"Outdoor air quality is likely to deteriorate even more…"

Mr. Pradeep Randhawa
Managing Director
Mann+Hummel India
Good air quality is critical be it indoor or outdoor. The pharmaceutical industry is regularly exposed to dust, raw materials and other hazardous materials. All of these elements can leave contaminants in their wake and threaten the health and safety of staff and patients. But, there are also solutions to minimize the impact of these unwanted particles, as explained by Mr. Pradeep Randhawa, Managing Director - Mann+Hummel India , in this interview with PharmaBio World.

Could you give us a brief background of M+H?
Mann+Hummel is a leading global expert for filtration solutions. Established in 1941, the company is headquartered in Ludwigsburg, Germany, and develops solutions for automotive, industrial applications, clean air in metropolitan areas and buildings and interior spaces. In 2018 the group achieved sales of approximately 4B euros, with more than 20,000 employees in more than 80 locations around the world.

Who are the other major players in this sector apart from M+H ?
There are many MNCs who are part of this specialized field like Camfil, Pall, Cummins, IQ Air, Emerson, Honeywell, Philips, etc.

What are the typical impurities found in ambient air and which of those are highly detrimental to human health?
PM, TVOCs & CO2 are the major constituents of air impurities that are harmful.

Particulate matter (PM): Also known as fine dust, refers to the size of particles in units of μm. The risk for humans is eye, nose, and throat irritation, breathing difficulties, lung irritation, asthma, weakened immune system, increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
  • Human hair is around 70 μm, and can be caught in the nose.
  • PM10: Enters the upper lungs
  • PM2.5: Penetrates the lungs deeply and can enter the bloodstream
  • PM1: Enters the bloodstream
Total Volatile Organic Compounds(TVOCs): The risk for humans is irritation of the eyes and mucous membranes, damage to the liver and kidneys, allergic skin reactions, respiratory issues, probable carcinogen
  • VOC: organic chemicals emitted by solids or liquids, e.g. hydrocarbons, alcohols and organic acids.
  • Formaldehyde - a type of VOC used in building materials and many everyday products.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2): The World Health Organization recommends 1000 parts per million (ppm) as an acceptable limit, and healthy range is around 600 – 800 ppm. Elevated levels of CO2 affect cognitive ability, productivity and encourage mold and bacteria growth, which is harmful for respiratory health. Additionally, it can cause drowsiness and extreme amounts can cause even death.

Do you see the air quality deteriorating further in the coming years or will we see a decline in air pollution due to improved industrial processes, efficient commuting via electric vehicles, innovative transportation modes like drones, etc?
It is still early days for EVs and even more so for drones, not just in India, but globally. Air pollution is an outcome of what planners call a 'wicked problem', a highly complex issue linked inextricably with other economic and social drivers. Demand for EVs is growing, but still not enough to bring down the costs for the man on the street - who might be better served with mass transportation or other alternative last-mile options. Hence, air quality will likely deteriorate even more, before we see people demanding for better air outdoors, and controlling their quality of air indoors. Currently the level of awareness and corresponding action is still fairly low.

What are the industrial HVAC products provided by M+H?
'OurAir' by Mann+Hummel provide clean air solutions for indoor spaces that combine cutting-edge IOT technologies, world-leading filtration expertise ,engineering innovation and a deep commitment to the well-being of our customers.

Our solution comprise of 3 key components:
1. Air Quality Monitors: we have a range of professional grade, 3rd party accredited monitors which make accurate, real time data visible to the facilities managers and occupiers.
2. HVAC filters: a comprehensive range of HVAC filters which we recommend based on your air quality data, ensuring that filtration needs are right -sized and cost-effective.
3. Digital Platform: this feature meshes actual usage data, air quality data and filter performance data to provide notifications on filter change requirements and energy recommendations.

What is the USP of your products?
Our approach to better air is end-toend, data-driven, and optimised to the customer's needs. Solutions are seamless and integrated, resulting in a trusted clean air ecosystem. This is a differentiated offering from what is currently available in the market, where the products and services are standalone. Globally, 'OurAir' is the only one that provides a complete intelligent HVAC filtration solution, from knowing your air quality, improving it and finally being able to manage it.

