joining OFCO, Thaxton worked at a tooling manufacturing firm as well as the NASA Glenn Research Center.
Also joining OFCO is Ray Davis, the company’s new plant manager. Davis is a graduate of Ashland University and has experience in manufacturing, operations and marketing.
“We are adding many new standard products to our offering, while continuing to serve our custom solutions market,” said Mike Smith, sales manager. “The addition of these two highly experienced professionals will allow us to keep pace with higher demand from our distributors and create more customized product offerings.”
Hollingsworth & Vose’s Josh Ayer to lead plenary session at AFS FiltCon 2021
Josh Ayer, Vice President & Managing Director, Americas for H&V, will headline one of the plenary sessions at AFS FiltCon 2021. Ayer will speak about market growth in the filtration industry and where the industry might go.
“COVID-19 caused rapid growth for our industry and the medical devices that rely on filtration. We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in consumer awareness of the broader role filtration places in daily life – from clean air to transportation to clean water. As an industry, this is the moment for us to lead,” said Ayer.
Additionally, Sneha Swaminathan and Fred Lybrand will take part in the conference. Swaminathan, Director of Technology for H&V, will moderate three panels on liquid filtration. The sessions will focus on new media and membrane technologies that enhance filtration and separation of process liquids (industrial and bioprocess) and improve drinking water. Lybrand, Global Marketing Manager for Process Liquids at H&V, will join a panel on Faster Media & Membranes Evaluation for Cartridges Makers Through Use of Validation Package. Lybrand will discuss opportunities for anticipating customer quality to speed market adoption.
The conference will feature two plenary sessions, 12 technical sessions featuring 39 technical presentations, an expo and student poster presentations.
AFS FiltCon 2021: filtcon.memberclicks.net
NXTNano to add three nanofiber lines; expanding production capacity to meet strong demand expected through 2023
NXTNano, LLC, has begun to install three additional HYPR-Spun Nanofiber production lines, with the first of the lines expected to be operational in June, and all three within the 2021 calendar year. The new lines will take NXTNano’s total line count to six, supporting the production of high-volume nanofiber manufacturing up to a maximum roll width of 2.15 meters.
“2020 was an incredible year for NXTNano,” said Andrew McDowell, NXTNano, LLC’s Director of Sales. “We saw rapid adoption of the technology into a number of new markets, and more importantly we have a social obligation to continue serving our mask, respirator, and indoor air purification customers who have taken up the fight against COVID. In existing markets we expected COVID to produce a pronounced slowdown, but that never materialized. As a result of the growth and new projects moving to commercial sales, the time has arrived for us to add capacity”
The number of markets commercially consuming nanofiber has continued to exhibit strong growth, with forecasts for CAGR above 36% though 2023.
“I’ve spent nearly my entire career in nonwovens and filtration, over 30 years now, and the last nine months have been unique to anything I’ve seen before,” said Alan Smithies, NxtNano’s vice president of technology. “The growth has not been without challenges, but I firmly believe we as a company have stepped forward and embraced them. Our head count is now over 80 people, more than two and a halftimes what it was in 2019, and we are putting out full truck loads of material every day.”
AFS FiltCon 2021 registration is open for virtual conference
The AFS FiltCon 2021 Conference, taking place from April 19-21, 2021, will feature two plenary presentations, 42 technical presentations and an expo. New Product Awards for 2019 and 2020 and Honorific Awards for 2020 will be announced at the awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 20. A student poster competition will take place on Wednesday, April 21 at 8 am.
The plenary presentations are How Global Mega Trends, Particularly the ‘Race to Zero Emissions’, and COVID are Impacting the Filtration Industry from Brian Lane of Parker Hannifin’s Global Filtration Business on Monday, April 19 and Impacts on Filtration Market Growth with Josh Ayer, vice president and managing direction at Hollingsworth & Vose, Americas, on Wednesday, April 21.
Presentations will be available to all participants, either live or on-demand for up to two weeks post conference. Registration is now open.
NX Filtration to pilot hollow-fiber nanofiltration membrane for sustainable drinking water production
PWN, responsible for the production and supply of drinking water in the Dutch province of Noord-Holland, selected NX Filtration, specialist in innovative membrane solutions, to start a pilot for the sustainable production of drinking water based on hollow fiber nanofiltration membranes.
The NX Filtration pilot installation will first be deployed at PWN’s testing and technology center in Andijk, the Netherlands. NX Filtration’s hollow-fiber nanofiltration technology can provide substantial benefits over a conventional set-up that combines ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis. Benefits include the water quality that can be obtained in just a single filtration step. There are also substantial sustainability benefits, as it is expected that energy consumption can be reduced and the use of pre-treatment and remineralization chemicals can be avoided, according to the company.
Erik Roesink, founder of NX Filtration, said “We have already implemented our technology on IJsselmeer water, the same source that PWN is using for its Heemskerk plant, in a small installation on the island of Pampus. Here, we demonstrated to significantly reduce the number of filtration steps, energy consumption and use of chemicals to reach a similar water quality as in a traditional process. We are proud that PWN is now testing and researching the benefits that our unique hollow fiber nanofiltration technology can bring.”
