NEWS RELEASE April 2018
Is 3M Leading the Way to IIoT for Industrial Filter Suppliers?
3M is now remotely monitoring and replacing $22 furnace filters with use of a blue tooth enabled pressure sensor. We are reporting on this development and then commenting (see material in red)relative to the opportunity for suppliers of dust cartridges, commercial HVAC filters, liquid cartridges and cross flow membranes.
Filtrete™ Smart Air Filters, the first-ever Bluetooth®-enabled HVAC air filters for the home, are now integrated with Amazon Dash Replenishment to automatically reorder air filters when they need replacing. Filtrete Smart Air Filters are available for purchase on Amazon.com and at participating retailers nationwide.
Suppliers of replacement industrial filters are seeking new ways to reach their customers. You can find filters through general E-commerce sites such as Grainger or more specialized sites such as Harrington Industrial Plastics or even the Nalco site. However, the supplier is providing a discount to the E-commerce site. With direct automatic reordering the filter supplier has higher filter margins and can also generate sensor and software revenues.
Filtrete Smart Air Filters, paired with the Filtrete™ Smart App and Dash Replenishment, take the guesswork out of when to change your air filters and what size and type to purchase. The filters contain a Bluetooth®-enabled pressure sensor that, when paired with the app, allows customers to track filter life based on airflow and usage, not just time. Dash Replenishment automatically reorders new filters and delivers them right to your door when you need them.
The knowledge about furnace filters is well known but many industrial applications are very complex. If the filter supplier acquires deep knowledge about the process they can provide very valuable filter management decision making through data analytics.
“We know it is incredibly common for people to forget details about their air filters such as size, type, and the best time to replace filters, so it was important for us to create a simplified and streamlined product experience for consumers,” said Patrick Hiner, New Product Marketing Manager, Filtrete™ Brand. “Many people understand that as a filter’s effectiveness diminishes from use, airflow can be restricted and impact the home’s indoor air quality. Integrating Filtrete Smart Air Filters with Dash Replenishment is a smart and easy way to help manage a filter’s lifecycle, so air filters are changed when they need to be – not too early and not too late.”
To get started, customers simply set up Dash Replenishment through the Filtrete Smart App using their Amazon account credentials. The Filtrete Smart App tracks filter lifespan, type and size, and Dash Replenishment will automatically reorder the correct product when the life of their filter reaches 10%. Dash Replenishment enables connected devices to automatically reorder goods from Amazon whenever supplies are running low. For more information, visit: https://www.amazon.com/dash-replenishment.
The industrial filter supplier has the opportunity to provide the filters on a yearly contractual basis. He eliminates administrative cost for the customer and can increase margins and revenue. One option is a variable cost contract which is based on the number of filters needed throughout the year.
Another option is an O&M contract for a fixed amount. The supplier takes on the responsibility of minimizing filter usage through continuously monitoring conditions and advising the operator of needed changes in the operation to avoid premature filter failure. If the supplier does not have complete control it is better to structure this type of contract under a “shared savings” basis. The present yearly filter cost is the benchmark. The filter savings in a subsequent year is shared between supplier and customer. This provides a very big profit potential for the supplier and lowest total cost of ownership for the customer.
The Filtrete Smart App also provides data on outside air quality and gives other useful tips for helping to improve indoor air quality. Users can decide how much interaction they have with the Filtrete Smart App by opting into specific smartphone notifications. The app can also pair with compatible indoor air quality monitors to provide real-time indoor air quality readings. (Monitors sold separately.)
Many filter suppliers are divisions of larger companies who can leverage the filter opportunity to sell complete integrated O&M systems with process control management packages including edge computer analytics. Nalco operates a 24-7 remote monitoring center to control treatment chemicals. It also sells Pall membrane filters on its E-commerce site. Alternatively, it could monitor these filters and replace them as needed.
Danaher may want to capture this membrane filter revenue itself. It has the Chemtreat line of treatment chemicals to compete with Nalco. It also owns Hach and supplies all the analyzer technology. It purchased Pall several years ago. It is targeting IIoT and can leverage this activity.
Nederman has acquired Auburn who makes broken bag detectors. It is has also acquired NEO Monitors who makes TDLS analyzers. We have been conducting webinars on the use of TDLS for optimizing combustion in coal fired boilers as well as many other applications where instant and accurate sensing of H2O, H2S, CO2, NH3 and C2H2 is required. Nederman supplies complete dust collection and mist elimination packages with extraction hoods as well as contaminant removal. Control of air flow through ducts and hoods to minimize dust escape around the hoods while also minimizing air flow and energy consumption can result in huge savings for the customer. Nederman has a digital initiative and is very likely to be pursuing this opportunity.
Parker Hannifin has acquired Clarcor and its Total Solutions division. This group supplies all the filters for automotive and other industrial plants. It buys competitor filters as requested by the customer and eliminates all the administrative costs of buying thousands of filters from many sources. Parker Hannifin has all the controls and software to supply complete IIoT and Remote O&M packages. So, it could easily monitor every filter and replace as needed.
Eaton is another company which has it all. They make a number of different filter types. In certain industries such as food they have a variety of products such as adsorbers and other purification products which are important to the quality of the end product. They have all the electronics and software to supply complete packages to reduce costs and improve product quality.
3M is leading the way. Industrial filter manufacturers should realize that the train is leaving the station. McIlvaine conducts monthly webinars on the use of IIoT in different industries. Rio Tinto is moving toward the mine of the future where ore is extracted in central Australia and transported to the sea cost terminal with no human operators. BASF in Germany has standardized on OSIsoft, Samson valves and E+H instrumentation for all its plants around the world (McIlvaine has a 150-slide presentation just on these opportunities at 100 BASF plants). Arcelor Mittal is making substantial reductions in the operating cost of making steel around the world with centralized purchasing and extensive total cost of ownership analyses.
So, a filter supplier who is not yet even on the train platform would be well served to accelerate his pace and make sure he is not left behind.
Information on the IIoT and Remote O&M service is shown at N031 Industrial IOT and Remote O&M
Details on the complete business program are shown at www.mcilvainecompany.com