Q&A with Dr Jörg Sievert, COO, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies
The keynote speaker for the Filtration Seminar taking place during INDEX™20 will be Dr. Jörg Sievert, COO of Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, who will give us the benefit of his considerable market knowledge and experience.
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies claimed the first EDANA FILTREX Innovation Award for its micronAir blue multi-layered filter media at the FILTREX™ 2017 conference, held alongside the last INDEX™ show in Geneva.
Adrian Wilson caught up with Dr. Sievert to ask him a few questions about the subject of his keynote, and to highlight some of the issues facing nonwovens in Filtration applications.
AW: Please can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and your work at Freudenberg?
J.S: I am a graduate Chemical Engineer from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, and have worked in various positions within the filtration industry for more than 25 years. I am currently COO of Freudenberg Filtration Technologies, which is a German-based company and has been active in filtration for more than 50 years. I have global responsibility for operations and innovation, in addition to some business responsibilities in several countries of the world including China, India and Australia.
AW: The title of your keynote speech at the INDEX™20 Filtration Sector Seminar on Wednesday April 1, is “Chances for Nonwovens facing the future demands in the Filtration Industry – What needs to be done and what are the challenges?” That sounds intriguing – without giving too much away, are there some key issues the industry is facing?
JS: The global filtration industry has an annual value of of around €55-65 billion, and will grow at about 6% over the next few years. There are many applications and technologies where nonwovens are being used, but filtration is a highly fragmented niche within the nonwovens industry, with many specialities and fairly demanding requirements. In my presentation I will discuss the challenges those nonwovens producers focusing on filtration media are facing as a result of some megatrends, such as air pollution, sustainability, aging society and new mobility.
AW: What would you say have been the key trends in the filter industry generally?
JS: One of the key trends over the past few years has been the increasing importance of nonwoven filter media made of organic synthetic fibres, i.e. polymer fibres. While in many cases filter media were traditionally made of glass fibres there has been a clear trend towards polymeric nonwovens which have several technological advantages. Another trend is the use of increasingly finer fibres to collect very small particles in the range of a few nanometres. This has been driven by the growing demand from consumers as well as regulators to create a cleaner environment, i.e. cleaner air and cleaner water.
A third trend which is worth noting is the demand for materials that not only collect particulate matter, but also gases or odours which could be harmful. Many filter media are available today which are able to collect both particles as well as various types of gases and hence to improve the quality of indoor as well as outside air.
AW: How have manufacturers of nonwoven filter media responded to them?
JS: Many nonwoven manufacturers have investing in new technologies, such as meltblown, spunbond or nanofibre technologies, among others. While in the past some filter media producers were only able to manufacture nonwovens made of glass fibres, today nearly every filter media producer also offers a broad range of nonwovens made of polymer fibres. As a result of the increasing demand for polymeric filter media many new filter media producers have emerged, specifically in Asia. The same also applies for nonwovens producers offering filter media with activated carbon to adsorb harmful gases.
AW: Thank-you very much for your valuable insight, Dr. Sievert. We look forward to hearing the full discussion of the challenges facing the industry, during your presentation at the free Filtration Seminar during INDEX™20, taking place at 2pm on Wednesday 1st April.
At INDEX™20 over 270 exhibiting companies will present solutions for air and liquid filtration. For the first time at the event, the INDEX™ Innovation Lab will feature examples of nonwovens used for both durable and personal care applications, including those used in the Filtration and Food and Beverage industries, and will demonstrate the sheer diversity of these infinitely versatile materials.