© Tri-Kleen

Better together: to the air filter system in record time

U.S. filtra­tion experts from MANN+HUMMEL subsidiary Tri-Dim joined forces with ebm-papst venti­la­tion special­ists in the fight against Covid-19. In record-breaking time, they devel­oped the portable Tri-Kleen 500UV vacuum air filter system.


The quality of inte­rior air has been gaining in impor­tance since Covid-19. Yet, the increase in coro­n­avirus infec­tions has meant that demand for solu­tions that allow effi­cient and, most impor­tantly, flex­ible air filtering has grown even faster. Nilesh Tharval, Manager of Advanced Tech­nology at Mann+Hummel USA reports: “When the first wave of coro­n­avirus reached the USA, Tri-Dim received numerous inquiries from hospi­tals, health author­i­ties and medical prac­tices all over the country. We knew we had to supply a really good product quickly.”

No chance for the virus

Nilesh Tharval, Manager of Advanced Tech­nology at Mann+Hummel USA (Photo | Tri-Kleen)

The core idea: A portable air filter system that gener­ates a vacuum in any closed treat­ment or exam­i­na­tion room to prevent air cont­a­m­i­nated with viruses from flowing into adja­cent rooms. The Tri-Dim Filter Corpo­ra­tion had its own filtra­tion exper­tise in-house. With around 800 employees, Tri-Dim is one of the largest air filtra­tion compa­nies in North America and has its head­quar­ters in Louisa, Virginia.

Tri-Dim offers an exten­sive port­folio of prod­ucts and services for heating and air condi­tioning. These include air and liquid filtra­tion, heating and air condi­tioning systems, clean room filtra­tion, air purifi­ca­tion systems, gas filtra­tion and solu­tions for measuring and improving inte­rior air quality. Tri-Dim has been a subsidiary of the MANN+HUMMEL Group since 2018.

MANN+Hummel and ebm-papst against time

The German parent compa­nies helped to find a suit­able partner for the required fan. Mark Pierce, Vice Pres­i­dent Sales & Marketing at ebm-papst, Farm­ington, USA, explains: “The German MANN+HUMMEL and ebm-papst sites already had busi­ness connec­tions. The RadiCal centrifugal fan had already been used in other MANN+HUMMEL prod­ucts. That’s why they were aware of the spec­i­fi­ca­tions, and Tri-Dim wanted to have this exact fan.”

ebm-papst’s team made a great effort by utilizing over­time hours and week­ends to supply the first fans along with the metal hous­ings all within a two week period. (Photo | ebm-papst)

On a Saturday in March, senior manage­ment from both MANN+HUMMEL and ebm-papst US met for the first time on a confer­ence call to discuss the chal­lenge and oppor­tu­nity before them. In addi­tion to the fan, ebm-papst was also asked to supply the metal housing of the Tri-Kleen 500 UV. The tight time frame given by MANN+HUMMEL was the sticking point. But ebm-papst’s team made a great effort by utilizing over­time hours and week­ends to supply the first fans along with the metal hous­ings all within a two week period.

Perfect inter­ac­tion of filter and fan

A RadiCal fan from ebm-papst gener­ates the air flow for the airpres­sure required in the treat­ment room. (Photo | Tri-Kleen)

The core compo­nents of the air purifi­ca­tion system are an MERV 9 prefilter and a cylin­drical HEPA (High Effi­ciency Partic­u­late Air) filter. With help from a micro-glass medium, this high-perfor­mance filter guar­an­tees that 99.97 percent of all parti­cles up to 0.3 µm in size are sepa­rated.

The effect of filtra­tion is ampli­fied by combining the HEPA filter with a UV lamp, whose light destroys germs, bacteria and viruses.

The RadiCal from ebm-papst gener­ates the air flow for the airpres­sure required in the treat­ment room. The Tri-Kleen unit has three speed settings and can be oper­ated in “quiet mode”. An optional flange can be used to connect a flex­ible duct, which the system utilizes to discharge a higher air flow out of the room than is fed into it.

The nega­tive pres­sure differ­ence that results from this means that cont­a­m­i­nated air cannot escape from the room. Both the intake and exhaust air pass through the filter system.

Flex­ible and mobile air filter

Mark Pierce, Vice Pres­i­dent Sales & Marketing at ebm-papst, Farm­ington, USA (Photo | ebm-papst)

At first, sheet metal manu­fac­turers at ebm-papst Farm­ington had to produce the Tri-Kleen 500UV housing by trial and error. Mark Pierce explains: “We were collab­o­rating with Tri-Dim for the first time. We had to estab­lish processes first. We had CAD draw­ings produced and released, and, despite the enor­mous time pres­sure, we quickly managed to deliver what was required because all those involved worked hand in hand.”

Nilesh Tharval is satis­fied: “In the mean­time, we have sold almost 1,000 units of the air filter system. More will follow over the course of the year. Feed­back from our customers has been entirely posi­tive.”

The Tri-Kleen 500UV is currently only avail­able on the U.S. market, but there have been initial inquiries from Europe, explains Mark Pierce. “We are preparing to produce 230 volt models with Tri-Dim.”

For the next gener­a­tion of Tri-Kleen air filter systems, we are talking about using energy-effi­cient EC fans.

Nilesh Tharval, Manager of Advanced Tech­nology at Mann+Hummel USA

Nilesh Tharval adds: “Our promise to our customers is that we will contin­u­ously work on inno­v­a­tive, new prod­ucts and improve existing ones. In ebm-papst, we have found a partner that shares this atti­tude. For the next gener­a­tion of Tri-Kleen air filter systems, we are talking about using energy-effi­cient EC fans. Although we can’t stop the COVID-19 virus, we have worked together and harnessed our exper­tise to curtail it on a small scale.

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