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4 Questions to Ask Your Filter Media Supplier

4 Questions to Ask Your Filter Media Supplier

By: Robert Martin, Kimberly-Clark Professional Filtration  |   09.20.16

Selecting the right filtration media for your next HVAC air filter project requires careful attention to the media’s filtration performance and energy efficiency. The media should have the ability to capture the submicron particles that can cause health problems, and it should do so without a high airflow resistance, which can cause high HVAC energy usage. Media specifiers also need a good understanding of the filter’s true lifecycle costs as well as how to choose a media optimized for their manufacturing process.

But there’s much more to selecting a filtration media than the media itself. You also need to consider what it’s like to work with the media supplier. To help ensure a mutually beneficial business partnership, be sure to ask the following questions of each supplier you evaluate. 

  1. What is your supply capacity? Supply capacity is a critical baseline requirement for being a dependable supplier and ensuring that you aren’t faced with costly disruptions in production. Your media supplier must be able to meet your demands, especially if you provide a forecast, regardless of any surges in demand from other customers. Be sure to ask about how much inventory the media supplier has on-hand and how much is available for you to purchase.
  2. What is your delivery lead time? If your supplier lacks adequate capacity, you may end up waiting as they service back orders, especially if you order custom-sized rolls that take longer to produce. This can force you to hold more safety inventory than is necessary, or even lead to a disruption in production. Ask your supplier where the media is being manufactured and be sure to factor in the distance from the supplier’s mill to your factory. Lead times can fluctuate, and you and your supplier should agree on a reasonable margin for fluctuation.
  3. What quality control processes do you have in place? You need to be confident that the media you buy performs as expected each time you order it. Ask about your supplier’s product screening processes — what they measure and how much variability in specifications they tolerate in basis weight, thickness, air permeability and TSI efficiency. Requesting a certificate of analysis on the production lot your order comes from will show you proof that your order is on spec and ready to perform.
  4. What additional support do you offer? Whether it’s helping you optimize your manufacturing to reduce waste and costs, providing technical and market insights for your reps and customers, or helping you select the right filter media for your product, your supplier should offer more than just a product. Good customer service can make or break a relationship, so be sure to select a supplier that’s easy to work with and provides rapid response to your inquiries.

Asking these questions of your suppliers will help to ensure an enduring and collaborative relationship. We invite you to start the conversation with Kimberly-Clark Professional Filtration.

 

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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