Movers & Shakers – June 2021: Aquatech and Upwell Water create joint venture, Aquios, supporting an estimated $500M in water treatment infrastructure 

International Filtration News Movers & Shakers
IFN covers the latest news and information coming out of the global filtration industry. Photo: iStock/metamorworks

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

Most recent update: June 22, 2021

REXtac, DL Chemical partner to build 88M pound amorphous poly alpha olefin plant in South Korea

REXtac LLC, of Odessa, Texas, has joined with DL Chemical of Seoul, South Korea, to establish a joint venture to construct and operate an amorphous poly alpha olefin (APAO) manufacturing plant located in Yeosu Industrial Complex in South Korea. With an investment of $134 million, the APAO plant will have an annual capacity of 88 million pounds per year. Groundbreaking on the new plant is scheduled to begin this year and will commercially operate in 2023.

APAO hot melt polymer and adhesive is widely used in a variety of applications, including hygiene products, HVAC filters, automotive interiors, and other industrial applications.

The joint venture will leverage DL Chemical’s global network to actively expand into the hot melt adhesive market, valued close to $10.4 Billion. This partnership will combine DL Chemical’s research and development capabilities with REXtac’s APAO manufacturing technology and R&D.

Nick Fowler, president of REXtac LLC, said, “REXtac is excited to be able to partner with a world class, experienced, petrochemical company, DL Chemical. The joint venture manufacturing capability will provide global service, supply, and delivery security to our ever expanding customer base and free REXtac USA from total dependency on North American propylene prices.”

DL Chemical is a specialized petrochemical company headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. REXtac LLC was founded in 2009 by an acquisition from Flint Hills Resources and Huntsman Chemical. REXtac LLC is a leader in manufacturing APAO and produces it through a proprietary catalyst and liquid pool production process.


Xebec Adsorption completes acquisition of Tiger Filtration

Xebec Adsorption Inc., a global provider of clean energy solutions, announce it has closed the acquisition of all outstanding shares of United Kingdom-based Tiger Filtration (TFL). The acquisition of TFL will provide Xebec with a recurring aftermarket manufacturing business for elements and filters. TFL’s R&D capabilities will also allow for expansion of its product portfolio to include filtration products for hydrogen and renewable natural gas (RNG).

Founded in 2004 by former Walker Filtration employees (Bob Thompson, Gary Ashton and Matthew Rowe), TFL has gained worldwide recognition for providing high-quality alternatives for the compressed air and gas industry. TFL was established 17 years ago and has become an internationally active company with worldwide sales. Two of its principals will retire, and Gary Ashton will remain with TFL as managing director and continue his leadership in sales and business development.

Total consideration payable by Xebec is £12.0 million ($20.6 million CAD) and is subject to certain holdbacks, adjustments and time-based payments. TFL had revenues of £2.7 million ($4.6 million CAD), an EBITDA margin of 42% and a net income margin of 34% for FY2020. Xebec expects that TFL will immediately provide cost savings by displacing parts currently bought by its existing subsidiaries within the Cleantech Service Network, HyGear, Inmatec and its headquarters in Québec.


Aquatech and Upwell Water create joint venture, Aquios, supporting an estimated $500M in water treatment infrastructure

Aquatech International announced the launch of its joint venture with Upwell Water. The new platform, Aquios, enables Aquatech to provide customers with water treatment and service with no upfront customer cost.  Aquatech will also provide outsourced solutions through the platform, reducing the cost and risk of water operations while reaching sustainability targets. Aquios will also acquire and retrofit existing facilities to improve operating performance.

“The need for having long-term reliability, particularly as waters become more complex and difficult to treat, is paramount,” said Devesh Sharma, managing director of Aquatech. “Our partnership with Upwell will allow us to offer water technology as a service, providing a compelling solution to meet critical treatment needs with an accountable partner delivering a predictable cost of water operations and peace of mind to our customers. Our customers get what they need – reliability of water treatment and payment over time as they would for any utility service, but with a holistic approach integrating plant design and long-term operational service from a single provider. That makes getting better water treatment simple.”

