First in Air Quality
|Founded||1963 in Germany
1978 (as Incen AG)
|Frank Hammes (President)
Air quality instruments
Incen AG, commonly known as IQAir, is a Swiss-based company that specializes in technology solutions that help protect people from airborne pollutants. IQAir implements this technology in residential, commercial and public buildings. IQAir has received numerous awards and recognitions for its room air purifiers and air filters. IQAir also engages in international projects that create ultra-clean living and working environments. IQAir's vision is to "assist people in living longer, healthier and more productive lives by helping them breathe the cleanest, healthiest air possible."
The company’s history goes back to 1963, when German brothers Manfred and Klaus Hammes introduced an air filter system for residential coal ovens in Germany. The product was initially sold to help reduce the black dust build-up on the walls behind ovens. Soon though, Manfred Hammes, a lifelong asthma sufferer, noticed that the filter reduced his flare-ups during the winter months.
Klaus Hammes continued through the 1960s and ’70s to adapt the air filter for other heating systems such as radiators, baseboard heating and forced-air heating and cooling systems. In 1982, Klaus Hammes relocated the company headquarters to Switzerland, from which the company continued to expand.
In the early ’90s, Frank Hammes, Klaus' oldest son, joined the family business. After promoting an after-market cabin air filter the company had developed for Mercedes-Benz automobiles, Frank Hammes turned his attention to portable room air cleaners. Dissatisfied with existing products, he set out to build a line of portable air purifiers with medical grade air cleaning performance. Frank Hammes and a small team of Swiss and German engineers worked for four years on the project. In the spring of 1998, IQAir shipped its first HealthPro air purifier from its Swiss factory. IQAir air purifiers were initially available only in Europe and Asia, but became available in the United States in 2000. In 2001, Klaus Hammes' second son, Jens Hammes, joined the business and helped the expansion of IQAir in Asia and the Middle East.
IQAir currently has products that fall into four product categories:
1. Portable room air purifiers
First introduced in 1998, the modular design of its portable room air purifiers allowed IQAir to create different models with optimized air filtration technology for the removal of specific groups of air pollutants. One of IQAir’s most popular models is the IQAir HealthPro Plus (HealthPro 250 outside North America), which uses three separate filter stages that are arranged in a modular tower design. In August 2012, the company announced a major overhaul of its portable room air purifiers with the designation "New Edition" or "NE." The new air cleaners have improved airflow, filter life and reduced sound levels.
2. Large commercial air cleaning systems
In July 2013, IQAir introduced on its website two new commercial air cleaning systems: the CleanZone SL and CleanZone 5000. These two systems are intended for larger commercial spaces such as open plan offices, hospitals and classrooms. The CleanZone SL is a slim, wall-mounted air cleaning system for particularly noise-sensitive indoor environments. The CleanZone 5000 is a large, mobile air cleaning system that is available in various configurations to address specific groups of particulate and gaseous air pollutants.
3. HVAC-based air cleaning systems
In 2006, IQAir introduced its first air cleaning system to work in conjunction with ducted forced-air heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The Perfect 16 derives its name from being the first independently tested residential and commercial air cleaning system for HVAC systems to achieve the highest minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV 16) under the ASHRAE 52.2 test format. Other characteristics of the system include very low pressure drop and a filter life of up to 3 years.
4. Handheld laser particle counters
In 2000, IQAir introduced a line of hand-held optical particle counters.
IQAir develops and manufactures all of its products at the IQAir Technology Center in Switzerland.
IQAir’s portable air purifiers have been recognized for best-in-class performance and have received a number of awards:
- Stiftung Warentest (Germany) "Best Air Purifier" 1998
- Apartment Therapy (USA) "Best Product" 2008
- Finnish Institute of Occupational Health (Finland) "Best Air Purifier" 2012
- Consumers Digest (USA) "Best Buy" Award 2004, 2007, 2011, 2014
- Reviewboard Magazine (USA) "Best Buy" 2012
- Parent Tested/Parent Approved (USA) "Award Winning Product" 2013
- ConsumerSearch (USA) "Best Overall Air Purifier" Award 2011, 2013
IQAir offers a variety of services for residential, commercial and institutional customers:
- On-site air quality evaluations
- Installation services for its air cleaning products
- Air cleaning verification and monitoring
- Filter replacement and on-site maintenance
IQAir has Swiss- and California-based installation teams that carry out large air cleaning projects throughout the world. IQAir calls this operation "Clean Air Team." For example, during the Beijing Olympics, an IQAir Clean Air Team carried out air-filtration installations for the U.S. Olympic Committee in U.S. athletes’ living and training quarters.
