Competition is thick among air filter manufacturers and many new products continue to debut. Several said there is a consolidation underway. Nevertheless, 45 companies were listed as showing air filters.

Some of the filter products are aimed at homeowners, and as such are leading to more eye-catching packaging and displays. Some of the filters are actually quite attractive.

Permatron’s Lifestyle Plus, for instance, isn’t just your standard equipment protector. It is actually a whole-house electrostatic lifetime filter with a lifetime warranty.

Of course, it is washable and has a Microban antimicrobial coating to kill germs, in addition to catching and holding dirt particles.

Todd Poythress of Purolator said more synthetic filter media have been coming onboard, since they offer higher initial efficiencies and less pressure drop. Manufac-turing your own media also allows the company to have a product that stands out in the marketplace, he pointed out.

He said replacement filter sales have been strong, capitalizing on the IAQ trend not just in the past year or two, but over the past five to 10 years.

Purolator’s Ultra-Cell is an aluminum separator-style, high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter line. Ranging from 95% to 99.99% efficiencies on 0.3-micron particles, the filters are manufactured and scan-tested in the company’s manufacturing and testing facility in Kenly, NC.

Ultra-cells are available in many constructions for gasket- or fluid-sealed high-temperature applications. Frame material options include fire-retardant particle board, non-fire-retardant particle board, fire-retardant plywood, non-fire-retardant plywood, 304 stainless steel, and 16-ga galvanized steel.

Oscarware Inc. is a relatively new company, selling its FilterPro electrostatic air filters that are adjustable, electrostatic, washable, and also incorporate an antimicrobial coating. They feature a cut-to-fit refillable polyester media.

It’s touted as an air-cleaning system rather than just a filter, and was said to sell for under $20.

AirGuard showed its new Vari-Klean high-efficiency, activated-carbon filter gas-phase adsorber, and its new PowerGuard electrostatically enhanced, pleated-panel filters with 35% to 40% efficiency for a MERV-11 rating and odor-gas removal properties.

The Vari-Klean offers continuous removal of low-level concentrations of airborne molecular contamination (less than 500 parts per billion), which is particularly important in cleanrooms, microelectronics, airports, museums, and pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. The media consists of a very fine granular carbon with 600 grams per sq m.

“People expect more from their environments,” commented Gary Hellman, especially those in the workplace. Employees shouldn’t have to breathe in noxious fumes from the building’s loading dock, for example.

Another manufacturing process also enhances filtration ability, including a needling process at the higher end which aids the media in collecting and holding onto dirt particles. Needling “entangles the fibers throughout the entire depth of the media, producing high-mechanical efficiency,” the company says.

AAF International introduced a filter for the lower end market, but of higher quality and with several features not usually found in that price range, the company says. The AirCobra self-sealing, internal wire series has a U-channel frame and is available in two-, three-, or four-ply versions for MERV ratings of 8, 10 and 11, respectively.

It has a new adhesive inside it for better dust particle retention. That adhesive, SAAF-tac, was developed in-house and is formulated from food-grade type products.

A new mini-pleated MicroKlean also was shown with a MERV 10 rating, also for residential applications. It can be cleaned with a soft brush, but does not have the electrostatic charge.

Glasfloss showed filters for all the popular electronic and media air-filtering products, including those from Trion, Research Products, and Honeywell.

A new Z-line MERV-8 high-performance pleated filter is available, along with a Luwa-style filter for very-high-efficiency commercial applications.