Aquatech anticipates deploying capital to support over $500 million USD of water infrastructure through Aquios to help customers improve water and wastewater treatment over the next few years. Capstone Partners advised Aquatech on the transaction.


Camfil celebrates 10th anniversary of Tech Center; highlights capability of two new filter lines

Camfil is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Tech Center in Trosa, south of Stockholm in Sweden. The Tech Center covers an area of 2,500 square meters with five laboratories – an HVAC particle lab, a HEPA lab, a molecular lab, an indoor air quality lab and a gas turbine lab – all fitted with the latest equipment.

The Trosa Tech Center is the hub of a global research and development organization, focused on working to analyze indoor air and to test the performance of different filters. The center opened in 2010, but Camfil built Europe’s first test rig for HEPA filters as early as 1967.

Anders Sundvik, vice president of R&D at Camfil, said: “As a business, we continue to invest heavily in research and development in order to innovate in the creation of sustainable products at the leading edge of technology. Clean air plays a massive part in many industries in terms of productivity and quality but, most importantly, it offers significant benefits for all humans’ health and wellbeing. The products that Camfil develops make an enormous contribution to this. The third perspective is environmental concerns by offering the lowest possible energy usage. However, Camfil refuses to rest on its laurels. Camfil has proven that it remains at the forefront of technology with the launch of two major filtration products – Megalam EnerGuard and Absolute V, the next generation HEPA filters for sensitive processes.”

Both new filter lines are designed to increase safety and productivity while also reducing energy consumption.

Megalam EnerGuard is a terminal HEPA/ULPA filter for cleanrooms with lower total cost compared to glass fiber and other competitive filters, through a longer service life, energy cost savings, operational efficiencies and manufacturing process integrity.

It contains a unique media that significantly decreases the chances of filter leaks and resultant room contamination in cleanrooms (first installations achieved 0% failure) to avoid the expensive costs of a product failure due to any mishandling.

Absolute V high airflow HEPA filters, meanwhile, are the energy-efficient filters that provide optimal protection with minimal total cost of ownership when installed in air handling units or in-line HEPA housings. With the Absolute V filter, Camfil placed a special focus on optimizing weight, robustness and energy consumption.


Mann+Hummel releases 2020 financial report

Mann+Hummel released its 2020 financial statement, showing a decrease in turnover and an increase in earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) and EBITDA. The company ended the year with a turnover of 3.8 billion euros, compared to 4.2 billion euros in 2019. It also saw a decline in global automotive production at 16.9% less compared to the previous year.

EBIT resulted in 165 million euros, which is above the previous year’s figure of 153 million euros. EBITDA increased to 404 million euros, up from the 2019 EBITDA of 387 million euros. The EBIT margin improved 0.7% from 3.6% 2019 to 4.3% in 2020.

2020 was the first year under the new management board for Mann+Hummel. Since January  2020, Kurk Wilks, president and CEO, is leading the Group alongside executive vice president  and chief financial officer Emese Weissenbacher and chief operating officer Nic Zerbst. Mann+Hummel also acquired Helsatech GmbH and Helsacomp GmbH in September 2020, expanding into activated carbon technology and the production of elastomer membranes. 

“We responded promptly to the coronavirus pandemic and implemented  comprehensive protective measures at all plants. This has prevented major production losses. Of course, we were also affected by supplier shortages, but we were able to handle these well  through effective process management,” said Zerbst.


Camfil USA relocates Nashville branch to larger facility

The Nashville Branch for Camfil USA has moved to a new and larger facility located at 1305 Elm Hill Pike. The branch officially began operations at the new location in May 2021.

Camfil Nashville Facility
1305 Elm Hill Pike is the new home for the Nashville Branch of Camfil, USA. In order to better serve their customers’ growing air filtration needs, a larger and better-equipped facility was needed. Photo courtesy of Camfil.

