Cleanrooms on the radar of Honeywell, Air Purification Technologies alliance

Neil Savage

NICEVILLE, FL/VALENCIA, CA—Honeywell's Commercial Air Products business (Niceville) and Air Purification Technologies LLC (Valencia) are teaming up to form what they hope will be the leading competitor in the indoor air quality market.

“It's a pretty scattered marketplace. There's not a lot of big players,” says David Costa, director of international sales for Air Purification Technologies. “We want to be that one-stop shop.”

Air Purification Technologies concentrates on indoor air quality services for the medical field and makes negative air pressure units. The company is owned by Veloz Holdings, which also owns Servicor (San Carlos, CA), a maker of modular cleanrooms. Its sister company, UltraViolet Devices (Valencia, CA), already sells to Honeywell. Honeywell, which was recently purchased by General Electric (Fairfield, CT), has expertise in air filtration and control of odors and volatile organic compounds, as well as a greater presence in the non-medical field.

Veloz manufactures several versions of HEPA UV systems, but did not have the smaller portable devices, the sort that cost a couple of hundred dollars—like those produced by Honeywell—instead of a couple thousand dollars, Costa says.

The first aim of the alliance will be to bring more indoor air quality equipment to hospitals, doctors' offices, clinics and day care settings, Costa says. The companies plan to take advantage of Servicor's cleanroom technology to develop portable isolation rooms, which will help hospitals during severe flu outbreaks, for example, and fit into plans for dealing with biological terrorism.

But later next year, the alliance will be expanding into cleanrooms, says Scott Roberts, North American sales and marketing manager for the Commercial Air Products division. The company is now capable of creating cleanrooms of ISO Class 7 (Class 10,000) and higher, and hopes to expand to even cleaner ratings that will incorporate laminar flow technology, Roberts says.

Honeywell, having merged with GE after a December merger with Allied Signal, is part of a company that makes products, such as aircraft electronics, that require cleanrooms. “I've got to imagine that this company, with a value of about $150 billion has got to be one of the biggest users of cleanrooms just within itself,” Roberts says.

The first step of the alliance will be joint marketing and sales of indoor air quality devices. A joint meeting of the two companies' sales forces is scheduled for December.

The alliance will likely compete with filtration companies and makers of UV systems. But Costa and Roberts say that much of the competition is scattered among companies with annual sales of under $1 million.

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