31 July 2015
Masks, Air Purifiers and Odour Control Dominate 2015 Breathing Expo
- Photo: A fresh approach: Admair’s air purification equipment.
- Photo: Bri’s BA-7060i air purifier.
- Photo: Filters for Bri’s air purification range.
- Photo: The replaceable filter of a Cleanaire (YST) mask.
- Photo: The Cleanaire (YST) mask in action.
- Photo: Guangzhou Biofil’s face masks.
- Photo: The Shanghai Cimic Healthy Environment Technology stand.
- Photo: Negative ion-generating decor.
Looming mainland legislation inspired a fresh look at many products in the healthy breathing sector, including certified air purifiers, more effective filtration masks and a variety of odour control products for a range of home and industrial uses.
With environmental pollution worsening and concerns growing over infectious diseases, a focus on healthy breathing has never been more timely. An expo solely devoted to the subject then would seem most apt – a notion clearly endorsed by the many attending this year's Healthy Breathing Expo in Guangzhou, a showcase for the ever-expanding array of air purification products, filtration masks and odour controls systems.
At a cross-Strait clean air forum held during the fair, Gu Shiming, the President of the Guangdong Indoor Environmental Health Association, maintained that many people are still not fully aware of the importance of healthy breathing. At the same event, Professor Wu Ji of Shanghai's Jiao Tong University stressed that the future air purification market will be a competition between brands, quality and service.
Expanding on the future for products in the sector, Professor Hung Ming-jui of the Department of Safety, Health and Environmental Engineering of Taiwan's Ming Chi University of Technology, said air purification products will increasingly come with multiple functions, a more stylish appearance, smart controls, internet connectivity, as well as greater compatibility with other products.
Service Provides a Competitive Edge
Lu Jianguo is the Secretary-General of the subcommittee on cleaning apparatus of the National Technical Committee on Household Electric Appliances of Standardisation Administration of China. Referring to the first China air purifier industry annual meeting, held in Beijing in May, he said a new set of national standards for air purifiers had been promised for later this year. The majority of manufacturers at the expo said they would be only too keen to comply with the new standards, believing this would boost their prospects in the sector.
One company happy to see nationwide standards being introduced was Guangzhou Bri Air Purification Technology. According to Wang Min, the company's Head of Marketing, Bri not only sets out to sell air purifiers, but is also keen to provide families with healthy breathing solutions.
Wang said Bri conducts an air quality test of any customers' living environment before installing its products. It then conducts follow-up visits to check the air quality after the product has been in use for a period of time, providing a report on the improved air quality in the home. Its findings are also shared with the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Disease as part of its regional database. By studying such data, Bri hopes to be able to refine its products in line with real world requirements.
One Bri air purifier, priced at around Rmb2,000, is selling particularly well at present. The unit offers choice of filters for different types of air quality problems, including anti-bacterial, formaldehyde removal and deodorising filters.
The company's new BA-7060i fine dust and coarse dust purification equipment also attracted considerable attention at the event. A sweeper, concealed beneath its vertical cylindrical body, can filter out 99% of the coarse dust (with a diameter of greater than 100 micrometres), while its 600Pa strong suction can sweep dust from any corner of a room. The main air purifier can then filter 99% of the fine dust (with diameters between 0.1 and to 100 micrometres), the kind that can be directly inhaled into the pulmonary alveolus and cause a number of diseases. Its medical-grade filter and negative ion purification technology impressed many buyers at the show.
Similarly popular were many of the latest innovations on the Ningbo Bring Environmental Protection Technology stand. Its new air purifier uses bipolar electrostatic technology and – according to Fang Jiansheng, the company's Deputy R&D Manager – it can inhibit ozone generation while purifying the air, preventing secondary pollution.
Fang said that all of Bring's products already comply with the new air purifier national standards. Xu Beimin, the company's Marketing Director, also emphasised that that its air purifier can actually save consumers money as its bipolar electrostatic technology makes filter replacement redundant.
Moving more on to the global players and Xiamen Voke Health Technology is a Chinese/German/Hong Kong joint venture. According to Guo Yongfa, the company's Sales Manager, quality is its main selling point. He said the mainland operation relies heavily on the experience of its parent company, Xiamen Voke Mould & Plastic Engineering, which has been developing moulds for over two decades and exporting them to a number of leading carmakers, including BMW, Mercedes Benz and Rolls Royce.
