By David H. Martin
After last year’s disappointing attendance in New Orleans (down 19 percent from the year before), many water treatment exhibitors felt that returning to the WQA trade show in 2003 was a real gamble. Then, as the Las Vegas event approached this March, the odds seemed even worse as the nation prepared for war. Would the pre-war publicity scare away even pre-registered dealers?
Well, no, actually. Dealers defied the odds and came out West in greater numbers than last year’s journey south—a 24 percent increase to be exact. WQA officials said there were 3,717 attendees, up from 3,007 at the 2002 convention in New Orleans. Naturally, the 236 exhibitors and the WQA were the big winners. The winning tide became apparent on the first day of the trade show when dozens of exhibitors reported strong booth traffic as dealers literally tripped over each other in the tighter aisles.
Accustomed as I am to reporting on water treatment at major trade shows, this show overwhelmed me. With over 200 hundred exhibits to see in a shortened two-day show, I wasn’t able to get around to talk with everyone. The goal was to find out only about new products introduced after the last WQA convention. If we inadvertently failed to include any particular items, feel free to contact the editors at email@example.com for future follow-up. Meanwhile, I did see enough to spot some trends and report on a few things including new exhibitors.
Trends and mini-trends
This was a show of multiple technologies, often packed into compact cartridges and systems of every imaginable configuration. Ultraviolet (UV) and even ozone were often key system components, owing to heightened concerns about biological contamination and sanitation. Hollow-fiber membranes and electronic deionization were center stage along with multi-function and specialty filters in every size, shape and color. Some dealt with arsenic (As-III and As-V); many with Cryptosporidium and MTBE. This year, new water testing tools emerged. Hi-tech countertop point-of-use (POU) units, chillers and coolers multiplied, many with electronic filter change monitors. At least two exhibitors ventured into whole house air filtration and wet vacuum systems as plus-profit opportunities for dealers. One couldn’t help but conclude—What once was a fairly straightforward, specialty plumbing business has become something of a science.
According to engineer Bill Laidlaw, the new GE Osmonics polypropylene depth filter redefines all previous standards for commercial/industrial (C/I) process water, reverse osmosis (RO) pre-treatment performance, and filter construction. “Z.Plex technology integrates transverse Z-Fibers, smaller-diameter fibers, increased layer spacing and a three-dimensional fiber matrix,” said Laidlaw. “This means up to 50 percent decreased pressure drop, up to 100 percent longer filter life, and up to 100 percent grater dirt-holding capacity. That allows the pre-filter to extend RO membrane life by reducing fouling from fine silt particles, and it saves money by reducing investment in membrane elements.”
Dow Chemical introduced a new high-quality, low-pressure element for commercial applications, the Filmtec™ LP-4040, which replaces many “first generation” low-pressure membrane elements. Rated at 145 psi (pounds per square inch) pressure, it fits between the TW30-4040 (200 psi) and the XLE-4040 (100 psi) membrane, offering up to 63 percent more flow than the TW30. (The XLE was introduced at the WQA Orlando show in 2001.) “You get more water, especially on cold water feed such as in a carwash” with more favorable energy costs, said Jon Goodman, Filmtec North America market manager. Other applications for the LP-4040, he mentioned, include water vending, dialysis and food service. Dow also launched its XUS-43597 solvent-free Dowex™ resin, offering the highest salt regeneration efficiency in the home water softening industry. Dow technical service specialist Jim Summer-field said ANSI/NSF Standard 44 certification is pending for the new resin, the third solvent-free resin available on the market whose development “was primarily driven by California’s Proposition 65.” Although positioned as a value-added resin, it will be priced the same as Dow’s HCR-S cation resin.
Filters for every reason
Pentair showed its newly acquired Plymouth Products line of filters, including a new arsenic filtration unit that uses ferric hydroxide, a leading absorbent for As-V that also works with As-III, according to Plymouth’s Gary Hatch. “It’s an all-in-one arsenic removal cartridge designed for export,” explained Hatch, “that will be certified for U.S. sales as soon as NSF writes protocol to include As-III under Standard 53.”
Omnipure exhibited a revolutionary new replacement filter head with a patented proprietary “key” mechanism that can protect an OEM’s filter replacement business, according to the company’s Mike Long. “This new flexible head will fit Everpure filter housings, giving customers freedom to use an alternative product. But, perhaps more importantly, our OEMs will be able prevent their customers from shopping elsewhere, locking in the replacement business,” said Long.