“The 15,000 sq. ft. facility includes the largest local inventory of the most common air filter styles and sizes along with HEPA air filters for hospitals and other critical use areas,” said Adam Wiggins, Camfil Nashville Branch Manager. “We have a brand new city counter where contractors can grab a cup of coffee in the morning when picking up filters for the day. The facility has two dock doors for tractor-trailers and straight trucks, as well as a roll-up door for vans and pickups.”

The Camfil Nashville Branch facilities are equipped with the following capabilities:

  • Custom filter sizes made local on-site
  • Custom poly media rolls, blankets, and pads made local on-site
  • Delivery service available
  • Contractor city counter service
  • Air filter installation service
  • HVAC energy impact analysis
  • Air filter life cycle testing


Polymer nanothread filter captures 99.9% of coronavirus aerosols in experiment

A filter made from polymer nanothreads captured 99.9% of coronavirus aerosols in an experiment.

“Our work is the first study to use coronavirus aerosols for evaluating filtration efficiency of facemasks and air filters,” said corresponding author Yun Shen, a UC Riverside assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering. “Previous studies have used surrogates of saline solution, polystyrene beads, and bacteriophages — a group of viruses that infect bacteria.”

Polymer Nanothread Filter
Left: A nanofiber filter that captures 99.9% of coronavirus aerosols; Right: A highly magnified image of the polymer nanofibers. Photo courtesy of Yun Shen, University of California, Riverside.

The study, led by engineers at UC Riverside and The George Washington University, compared the effectiveness of surgical and cotton masks, a neck gaiter, and electrospun nanofiber membranes at removing coronavirus aerosols to prevent airborne transmission. The cotton mask and neck gaiter only removed about 45%-73% of the aerosols. The surgical mask did much better, removing 98% of coronavirus aerosols. But the nanofiber filter removed almost all of the coronavirus aerosols.

Shen and George Washington University colleague Danmeng Shuai produced a nanofiber filter by sending a high electrical voltage through a drop of liquid polyvinylidene fluoride to spin threads about 300 nanometers in diameter — about 167 times thinner than a human hair. The process created pores only a couple of micrometers in diameter on the nanofiber’s surfaces, which helped them capture 99.9% of coronavirus aerosols.

The production technique, known as electrospinning, is cost effective and could be used to mass produce nanofiber filters for personal protective equipment and air filtration systems. Electrospinning also leaves the nanofibers with an electrostatic charge that enhances their ability to capture aerosols, and their high porosity makes it easier to breathe wearing electrospun nanofiber filters.

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Indiana approves UV light air purification system for school buses

The Indiana State School Bus Committee approved the use of UV light air purification systems on Indiana school buses after a successful pilot program with Indiana-based Lumin-Air.

Andrew Desmarais, Chief Operating Officer of Lumin-Air said, “This approval is very exciting for Indiana school districts and puts Indiana on par with other states who have already approved these technologies to help provide clean air in their school buses. Most importantly Indiana schools can now implement a solution to help reduce the risk of transmission and better protect students, bus drivers and other school bus occupants against airborne respiratory pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 and Influenza.”

Lumin-Air UV Air Purification System
UV and MERV 13 Filtration on School Bus. Photo courtesy of Lumin-Air.

School buses are the most densely populated areas in a school’s facility and typically have the poorest air quality. Lumin-Air’s system includes MERV 13 filtration and UV lights in an enclosure, circulating clean, disinfected air throughout the bus. This is a much safer and healthier alternative to opening school bus windows, which can bring in unfiltered air containing exhaust, allergens, and particulates. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urges limiting inhalation of diesel exhaust especially for children who still have developing pulmonary systems.

Timing for approval was critical as Indiana schools have until June 25th to turn in proposals for how they will allocate the large amount of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds (ESSER) to improve air quality in their facilities and school bus fleets.

Lumin-Air has installed its solution in CaliforniaPennsylvaniaFlorida and Maryland, on all major school bus manufacturer models and on two leading metro bus manufacturer’s vehicles. They also have a pilot program underway on a rail system.


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