For Guo, air purification equipment needs to have well-designed moulds, as these affect the performance, noise level and energy efficiency of the equipment. In line with this, Voke's products are made of industrial-grade materials that are both fire- and corrosion-resistant.
Innovative Breathing Masks
Looking at a different sector of the industry and breathing masks seem to be in line for something of an upgrade. PM2.5 masks (capable of filtering particles smaller than 2.5 micrometres) were selling well back in 2013. Despite this, they were generally seen as unattractive, uncomfortable and difficult to breathe through. Manufacturers have since made a number of improvements, with a wide variety of innovative masks on display at the event.
Taiwan Nano Filter Tech. for instance, was debuting its miniature nasal masks at the show. Compared with ordinary masks, which cover half of the user's face, the company's N70 and N91 filters can easily fit just into the nostrils.
According to Victor Lee, the company's Chief Executive, the factor that makes these masks special is their 100% airtight design, an innovation that is patent protected in Taiwan, on the mainland and in Japan. This vertical filter design is said to reduce breathing resistance by about 80%, far outperforming PM2.5 masks.
A market survey by the company showed that, typically, invisible nasal filters in the market have a filtration rate of less than 15%. By comparison, the Nano Filter Tech's N70 and N91 are said to have a filtration rate of 82.7% and 93.7% respectively.
In other mask-related innovations, Shenzhen Xinlezheng Environmental Technology (China) developed its Cleanaire (YST) air-feeding mask in order to counter the problems of breathing difficulties, leakage and secondary damage. According to Su Xionjun, the company's Marketing Director, the mask features a powered multi-protection system that can supply six cubic metres of fresh air per hour. Exhaled carbon dioxide is then diverted by the silicone in the mask and quickly discharged through six ventilation holes. The mask comes with a four-layer filter, which can filter 99.97% of particles with diameters of more than 0.3 micrometres.
Su was confident that, even when the PM2.5 value reaches 200 in Beijing, the PM value inside the mask is always kept below 10. Simulation tests showed that the PM2.5 value inside the mask stays under 40, even when the surrounding PM2.5 value is as high as 6,000.
Even when having to contend with the air quality in Beijing, the mask is said to be suitable for use for up to about a week. At the end of that period, all the user needs to do is to replace the filter, which only costs around Rmb3. Its built-in power supply can run continuously for four to six hours, with a recharge time of 1.5-2 hours.
Looking at products with more of a workplace application, Pan Kangcai, the Sales Director of GuangzhouBiofil Air Purification Material, said the unique transparent industrial safety masks made by his company are an aid to industrial safety management as they enable better communication. Its PM2.5 masks also lack the protruding breathing valves favoured in many more conventional designs.
As well as masks and air purifiers, this year's show saw a proliferation of odour control products. Notable among these were the eco-friendly building materials produced by Shanghai CIMIC Healthy Environment Technology, said to be capable of releasing negative ions. CIMIC's negative ion health system is an eco-friendly material installed on the ceiling or on walls.
The company claims it is the safest negative ion generator on the market and does not require any power source. According to Huang Lijun, the company's Deputy General Manager for Sales, its material can purify the air, improve health, kill bacteria, prevent fire and adjust humidity. It is said to have a lifespan as long as the building itself.
On the industrial side, Hangzhou Gomma Trade is the sole mainland agent for Canada's Ecolo Odour Control Technologies. According to Ma Feifei, Gomma's Managing Director, Ecolo products have wide applications in sewage treatment, refuse collection and chemical plants, largely thanks to their facility for dissolving harmful substances in the air.
Consumers can also make use of Ecolo's plant-based slow release gel, which releases gases that can dissolve odour, as well as harmful substances. They are said to be suitable for both home and car use and will not cause harm to children or pregnant women. The gel has more than 360 plant ingredients and purifies the air through decomposition and permutation, rather than just using scent to cover up any offending odour.
The 2015 Asia-Pacific (Guangzhou) Healthy Breathing Expo was held at the Poly World Trade Expo Center from the 30 May-1 June. More than 12,000 trade visitors attended the event, including buyers, doctors and consumers.
Xing Bin, Special Correspondent, Guangzhou