“ALNI’s filtration customer gained $1,000,000 worth of new business with the opportunity to grow to $2,000,000.”

Case Study 1

The HVAC market sells filters because they are high margin add on sales. They utilize collapsible filters because they can carry 3 to 4 times more filters on their repair vans than carrying noncollapsible filters. This reduces the cost by reducing the number of times a repair van needs to restock.

A fortune 500 company buys collapsible filters and resells them to the HVAC market. The company has two streams of revenue. Direct sales to the HVAC market at low margins, and replacement sales sold directly to the consumer at high margins. The bulk of the net income is generated by the replacement sales.

The issue

The current filter is patented and the manufacturer’s name, phone number, and reorder information is printed on the filter. Consumers are calling the manufacturer directly for replacement orders, and bypassing the fortune 500 company. The fortune 500 company’s revenue off replacement sales has been substantially reduced.

Objective

Develop an alternative that meets or exceeds the current filter, and does not infringe upon the patent.

Solution

A filter manufacturer decides to develop an alternative collapsible filter. The frame and filter media are relatively easy to replace. The difficulty is replacing the strips that give the filter strength and support when opened, and are flexible enough to allow the filter to collapse during transport. At this point, the filter manufacturer contacted ALNI. Our job was to develop the replacement strips. The patented process sonically welds strips of filter media. It’s clean, effective, and automated. ALNI had to change the material, binding process, and improve manufacturing efficiencies. The first step was to understand the filter manufacturer’s current production process. Working with the customer, it was determined that the strips should be applied during the pleating process. There is a 2 second lag between pleats which would allow for a bonding agent to set-up. The next step was to determine how to automate the process. Part of automating the process was developing a strip that could be transported and handled in an efficient manner. After reviewing many options, we decided that the strips needed to deliver in large 3/4″ rolls, and the bonding agent needed to be heat activated. The next step was to develop the strip. After testing many materials and glue combinations, ALNI developed a light weight, high strength nonwoven coated with a heat activated glue which delivered the performance the customer required. The final step was pass a set of environmental tests designed to introduce more stress than a filter should see in its lifetime.

Results

The completed filter was approved by the fortune 500 company. ALNI’S filtration customer gained $1,000,000 worth of new business with the opportunity to grow to $2,000,000. The fortune 500 company has seen monthly increases in their high margin replacement business.