What is the 'Know-Improve-Manage' approach?
Our 'Know-Improve-Manage' approach helps our customers make smarter choices for better air. A) Know: We have a range of professional grade air quality monitors, certified by a 3rd party in terms of data veracity, to help establish the level of airborne contaminants in your indoor space. The air quality monitors measure the top 5 most common parameters (PM2.5, PM10, CO2, TVOCs, Temp and Relative Humidity) and this information is displayed on the 'OurAir' App or Web Portal. B) Improve: We have a range of filtration solutions for industrial and commercial applications, and these are based on the intelligence and actionable insights derived from the air quality monitors. C) Manage: 'OurAir' digital platform enables you to manage the air quality across multiple sites and assets. The air quality data is presented in real time on the App and Web Portal, and provides guidance on selecting the best filters for your operating environment, so you can ensure the efficiency of your air delivery system and the safety of your building occupants.

The outcome that we want to achieve is that you can understand and take control of the air quality in your facility, ensuring the air quality required for sensitive manufacturing.

Which are the sectors that require stringent air quality control ?
For sensitive manufacturing processes, semiconductor, pharmaceutical industries require high standards of air quality; as well as hospitals and schools will have higher requirements.

Could you elaborate a bit more about the kind of solutions provided by M+H to the pharma/biotech industry?
We currently provide air filtration solutions to our clients in pharma /biotech; these include high performance filters like HEPA, ULPA filters, for tackling particle and chemical contamination. Cleanrooms are extensively used in a variety of industries especially in R & D and sensitive manufacturing like the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries. In order to maximise yield and protect the workforce in pharmaceutical and research facilities, HEPA & ULPA filters are used in cleanroom and containment rooms for supply, recirculation and exhaust air. Mann+Hummel's range of products for this area is second to none, including the industry renowned ULPA and HEPA filters. In the emerging industries of genetic research, nanotechnology and other pathogen free environments, these air filters continue to ensure that maximum protection and maximum yield can go hand-in-hand. Manufacturers of cleanair booths, benches and cabinets for the pharmaceutical industry and biological research industries know that their company's reputation is only as good as the ultra filters that they put into their equipment. A filter failure is, as far as their customers are concerned, a failed system. Because we produce dependable, tested, high efficiency air filters, our customers return time after time.

Who are your major global pharma/biotech clients?
GSK, Novartis, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Bayer.

Any Indian clients from the pharma/biotech sector?
We are currently building our presence in India and Asia.

Lately, the process automation sector is abuzz with digitization, AI, IoT, etc. What role does IoT play in your HVAC solutions?
IOT, in essence, connect things (i.e. smart things with sensing and actuating capabilities) to the internet, and enables these things to be controlled from anywhere, at any time. The power of IOT is that now the HVAC system, which connects AHUs to indoor spaces via ductwork, can be controlled to provide cool air, ventilation, and control the quality of the air based on the needs of the occupants in that space. Through IOT, we are able to know the indoor air quality, provide recommendation on the types of filtration required, and ultimately be able to provide filter management solutions and even new business models through data.

Our digital platform provide real-time data through our user-friendly dashboard and domain specific visualization for asset management purposes. Our APIs supports integration to end-to-end security for sensor data and device management. It pushes out alerts and actionable insights through the data collected, and provides recommendations through our patented eco16 program, where it finds a sweet spot where the filtration system is supply a safe level of air quality but at the lowest possible energy demand.

How significant are sensors in IoT especially with reference to your intelligent solutions?
Sensing needs are the basis of IOT, as these are the data-collection end nodes that send information about the 'thing' it is sensing and reporting on , the behavior of the person operating this 'thing', i.e. usage data and trends, as well as the larger environment or context which it exists in. In our case, the sensors will detect the air quality in terms of key parameters e.g. temperature, relative humidity, particulate matter and carbon dioxide. It can also report on its own health, so you would know if there is power going to the sensor, or if the sensor requires a recalibration.

Our professional grade and award-winning air quality sensors comes with industrial protocols and backhaul WAN technologies. Our air quality sensors and the data provided are certified by a wellregarded certification system 'RESET', the only one globally that provides certification of devices and real-time data, providing the assurance that the air quality is indeed better in operations, and not just at design and construction stage.

How long has M+H been in India?
Mann+Hummel India, a 100% subsidiary of Mann+Hummel GmbH started production of filtration components in India in 2006. Today, we supply products to the OEMs in the automotive (cars, trucks) and industrial sectors (compressors), apart from the construction industry.

Does the company have any manufacturing/R & D facilities in India?
The India corporate headquarters is located in Bangalore. The company has two manufacturing units in India - one in Tumkur, Karnataka and the other in Bawal, Haryana.

What are the areas of research being pursued at the India centre/ German centre?
We are interested in areas that are related to air pollution in general, both indoor and outdoor. A recent development is the fine dust eater, which brings the concept of IOT-enabled filtration solution to outdoors, to tackle traffic-related air pollution.