MANN+HUMMEL have played a significant role in the project to create the new ISO 16890 standard, which came into effect on 1 July 2018. The project started in December 2009, and its aim, with the agreement of the technical committees, was to draw up a global standard on testing and classifying air filters. A team of MANN+HUMMEL technicians has been working on the project from the very beginning.
With the now implemented standard, ISO 16890, we will better be able to supply air filters, that deliver exactly the required air quality inside buildings. And the standard has not exactly been easy to implement: Firstly we needed to better describe the existing quality of the outside air, and secondly the target level of indoor air quality we wanted to achieve. Up to the time of the introduction of the ISO 16890 standard, the classification of the efficiency levels of air filters has been suboptimal, because neither the filtration class nor the energy class actually needed had been accurately defined. It is also important to take into consideration the difference in air quality between rural areas and large cities, as well as the fact that our needs will vary according to the time of year. In winter times, air pollution is high as a result of very fine particles, whereas in summer the particles in the air are larger, so a different type of filter needs to be used. Until recently the end user had little chance of determining what was needed when and where.
A long but successful journey
The implementation of the standard has been quite a project for MANN+HUMMEL. We created new product-testing facilities, and we now have two approved test benches whose results have the same validity as any of the four European laboratories officially approved for ISO 16890 product testing. The process behind this result is a “blind test round” in which we collaborate with other laboratories. We supply these a series of samples and, in return, other manufacturers send us theirs. We test samples of our products as well as those of competitors and external laboratories, and the results are then compared.
MANN+HUMMEL is one of only few companies on the market to be part of the technical committee behind the ISO 16890 standard, and we have been involved in the creation of this standard from the outset. We have internal measuring and testing equipment, as well as partnerships with external laboratories, to carry out the relevant product testing and certification. As part of the implementation, we have completely renamed our product range.
Air quality is quality of life
Our commitment to the project did not end with the approval of the standard: We are still working to improve air quality, and are developing monitoring systems that will allow us to link the concepts of filtration and energy classification.
However, there is another important aspect in addition to the technical side. Our task is now to introduce the standard to everyone and educate the market. People are starting to realize that the air we breathe needs to be improved, but we still have to make them aware of the fact that the air inside our homes and offices can be much worse – and more polluted – than what we breathe out on the street. This is an issue of public health, and our challenge now is to overcome this challenge.