Glanris raises $2 million to produce first green hybrid water filtration media
Glanris announced that the company has raised a $2 million Series A round from investors Riceland, Pittco Capital, Innovaand Sage for the world’s first green, hybrid water filtration media, bringing total investment to $2.8 million. Glanris’ patented manufacturing process and technology for removing contaminants turns rice hulls into a customized filtration media. The Glanris 901x media has better performance at a lower cost than traditional filtration media, removing organic contaminants faster than activated carbon and removing dissolved metals as effectively as ion exchange resins, at a fraction of the cost.
Glanris also announced the opening of a new 60,000 square foot production facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi, where it plans to produce up to three tons of Glanris 901x media per day with its patented kiln for processing rice hulls.
“We are currently testing Glanris in five different vertical markets today with great results,” said Max Khan, President of BioPipe, a global provider of wastewater treatment systems. “Glanris gives water treatment companies like ours a win-win when it comes to pre- and post-treatment of industrial wastewater. Not only is it fast, effective, and a fraction of the costs of ion exchange resins, but also green. It has the potential of removing CO2 through carbon sequestration.”
Glanris cleans water for use and reuse in industrial, municipal, and residential applications. It currently works with a variety of industrial customers, from HVAC manufacturers to automobile makers. Glanris will be selling into the residential market once it completes its full NSF 61 certification this summer.
Glanris’ media addresses several pain points in the water filtration process, providing:
- Same filtration capabilities as activated carbon and ion exchange resins at a fraction of the cost
- Faster kinetics for maximum filtration in a shorter period of time
- Easy water evaporation after the media is exhausted, resulting in lower disposal costs
- Green media that will continue to filter contaminants even at the landfill
“We set out to create sustainable solutions for water filtration and reuse that can immediately impact our global use of water,” said Bryan M. Eagle III, CEO of Glanris. “We also wanted to create a media that would lower the cost for companies wanting peak filtration performance and at the same time wanting to do something better for the planet. We have taken the world’s largest agricultural waste product and converted it into a sustainable solution for solving the world’s water needs.”
ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force releases ‘unequivocal statement’ on airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in buildings
ASHRAE has released the following statement:
“Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is significant and should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, can reduce airborne exposures.”
This statement replaces the April 2020 statement that said airborne transmission was “sufficiently likely” that airborne precautions should be taken. At that time both, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), contended that transmission of SARS-CoV2 was by droplet and fomite modes, not airborne. Subsequently, both have acknowledged the risk of airborne transmission indoors.
“This may seem like a small step, but we feel it is important to leave no doubt about our position, given the muted support for ventilation and filtration as important tools in the effort to stop the pandemic, from some organizations that should be leading more strongly,” said William P. Bahnfleth, Ph.D., P.E., ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force chair.
The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has been developing and disseminating guidance for the control of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 since its formation in March 2020.
“ASHRAE volunteers have played a huge role in evaluating evidence and developing detailed guidance to improve indoor environmental quality,” said Bahnfleth. “The public, globally, is benefitting from the volunteer efforts of some of the most knowledgeable scientists and engineers in our field and this updated guidance is proof of it.”
Freudenberg reports 2020 financials; touts strong position despite COVID-19 challenges
The Freudenberg Group reported sales of $10.1 billion (8.84 billion euros) globally and $2.58 billion (2.25 billion euros) in North America for its 2020 financial year. Freudenberg also continued to invest in both manufacturing and R&D facilities in North America, spending $72.7 million (63.4 million euros) spread out across different business groups in the region.
“The pandemic has made the last 12 months extraordinarily demanding and challenging,” said Dr. Mohsen Sohi, CEO of the Freudenberg Group, adding that, “so far we have managed the crisis comparatively well.”
The Group’s global sales in the 2020 financial year were below the previous year’s total of $10.6 billion (9.46 billion euros). The company reported a profit from operations of $768.4 million (669.9 million euros) compared to $940.5 million (820 million euros) the year before. At $1.31 billion (1.14 billion euros), cash flow was significantly above the comparable figure of $1.1 billion (956.9 million euros) for 2019. In North America, sales declined from $2.84 billion (2.54 billion euros) to $2.58 billion (2.25 billion euros) and employment decreased by roughly 300 from 10,562 to 10,241.
Freudenberg’s businesses in the automotive, textile and mechanical engineering sectors were especially hard hit in the first half of the year. At the same time, businesses such as Freudenberg Medical, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies and Freudenberg Home and Cleaning Solutions experienced a substantial increase in demand for their products.
“These different and, in some cases, divergent developments validate the benefits of Freudenberg’s broad-based portfolio,” Sohi said. “Diversification and innovation have, throughout our long history, proven to be the best defense in a crisis. That is why we continued investments as well as research and development even during this difficult year.”
