Smart air filtration, air filters go digital - Chances and risks of new roads to market

T. Stoffel*, DELBAG GmbH, Germany

Many areas of our daily lives lead us to encounter the term “smart”. Smart phones, smart watches, smart illumination systems, smart vehicle and smart facility management cross our paths almost everywhere.
Once you understand the term smart as a digital and demand specific control system, it appears only a question of time until this terminology reaches the world of air filtration. Already today highly efficient air treatment systems are closely controlled and adjusted according to the actual ventilation requirements in the building. Measuring CO2 concentrations, for instance, makes it possible to adjust the amount of fresh air in the system, as much as dynamically controlling necessary heating and cooling loads. Contemporary air treatment systems are continuously checking and adjusting their operational configuration.
The mere measurement of CO2 concentrations does not automatically make any system smart, by any means. Just as important as determining the CO2 concentrations are the fine dust contaminations, VOCs, nitrogen oxides, ozone, carbon monoxide, relative humidity, etc. in occupied space. Each of these factors may also influence one another, which has to be respected. A comprehensive and continuous data analysis already makes it possible now to accustom the filtration performance to the current requirement of the air treatment system. Filter units can individually be activated for ventilating a building or they are selectively taken out of the main air stream.
This still does not make a filter smart. The intelligent feature in this set up is the air treatment system, that guides use, or non-use of the filter unit. Filtration only becomes truly smart, once the filter actively provides information about its current status into the air treatment control system. The future will introduce microchips in filter elements that provide precise information about the current pressure loss, humidity, and possible microbiological growth.
Sensors in the filter frames will make date of filter commissioning as well as the exact position of filter available to the operator of the facility. Hereby the filter can actively suggest and optimal change interval to the local facility management and can also forecast expected increase in pressure loss, the expected additional operational costs, the replenishing costs and calculate a break-even point. The data needed for replenishing are naturally web-based, making it easy to re-order in a B2B e-commerce channel, as to ensure next day filter delivery and filter commissioning. ... brave new filter world.
The leap from a smart filter unit to a fully digitalized filter order process is less than a stone throw. A strong development of digitalized markets - also known as e-commerce is to be observed in a vast number of industrial sectors. A continuous increase of online transactions will eventually change the access to the filter market mid-term and fundamentally transform the market for air filters.
This essay analyzes if the market of e-commerce in a B2B world is expected to undergo a positive development and

Session: G17 - Monitoring and Control
Day: 24 October 2019
Time: 14:45 - 16:00 h

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