Sta-Rite showed its new F-Series wet-mold carbon block filters, said to last three to five times longer than traditional blocks. Futamura Chemical Industries Co., of Japan, introduced its MOF E series activated carbon block filter—a wet-molded product made from activated coconut shell carbon and synthetic fiber said to reduce chloroform by 95 percent. The company also introduced a new line of chloramine cartridges. AdEdge Technologies Inc. introduced two new POU cartridges for arsenic reduction. Iron oxide media reduces both As-V and As-III, according to the manufacturer. With similar claims, Engelhard Corp. showed its new ARM 200™ adsorbent, available in coarse granular or fine granular forms for municipal or household use, respectively. Engelhard also underscored that its Aseptrol® chlorine dioxide-based biocide was granted antimicrobial registration for use in water treatment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall.
Taiwan-based Multiply Industry Co. showed its multi-colored line of S-T33 RO post-filter cartridges, said to reduce chlorine, VOC and organic chemicals. FilterCor launched its Series PE-CG pleated non-woven polyester fabric filters as “an economical solution for cyst reduction.” Harmsco showed its high-capacity upflow filter using five 170 sq. ft. filter cartridges. The company also featured its WaterBetter whole house water filtration system featured activated carbon block with five micron pre-filter, all in a 316 stainless steel housing. Shelco showed its C/I stainless steel filters. Graver Technologies showed its line of Powerguard C/I filters. Housing Systems introduced a patented housing system design that takes the mess and fuss out of filter changes and disposal.
Pumped for the show
Stenner showed its Series SVP metering pump system and Series BDF chemical feeders. Pulsafeeder Inc. launched its Nutralizer metering pump. “The low number of moving parts and the fact there are no tubes to change, as there are with peristaltic pumps, makes for a superior product for a wide range of applications,” said Steve Ebersol, director of new business development. Davey showed its HS Series of booster pumps, said to increase pressure by 40-50 psi. Goulds Pumps showed its AquaBoost booster pump for constant whole house water pressure. The company also showed its Aquavar microprocessor-based pump controller. Aquajet exhibited its beverage industry automatic demand pumps capable of monitoring any pressure fluctuations and that instantly adjust operating speeds as required. Webtrol showed its line of variable speed pumps—ranging from 1-40 horsepower, horizontal to vertical—in thermoplastic and stainless steel housings.
Involved with valves in Vegas
Rusco launched its new automatic flush valve. Tomlinson Industries showed its QuadFlo brass bypass valve with Teflon seals. Hellenbrand showed its new Iron Curtain System 2.0 for sulfur and iron featuring a new aeration head design with bypass valve. STMC valve products were shown in the Good Water Warehouse booth. Norgren exhibited its lines of solenoid valves. G.A. Murdock showed its new line of Mur-Lok R/O Pal® ball valves, plus leading-brand fittings and housings. Blue-White showed metering injectors, flow meters and accessories. The company’s Digi-Flo F-1000 digital meter provides the advantages of an electric meter from a battery power source. John Guest introduced its new 1/2” shutoff valves that feature the same simplicity as its fittings for providing a fast and secure method of connecting plastic and soft metal tubing. John Guest also displayed its 3/8” Acetal shutoff valves, available with long or short handles. And it unveiled its “Genuine JG” symbol in a new program to help customers identify distributors, OEMs and installers who carry authentic NSF-listed John Guest product made with FDA-approved materials—and not unwanted substitutes.
Some alternative answers
Haliant Technologies showed its Electro-Deionization (EDI) systems for high-purity applications from 15,000 to over 150,000 gallons per day (gpd). Omexell exhibited its compact EzDi system that combines RO with EDI. Hydranautics showed its innovative low-fouling composite C/I membrane. AirSep showed its PSA oxygen systems for industrial applications.
Hyzlyk Membrane Technologies Ltd., of Hong Kong, introduced its hollow fiber membrane technology used in Asia for diverse applications as RO pre-filtration, wastewater treatment, municipal water, beverage production, pharmaceutical and medical dialysis. Hollow fiber microfiltration and ultrafiltration are said to provide effective separation of suspended solids, bacteria, colloids, organisms and some viruses.
