Air filters are in demand

Air filters are in demand

With the onset of the cold season, ventilation becomes more difficult as an important weapon against the spread of the coronavirus. Several federal states therefore want to promote high-quality mobile indoor air filters for classrooms. There are also corresponding demands from federal politics. For restaurants or offices, such devices could also be interesting. Demand is increasing, but could the industry supply at all, or are shortages looming, as with protective masks and respirators in the spring?

Since the beginning of the corona pandemic, several companies have developed mobile air filtration systems to combat viruses. These also include trotec from heinsberg in north rhine-westphalia and wolf from mainburg in bavaria. Both companies have noticed a clear increase in demand and rising delivery times.

The waiting time at trotec was three to four weeks, at wolf three. Alexandra goertz, managing director at trotec, is confident that the industry will be able to meet demand even in a boom – albeit with some waiting time, as she says. At wolf, the production capacity is expected to be around 1,000 units per week, with an estimated potential demand of 40,000 to 50,000 for schools in germany alone.

Another challenge is the procurement of the parts. The components were not particularly exotic, says goertz. Bottlenecks for special parts cannot be ruled out, but so far things are going well, they say. Wolf is also keeping an eye on the issue.

The devices of the two suppliers have certain similarities. They are refrigerator-sized boxes that are simply placed in the room – for example, a classroom – and all that is needed is a power outlet. Then they suck in air, send it first through a coarser pre-filter and then through a special filter that is also capable of removing viruses from the air as far as possible. According to experts such as christian kahler from the university of the german armed forces in neubiberg, the quality of this filter is essential for its effectiveness. He has already tested several devices, including those from trotec. Kahler also mentions two other conditions for successful use: in order to clean the air quickly, the devices must filter several times the room volume per hour and at the same time be quiet enough to run continuously.

From a technical point of view, the development was not a hard job for the companies with experience in the air filter sector – also because a lot can be transferred from other devices, as goertz confirms. Wolf-chef thomas kneip says: "our product is an adaptation of an existing technique, which is already used in hospitals or cleanrooms."

Both companies have reorganized parts of their production to meet the hoped-for demand. Financially, the development of the devices is a small risk for the companies – but of course also a business opportunity. "As with all products, we also want to make money with it," says kneip, says kneip, but emphasizes charging normal prices. "We have oriented ourselves to the usual margins." the price should also be competitive in comparison.