In 2020, Freudenberg spent $511.9 million (446.3 million euros) or 5 percent of sales (5.1 percent in previous year) on research and development. At the same time, investments in tangible assets (excluding M&A) totaled $329.3 million (287.1 million euros) globally.
The group’s continued expansion in North America included the opening of a new global headquarters and plant for Freudenberg Medical in Beverly, Massachusetts; Freudenberg Sealing Technologies’ investments in research and development and testing centers in Ashland, New Hampshire, and Plymouth, Michigan; relocation and expansion of production of the Freudenberg Filtration Technologies facility from Leon to Silao and EagleBurgmann from Mexico City to Queretaro, Mexico, to name the most significant developments.
Investments in pandemic-related production included lines for the production of surgical masks and N95 respirators by Freudenberg Performance Materials in Durham, N.C., and various components for COVID-19 test kits by Freudenberg Medical in their U.S. facilities, as well as ear-guards used to anchor a face mask and 3D-printed face-mask production by Freudenberg-NOK Sealing technologies.
GEMCO Medical signs exclusive distribution deal with AG Industries, Filtration Group
GEMCO Medical, a leading NABP-accredited medical supply wholesaler and third-party logistics provider of innovative diabetes supplies and other medical products, announced today it has entered into an agreement with AG Industries (AGI), Filtration Group, to be the exclusive master distributor of the company’s respiratory portfolio for the Eastern region of the United States.
Under the terms of the agreement, GEMCO Medical will employ its sales, marketing, and e-commerce expertise to promote and distribute AGI respiratory products and service AGI’s East Coast customer base beginning today. The distribution agreement includes all geographies east of Mississippi for the United States. AGI will continue to service the Western region via its own channels.
With AGI’s manufacturing base in California and Mexico and the spread of COVID-19, the company has seen an unprecedented demand for its products nationwide. By partnering with GEMCO Medical, AGI will stock their entire product portfolio at GEMCO Medical’s Midwest distribution hub, allowing service levels and shipping times to the Eastern region of the U.S. to improve significantly. Additionally, AGI customers will have immediate access to a broader range of products offered by GEMCO Medical and additional programs such as private label, drop-ship, and third-party fulfillment services.
“AGI is a great manufacturing partner of ours. We look forward to building deep relationships with their customers and making the account transition as seamless as possible,” said Matthew Edwards, GEMCORE’s CEO, parent company to GEMCO Medical. “Through the support of our dedicated sales efforts, competitive pricing, extensive industry knowledge, and faster delivery times, we are committed to meeting and exceeding the level of service that customers have grown to expect from AGI.”
John Smits, president of AG Industries Filtration Group, added, “AGI is excited to add GEMCO Medical as a critical part of our North American channel strategy. GEMCO Medical has the scale, infrastructure, reputation, clinical expertise, and a complementary product portfolio that will bolster sales and expand support for our customers.”
INDA launches on-demand nonwoven trainings and key issue webinars
INDA is offering a series of on-demand training courses and issue-awareness webinars for nonwoven and engineered fabric professionals.
“We are pleased to offer on-demand options for critical training and issue awareness content for all levels of professionals seeking to advance their career development. On-demand allows participants around the world the convenience of managing when, where, and for what duration they access this valuable content,” said Dave Rousse, INDA President. “This new offering meets today’s need for digital access to essential materials.”
INDA now offers training options in on-demand, live virtual, and traditional in-person formats.
INDA’s on-demand program includes:
- Elementary Nonwovens Training Course — designed for non-technical professionals, this five-hour course provides newcomers the basics of nonwovens in simple, clear, concise language.
- Intermediate Nonwovens Training Course — designed for industry professionals with five-plus years nonwovens’ experience or a technical background, this seven-hour course is a bridge between INDA’s Elementary Nonwovens Training Course and the Advanced Courses.
- WIPES Academy (Training Course) — designed to cover every major facet of the wipes sector, including design, materials, production, cost implications, and packaging.
- Filter Media Training Course — designed for professionals wanting to learn more about the development, testing and application of nonwovens in filtration.
INDA’s on-demand webinars include:
- New ASTM Performance Standard for General Public Facemasks and the Design Opportunities for Engineered Materials — Details the two performance levels of the new facemask standard, the test methods, and the opportunities created for facemask designers and filter media makers to differentiate and create competitive advantage.
- Plastics Concerns in the Nonwovens Industry — Details the state of play in the EU and in North America, where legislative initiatives related to plastics have been introduced in California, Canada and the U.S. Congress and the threats these initiatives pose to the industry.
- Spunbond/Spunmelt/’Spunlace’ Capacity/Demand Scenarios Prompted by the Pandemic (coming Apr. 6) — Details the developments in these sectors, with data from INDA’s 2020 North American Supply Report, and an analysis and insights on developments caused by the pandemic response for wipes, medical gowns, and facemask materials.
* International Filtration News is owned by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (inda.org).