Testing and demonstrations
LaMotte unveiled its new 4053 arsenic test for As-V and As-III. It’s a 10-minute test strip that permits fast, in-home analysis. The company also showed its new Duo-Soft water softener demo unit with twin chambers, and its first pocket-sized ISE meter for measuring total chlorine. Pro Products exhibited its three demo kits as well as its line of water treatment chemicals. CHEMetrics showed its new (Indigo Method) Vacu-vials, which react instantly and quantitatively with ozone. Hanna Instruments showed its C 200 series multi-parameter photometers that let the user select the parameter, zero the instrument, add reagents, and measure. HM Digital showed its compact pocket size TDS meters. Sprite Industries showed its water testing kits for dealer demonstrations. It also showed conductivity meters, pocket probes, and TDS indicators along with a new line of all-brass shower filters for the upscale market.
National Testing Laboratories introduced a new “Complete RO-Screen”—a complete lab test with a five-day turnaround with results on metals and other inorganics. Industrial Test Systems Inc. showed new arsenic test kits with reagents in powder form.
Around the world with POU
Topway Global Inc. showed its lines of TGI Pure RO systems including countertop and cabinet RO systems. Seone Co. Ltd., of Korea, made its U.S. debut and showed its line of Partner cabinet RO systems. The Foundry promoted low prices with its four-stage FDM2 RO-50—$98.95 in one-dozen minimum quantities. Aqus from Korea exhibited for the first time, showing cabinet and undercounter RO systems. WaterWorld USA introduced its Proline Plus line of undercounter RO systems. Shen Hung, of Taiwan, introduced a line of ceramic cartridge and activated carbon POU undercounter and countertop systems. Lancer introduced its Pure Link commercial RO system in a compact stainless steel cabinet. Oasis offered a choice of cabinet POU systems with electronic filter life monitors and choice of RO or carbon filtration combined with optional UV lamp inside the cooler reservoir.
In other news, Alamo debuted HydraQuest cabinet style drinking water systems using a choice of RO or ultrafiltration, combined with in-line UV. CUNO showed its Water Factory System undercounter RO with automatic shut-off valve. Coway Co. Ltd., of Korea, showed a four-stage countertop filtration system combining ultrafiltration, activated carbon, carbon fiber and sediment filters. Hydrotech introduced its AquaSafe modular manifold system, combining mechanical filtration, RO and UV. Tana Industries, of Israel, showed its countertop and full cabinet POU systems combining UV, carbon and an anti-calcium treatment module. Stagon, of Italy, showed a countertop RO system with carbon and UV elements. Multi-Pure has added AdEdge arsenic adsorption to its carbon block countertop units.
innowave stole the show with a wildlife menagerie from parent company, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, posing for pictures with visitors at its booth. The innowave 270H is a true purifier combining distillation, UV and carbon filtration. It’s both a residential unit that’s also marketed to dentists for their offices.
UV and ozone exhibitors
Vortex Water Technologies showed its UV-generated ozone “bubble maker,” a countertop POU unit that also integrates carbon filtration. Ozotech showed its compact Home Bottled Water System and Surface Sanitizer. Trojan showed its UVMax system for home and commercial applications. Wedeco Ideal Horizons showed its DLR Series UV system for residential and commercial applications.
Tru-Pure Ozone Technologies Inc. launched a complete line of corona discharge ozone POU systems with models targeting the consumer, marine and commercial markets. The company plans to sell its combination sanitizer/drinking water systems through dealers looking for a more profitable alternative to RO.
Coster Engineering introduced a new look for its RO water vending machines, which combine five stages including UV. The company also showed its unique Window Water Vending unit that can be installed in a window, wall or kiosk.
Quality air from a Rainsoft dealer?
Aquion’s Don Miller says it’s true. The company has been training selected Rainsoft dealers to cross-sell AirMaster air purification systems, said Miller: “The AirMaster is made for us by ClearWater Tech and fits into the return air duct or plenum of a home’s forced-air central heating and cooling system. It contains two ultraviolet lights. One is a sterilizer and destroys such harmful airborne contaminants as mold, bacteria and viruses. The other creates ozone, which eliminates odors.” Miller said the reason dealers are embracing AirMaster is for the unusual profit opportunity it represents. Dealer cost is under $300 and they can sell them for $1,000 to $1,500.
The 2003 WQA trade show in Las Vegas reversed the downturn experienced last year in another famous casino town— New Orleans, albeit with riverboat gambling. The integration of multiple technologies in filters and POU systems shown in Las Vegas is a trend with legs. As such, returning for a trade show here will be no gamble.
About the author
David H. Martin is president of Lenzi Martin Marketing, of Oak Park, Ill., a firm specializing in water improvement and environmental marketing that integrates old and new media. He can be reached at (708) 848-8404, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or website: www.lenzimartin.com