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Cabin Air 2018

By:   |   08.20.18

Did you know? A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause contaminants inside the vehicle to become so concentrated that passengers actually breathe in more fumes and particles when riding in the car compared to walking down the street. In fact, levels of some pollutants and toxic compounds can be as much as 10 times higher inside vehicles than alongside the road.

Pollen, mold spores, dust and exhaust gases are just some of the pollutants that can travel through a vehicle’s ventilation system and into its cabin — a problem that can be especially severe during the hot summer months. 

These microscopic particles can lead to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses. For example, exposure to diesel exhaust exacerbates asthma, a problem that affects more than six million children and 18+ million adults nationwide.

Unfiltered airborne pollutants also can cause the interior of a vehicle to become dusty and dirty. 

Although not all vehicles have cabin air filters, most manufactured today do. The right cabin air filter can:

  • Remove irritating respirable particles like pollen, mold spores, dust and exhaust gases before they reach the breathing air inside the vehicle. 
  • Reduce dust accumulation to keep the vehicle’s interior cleaner.
  • Reduce strain on heating and air-conditioning equipment to keep them running at peak performance.

The Cabin Air Filtration Market

According to business intelligence firm Smithers Apex, the automotive market for nonwovens-based filtration (reflecting both air and liquid filtration) is still growing slowly in some regions. Air/gas filter media is growing more slowly than liquid, with nearly $204 million in engine and cabin air-related sales in 2017 and a predicted $226+ million by 2019.

The current global installation rate for cabin air filters is 85%, according to Smithers Apex, which notes that despite slow growth in Europe, the installation rate continues to grow and the overall vehicle markets in North America and Asia continue to recover. Cabin air filters are projected to consume 1.6 billion square meters of nonwoven filter media, valued at $226.6 million, by 2019. 

Many consumers don’t even know if they have a cabin air filter in their vehicle, according to the Car Care Council, and most others aren’t aware of the health benefits of changing it regularly. This lack of awareness can be addressed by active promotion of the benefits of cabin air filters by the entire filter industry, and even beyond.

By featuring the advantages of cabin air filters, including cabin air health and comfort benefits, auto manufacturers can differentiate vehicle models. “Quick-lube” service companies and other aftermarket retailers may also take advantage of the market opportunity available through cabin air filter maintenance and replacement schedules. Auto dealers may be able to increase brand loyalty by pulling car buyers back into dealerships for annual cabin air filter changes. 

Cabin Air Filter Technology 

As with filters for Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) systems within commercial and institutional buildings, the filter media inside cabin air filters plays a crucial role in achieving good air quality inside vehicles.  Because not all cabin air filters are created equal, filter manufacturers and their automotive OEM customers should look for the following features when selecting a filter media for cabin air filter applications:

  • Electrostatically treated synthetic media for high filtration efficiency. 95% capture efficiency for particles 3 microns or greater is ideal, according to the Filter Manufacturers Council of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association.
  • Low pressure drop.
  • High dust-holding capacity.
  • Durability for long life.
  • Moisture resistance so that microbial growth is not supported.
  • Thermally bonded continuous fibers to prevent fiber shedding.
  • No binders that might off-gas.

Visit our web site to learn more about INTREPID* filter media for cabin air filter applications.

 

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A further suggestion is that attention be paid to documenting the amount of ventilation air actually delivered to the building occupants, as VAV boxes serving conference rooms are typically causing ventilation deficiencies.
By: David Bearg