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Privately held company
IndustryWater treatment
Founded1964 (1964) in Essex, United Kingdom
FounderPeter Muetzel[1]
Area served
Key people
Ernie McDonald (Global Director)[2]
ParentPlatform Specialty Products Corporation

Fernox is a British multi-national water treatment manufacturer[3] with its operating headquarters in Woking, United Kingdom. The company has been manufacturing facilities across UK and Europe and offices in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Hungary, China and the United States, with plans to expand further into Eastern Europe and Asia. Fernox was established in 1964 by Peter Muetzel, and currently operates as a subsidiary of Alpha-Fry, Ltd., which is in turn a subsidiary of Platform Specialty Products Corporation.[2]


Founded in 1964 by Peter Muetzel, a German Chemist who settled in Britain, Fernox (short for Ferrous – non – Oxidus, the Latin name for the process of iron corrosion) was the world's first water treatment company, formed in response to the growing number of 'wet' central heating systems installed in UK homes and work places. At this time Fernox supplied goods direct to customers, often in small amounts, relying on word of mouth to grow its fledgling business.

During this early period in the 1960s Fernox introduced three products, the GB-2, the world's first Benzoate Nitrate based inhibitor, developed for use by British Gas. The successful C11 and D33 products were launched shortly afterwards. These powder form inhibitors reduced costs for exports, making it safer and easier to store as well as increasing product shelf life, especially when compared with other contemporary inhibitors.


In the 1970s, the company introduced products such as MB-1, DS-9 and Floc. As well as its increasing reputation and market presence, this led to Fernox being promoted through large merchants, rather than selling directly to the public. In this decade Fernox also made its first forays into other products such as leak sealers, cleaners, anti-freezes and industrial specific products, with its burgeoning R&D department providing new and improved formulations that fuelled Fernox proliferation in the UK market. This period of growth culminated in the moving of the company's production site to a new, larger facility in Clavering, Essex.


In the 1980s, the company released the world's first flushing machine for the domestic market named SQUID, the first domestic disinfection agent named and Sterox. Water Testing Services were formalized for the first time, and new, improved, environmentally safer formulations were introduced for MB-1, DS-9 (which later became DS40) and Floc (which became Superfloc).

A Harrier GR7A of 800 Naval Air Sqn, Royal Navy

In 1982, as a sub-contractor, the company introduced an inhibitor for Airworthy Zok 27, a jet engine cleaner adopted by the Royal Air Force and used extensively on Harrier Jump Jets in the Falklands conflict, helping to maintain operational efficiency in the adverse weather conditions. After its initial success with the RAF it became commonly used by many civilian and military aviation organisations worldwide. 1986 marked the passing of Fernox's founder, Peter Muetzel, after he suffered a stroke in his office. Fernox also released CP-3 & CH-3 inhibitors for copper tube pipes, and Copal for aluminium boilers, both of which were beginning to become widely used in central heating systems at this time. Fernox also purchased Lauritzen industrial water treatment as part of its expansion into the commercial sector.


In the 1990s Fernox was regarded as the UK market leader. The company refined existing products, such as the nitrate-free formulation for MB-1, and creating yet more world firsts, examples include the introduction of superconcentrate protectors, cleaners, leak sealers and noise silencers, which replaced the now outdated powdered form products. During this period Fernox set up its technical analytical testing and servicing division to support installers and contractors out in the field.

It is also during the 1990s that Fernox began to establish itself as a global brand, with product launches in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Fernox also moved its head office from Clavering, to a new, larger site in Woking, where it remains to date.


In 2002, Fernox was one of the three founding members of the Domestic Water Treatment Association (DWTA), which sets chemical treatment quality approval standards and a code of practice within the water treatment industry, in order to safeguard industry standards and boost consumer confidence.[4]

During this decade, Fernox also opened its new R&D facilities in both the UK and India, and continued to improve its existing product portfolio by releasing environmentally friendly Phosphate free formulations and the new Express aerosol version of the popular ‘F ‘range, which is designed to be dosed into systems in 30 seconds for quick and easy use on-site. Fernox also becomes preferred European and Worldwide supplier to Wolseley plc, Vaillant and BDR Thermea.


In the 2010s, Fernox launched its popular range of in-line system filters, starting with the award-winning TF1 Total Filter, followed by the TF1 Compact filter, both of which are designed to remove system debris through hydrocyclonic and magnetic filtration.[5] Fernox has also recently introduced the Filter Fluid+ Protector, a simple and innovative approach to removing sludge and debris from radiators.[1][6]

Acquisition by Platform Specialty Products Corporation[edit]

On 3 December 2015, Alent PLC was acquired by Platform Specialty Products Corporation, a public specialty chemicals company. The corporation also announced a new division named MacDermid Performance Solutions, combining the original MacDermid operations of the corporation with businesses from Alent (Fernox) and OMG, and merged the experience, resources and sales strategies of each company.[7][8] MacDermid Performance Solutions a hi-tech specialty chemicals producer. It also provides technical services to original equipment manufacturers.[9]

Key innovations[edit]

Fernox has been first to develop and market with many important products and services in the water chemical treatment industry, some of the most notable being the first benzoate nitrate based inhibitors, powdered form inhibitors, superconcentrate chemicals, water test kits postal service, domestic flushing machines, formation of the DWTA. The company is the only water treatment company to have an in-house Research and Development departments.

In 2012, Fernox launched the Heating System Size Calculator app for use on Android, iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry devices. The app calculates the size of a central heating system and recommends the correct chemical water treatment products and the dosage level required to extend the life of the boiler and system.[10]

Awards and recognition[edit]

The company's products have received accreditation from industry OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) for their use during the installation of new central heating systems, or to maintain and protect existing systems. Stelrad specify the use of Fernox chemicals, such as the Protector F1, Cleaner F3/F5 and Energy Saver F6 to be used after installation of radiators to protect and extend system efficiency. BDR Thermea that includes brands such as Baxi, Main and Potterton, recommend a large variety of Fernox products, including Powerflushing machines, Total Filter TF1's, Express and 500ml chemicals as well as various test kits to be used in tandem with their boilers. Other OEMs that recommend Fernox include; Honeywell, SIME, NTI, Nefit, ACV, Worcester Bosch, Ideal Boilers, Vaillant and Rotec.

The company has been awarded with the following awards:

  • Corgi Installers' Mate of the Year (2010)
  • Phoenix Gas Award (2012)
  • H&V Award for Domestic product of the year (Energy Saver F6) (2012)
  • H&V News Award Training Initiative (2012)


  1. ^ a b "Calvin Pope joins Fernox". Builders' and Merchant News. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Fernox celebrates 50 years with a big £50k anniversary prize". ExpoClima. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  3. ^ Hart, Joanne (1 June 2013). "MIDAS SHARE TIPS: Vanished stalwart Cookson has been split - but hi-tech half Alent is back and set to boom". DMG Media. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Domestic Water Treatment Association". Kamco. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. ^ "Water Treatment & Waste Management". Heating & Plumbing Monthly: 39–41. January 2015.
  6. ^ "Norbert Dentressangle's one stop solution for Fernox". Materials Handling World Magazine. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  7. ^ "iconnect007 :: Article". pcb.iconnect007.com. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  8. ^ "BRIEF-Platform Specialty Products to buy UK's Alent". Reuters. 2015-07-13. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  9. ^ "Platform closes Alent acquisition for $2.3bn". Chemicals Technology. Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  10. ^ "Fernox launches new app for installers". The Construction Index. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 13 January 2015.

External links[edit]