IQAir has headquarters in Switzerland and California. Product development and manufacturing is based at the IQAir Technology Center in Goldach, Switzerland. Field support and installation teams in Switzerland and the U.S. support large commercial customers throughout the world. The IQAir Science and Technology Team supports academic researchers from around the world in health and environmental intervention studies.
Frank Hammes is the CEO of IQAir AG.
Glory Dolphin-Hammes is the CEO of IQAir North America, Inc.
Jens Hammes is CEO of Incen AG, which handles international sales in Asia, Europe, Africa and Australia.
IQAir products are used in hospitals around the world for infection control. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority selected IQAir portable air purifiers to help against the spread of SARS. A study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection reported that an IQAir Cleanroom H13 air purifier reduced Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) contamination in hospital isolation rooms. The researchers concluded: "This portable HEPA-filtration unit can significantly reduce MRSA environmental contamination within patient isolation rooms, and this may prove to be a useful addition to existing MRSA infection control measures." Another study conducted at Singapore General Hospital and published in the American Journal of Infection Control in 2010 found that the use of IQAir portable air purifiers with HyperHEPA filtration reduced the spread of invasive aspergillosis (IA) by 50%. The researchers concluded: "The cost of widespread portable HEPA filtration in hospitals will be more than offset by the decreases in nosocomial infections in general and in IA in particular."
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
In 2004, IQAir was asked by the producers of the American reality TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (EMHE) to assist with its technology to help the show’s designers to create ultra-clean air homes. As of December 2012, IQAir had participated in 12 episodes to create ultra-clean air homes for families with special health issues.
The episodes in which IQAir participated include:
- The Grinnan Family – Season 2, Episode 4, Redlands, California: A young girl (Hanna) who received a heart transplant needed a healthy home that protects her from germs, viruses and mold spores. IQAir installed HEPA air cleaners throughout the house and Hanna’s bedroom.
- Broadbent Family – Season 2, Episode 10, North Las Vegas, Nevada: A single mom raising three HIV-positive, adopted children was given a new home. IQAir installed air filtration systems to work in conjunction with the new home’s HVAC systems to deliver ultra-clean air to the family’s entire home.
- The Sears Family – Season 2, Episode 13, Martinez, California: Teenager Jhyrve Sears was diagnosed with Krabbe Disease and needed a home to protect her from bacteria, viruses and allergens before her doctors would let her go home. The IQAir Clean Air Team installed an air quality sensor and HyperHEPA filtration.
- The Lewis Family – Season 3, Episode 8, El Segundo, California: Paulita Lewis was recovering from cancer and was told she needed the healthiest home possible. IQAir to helps the EMHE team make the home as healthy as possible by installing a ducted air filtration system.
- The Kubena Family – Season 3, Episode 18, East Bernard, Texas: The Kubena family’s daughter Tara suffered from leukemia and had received a bone marrow transplant. The doctors wouldn’t allow her to leave the hospital until she had a safe, healthy home. Two IQAir hospital-grade air cleaning systems were brought in by crane to provide clean air throughout the home.
- The Thibodeau Family – Season 4, Episode 7, Brookings County, South Dakota: A 12-year-old girl born with a hole in her heart had experienced kidney failure and collapsed lungs. Her doctors said only an environment as free as possible of bacteria, viruses and mold spores would be safe for her to live in. IQAir installed two HVAC-based air purification systems in the home.
- The Stockdale Family – Season 5, Episode 9, Middleton, Idaho: A family struggling to raise four children with eosinophilic enteropathy, a rare genetic disorder that made the children extremely environmentally sensitive, were given a new healthy home with three IQAir Perfect 16 HVAC air cleaning systems.
- The Yazzie Family– Season 5, Episode 5, Pinon, Arizona: A Navajo family was struggling to provide a safe home for a young daughter, Gwendolyn, with severe asthma. IQAir stepped in to provide a green air purification solution.
- The Vitale Family – Season 5, Episode 9, Athens, Vermont: Born with multiple birth defects, aspiring artist Louis Angelo Vitale, Jr., was confined to a wheelchair and breathing from a ventilator. His delicate respiratory system was especially sensitive to mold and other pollutants. IQAir’s Perfect 16 gave him clean, medical-grade air in every room at home.
- The Woodhouse Family– Season 5, Episode 13, Colorado Springs, Colorado: Kayla Woodhouse, a girl with a rare neurological disorder, allergies and an inability to regulate her body temperature needed a healthy and safe home. The IQAir Clean Air Team supported Extreme Makeover’s designers with the installation of HVAC system that provided a clean and temperature-controlled house.
