Issue: Sep 2006


New air filtration system technologies offer cost saving benefits and enhanced plant image



Automotive Industries spoke to Bertil Brahm, President of Clean Air America, Inc, and asked him about his company’s future plans

by Rob White

The Georgia, US-based Clean Air America Inc, makes filtration systems for a range of industries including automotive manufacturers. The company prides itself on providing end-to-end solutions including initial on-site visits to assess what the customer needs. Typically, the company then goes on to provide latest dust-collection and air-filtration equipment.

Clean Air America’s focus is to provide streamlined, modular solutions instead of the regular, huge, roof-mounted equipment that requires large duct-work. Instead, the company concentrates on placing the filtration equipment at the source of emissions. The company uses its patented True Down Flow technology which it says offers greater energy savings, fewer filter replacements, longer filter life, less filter cleaning and less plant maintenance.

The company uses the latest 3-D CAD software to design, pre-engineer and engineer projects, which helps to cut down lead times. Clean Air America prides itself on its staff who bring decades of experience to the business. An article in Welding Design says, “…in some of the company's installed systems, initial equipment and installation savings amount to as much as 50% as compared to traditional air filtration. Clean Air's systems efficiently move less air volume through point-of-source capture concepts using small, less-energy-consuming motors. Because the systems filter and return air to a plant, they reduce expenses associated with make-up air.”

One of Clean Air America’s clients is a Japanese company that supplies Honda and Nissan with engine cradle/sub-frame components from their US production hub. The Clean Air website says that this client has almost 100 welding robots that use almost 40,000 lbs of welding wire a month. The customer wanted a crystal clean plant as a state of the art operation should be and after investing in a Clean Air America solution, they saved hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in heating and cooling cost compared to the traditional exhaust system they had earlier. Clean Air America, Inc. installed the first systems 3 years ago and this company is now both ISO 14001 and TS 16049 certified. The company is now the benchmark for all Honda suppliers in regards to filtration systems.

Another Clean Air America customer is a German company that supplies Mercedes and BMW with engine cradle/sub-frame components. They have approximately 70 welding robots that use almost 80,000 lbs of welding wire a month. This company had on several other locations installed very large systems on the roof with very large ducting, but after seeing what Clean Air America had done with some customers that changed their “spec” and as a result the plant saved $300,000.00 versus the old “spec”. The plant and all equipment is painted white to give a very clean and organized feel. Invested in several systems that totaled almost 200,000 cfm. The operation is a 3-shift 5-6 day operation, encompassing 153,000 sq. ft.

Automotive Industries spoke to Bertil Brahm, President of Clean Air America, Inc, and asked him about his company’s future plans.

AI: What are some of the benefits for automotive companies in having good filtration systems?

BB: In addition to the tremendous all round cost saving benefits, a clean manufacturing environment is very beneficial to the production process and to quality control. Plant image is very important to our customers and their clients, especially during plant inspections, where it could mean either losing or gaining a contract.

AI: How successful has Clean Air been in convincing automotive manufacturers to use advanced filtration systems? How do you go about selling your technology to them?

BB: A few years ago (with a few exceptions) installing an air filtration system was definitely an afterthought and not where management would typically look for an ROI.
All of this is changing as newer and better air filtration technology becomes available and performance and cost savings can be measured better than ever before. These changes are usually driven from the top.
Most of our systems installations are turn-key, we undertake the complete system design, engineering and installation.

AI: What are some of the new filtration technologies being designed by Clean Air America?

BB: The design team has created innovative designs for customized solutions for our clients since 1993. We begin with concept generation and continue through the finished project. Design efforts continue to focus on systems that lower plant running and maintenance costs, using more sophisticated controls systems to continuously lower energy and maintenance costs and optimize functionality.

AI: How much do you think the U.S. market will grow by over the next few years?

BB: The niche market that we are in is definitely growing. The amount of that growth will depend on the state of the auto industry during the next few years. However, Clean Air America will continue to build on today’s success, which is our specialized turn-key projects for the auto industry.

AI: How does Clean Air America plan to increase your share of the market?

BB: The great majority of our clients operate plants all over the Globe and they sometimes ask for our involvement in other markets, where we provide project management and engineering services. Primarily, outside of the U.S., Mexico is looking good for us. We are also looking at some very interesting overseas projects
for 2007.


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