- The Dickinson Family – Season 8, Episode 21, Beaufort, Georgia: India Dickinson’s baby Sophia, was a little girl with breathing problems and a sensitivity to mold. Working with the Extreme Makeover team, IQAir installed a Perfect 16 whole-house air cleaning system in the Dickinson family’s new home.
- The Harris Family – Season 9, Episode 20, Wilson County, Texas: A veteran returning from Iraq and recovering from severe burns needed clean air at home to continue recovering and protect his sensitive skin from pollutants. IQAir worked with Extreme Makeover to provide medical-grade air filtration and air-quality monitoring equipment to help the veteran’s recovery in a new home.
Air purification for Team USA
IQAir provided air purification to Team USA during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. The U.S. Olympic Committee was concerned about the impact of local air pollution on athlete performance, and asked IQAir to provide air cleaning to U.S. athletes living quarters in the Olympic Village and at the main training facility in China. IQAir also provided air purification to the USA Cycling team headquarters during the Olympics.
Air purification at the Los Angeles Zoo
The IQAir Clean Air Team assisted the LA Zoo to create a pressurized clean air cage for Minyak, a rare Bornean orangutan with a long history of respiratory problems. Minyak recovered and became a successful member of the zoo’s breeding program.
Air purification for schools
IQAir was selected by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and other air quality agencies to provide high-performance air filtration for classrooms in schools close to major outdoor air pollution sources. As of June 2013, IQAir’s air filtration technologies were installed in more than 1000 classrooms in California. A study published in 2012 in INDOOR AIR reports that IQAir air cleaning technology is able to protect classrooms from up to 96% of outdoor diesel soot, PM 2.5 and ultrafine particles.
When natural gas began leaking from a deep well in Porter Ranch, California, in late 2015, residents began complaining of nausea, dizziness and other symptoms. The local gas company turned to IQAir to help provide thousands of residents with air purifiers to filter the mercaptans that are a component of natural gas and suspected of causing the symptoms. IQAir was selected based on the recommendation of the state’s Air Resources Board.
Mira Loma Village in Southern California suffers from some of the highest levels of air pollution in the United States. That’s why the Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ), a leading environmental justice advocacy group, took action by filing a lawsuit against the county, the city and local developers. In early 2013, a settlement was reached that provided funding to help give the residents of Mira Loma Village cleaner air to breathe. As part of the settlement, CCAEJ turned to IQAir to provide stand-alone air purifiers and help install them in more than 90 Mira Loma homes. IQAir was selected based on its previous partnership with CAAEJ to provide clean-air technologies for schools and community buildings in nearby San Bernardino, California.
IQAir was honored by the Chinese government in 2015 with the “Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Contribution Award” at an official government procurement summit in Zhuhai. The award was presented in recognition of the advanced technology and superior performance of the IQAir HealthPro Plus. During the summit, IQAir was invited to make the keynote speech, during which IQAir representatives spoke about the impact of indoor and outdoor air pollution on health.
EU Green Week
In 2013, IQAir supported the European Commission, by producing a series of scanning electron microscope images of diesel soot, mold spores and other airborne particulates. The images were displayed at the Green Week 2013 Conference in Brussels.
American Lung Association
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- Abdul Salam, Zakir-Hussain; Karlin, Rubiyah Binte; Ling, Moi Lin; Yang, Kok Soong (2010). "The impact of portable high-efficiency particulate air filters on the incidence of invasive aspergillosis in a large acute tertiary-care hospital". American Journal of Infection Control. 38 (4): e1–7. doi:10.1016/j.ajic.2009.09.014. PMID 20129702.
- "Extreme Makeover Home Edition -S02E03 - Grinnan Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition – Broadbent Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Sears Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Lewis Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Kubena Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Thibodeau Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Stockdale Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Vitale Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Woodhouse Family".
- "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Dickinson Family".
- "IQAir teams with "Extreme Makeover" to help wounded hero".
- "Wounded warrior's new home unveiled".
- "IQAir dubbed secret weapon of U.S. Olympic team".
- "Operation Clean Air Helps U.S. Team".
- "IQAir: The Secret Weapon of the 2008 Beijing Olympics" (PDF).
- "IQAir Chosen by USA Cycling to Provide Ultra-High Efficiency Air Cleaning in Beijing".
- "A Breath of Fresh Air" (PDF).
- "Pilot study of high-performance air filtration for classroom applications" (PDF).
- "SoCal Gas relocates hundreds of Porter Ranch residents while trying to fix leaking well".
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