A 45+ Year Pursuit of Air Cleaning Excellence
In 1963, Manfred and his brother Klaus introduce a simple filter system for residential users in Germany. Their simple system consists of a filter pad that attaches with small magnets to the air outlet of residential coal ovens. As cold air rises through the oven and heats up it passes through the filter where the dust gets trapped. It is the first air purifier to find its way into household usage. The product is initially sold on the premise that it helps to reduce the black dust build-up on the walls behind ovens. Soon though, Manfred a lifelong asthma sufferer notices that the filter reduces his flare-ups during the winter months. Over time numerous users report that the filter appears to relieve their allergy and asthma symptoms.
Klaus, a mechanical engineer by training, continues through the 60s and 70s to adapt the filter for other heating systems, such as radiators, baseboard heaters and forced air heating and cooling systems.
After a heart attack, Manfred passes away in 1981. Klaus looking for suitable location to grow the company, relocates it to Switzerland. From Switzerland, international expansion begins into the rest of Europe and the United States.
Just having graduated from England’s Cambridge University, Frank Hammes, Klaus’ son, decides to join the family business. Having grown up with air purification all his life, he shares his father’s passion for clean air. After successfully promoting a cabin air filter for Mercedes-Benz automobiles in North America, Frank turns his attention to fan-powered room air cleaners. What he finds is a large discrepancy between consumer room air purifiers and large commercial air cleaning systems. While the commercial systems are large and expensive, they are also very effective. The smaller consumer room air purifiers on the other hand turn out to be ineffectual. The decision is made in 1994 to develop a new kind of air cleaning device. It would take Frank and a team of Swiss and German engineers four years of intensive research and development to build the world’s most effective line of compact air purifiers.
In the spring of 1998, the first IQAir system rolls off the new production line of the Swiss factory. Initially only available in Europe, the HealthPro®Plus receives its first major recognition in September of 1998. Europe’s leading product testing organization, Stiftung Warentest, finds the HealthPro® Plus to outperform all its competitors in one of the most comprehensive air purifier tests ever devised.
In 2000, IQAir air purifiers finally become available to the United States. They become an instant success with allergy and asthma sufferers.
In 2001, Klaus Hammes’ second son Jens, joins the family business and helps the expansion of IQAir into Asia.
In 2002, IQAir become the first and only room air cleaner to receive a H12/13 certification for its HyperHEPA® filters, normally only available in multi-million dollar cleanroom filtration systems. In February of 2003, newspapers report the rapid spread of a terrifying disease. It’s labeled as severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS, a highly contagious condition caused by a new corona virus for which there is no specific anti-viral treatment. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) initiates a rigorous testing to evaluate the performance and suitability of room air cleaning systems for this virus. Their tests quickly verified that most systems fall short of removing the virus. After weeks of testing and the installation of several trial systems, the HKHA chooses IQAir as the best room air cleaning solution for hospital rooms with suspected SARS patients. IQAir is awarded contracts to supply room air cleaners to more than 150 hospitals and health care facilities in Hong Kong in the fight against the spread of the disease.
In 2004, IQAir is selected by the American Lung Association as an educational partner to advance public education on issues of indoor air quality. One of the first educational campaigns addresses the problem of ozone-producing room air purifiers.
Over the course of the year, in 2004, a number of important national product review organizations publish tests and reviews recognizing the superior air cleaning of IQAir room air purifiers. IQAir’s air cleaners receive top ratings from Consumers Digest Magazine, Reviewboard Magazine, Allergy Buyers’ Club and Consumer Search.
In the Summer of 2004, IQAir is approached by the producers of ABC’s award-winning TV show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. They wanted IQAir to help create America’s healthiest home for a family with 6-year old girl that received a heart transplant. The project makes TV history and is subsequently honored by the American Lung Association. It sets the foundation for many more episodes in which IQAir provides “extreme” air purification to families with serious medical issues.
In the autumn of 2004, Frank Hammes turns the attention of IQAir’s research and development team to furnace filters and whole-house air cleaning systems. Similar to his experience with room air purifiers ten years earlier, he discovers that whole-house air cleaners fall terribly short of the needs of allergy and asthma sufferers.
In December 2005, IQAir introduces a much anticipated line of whole-house air purification systems. These systems shatter the performance barrier of existing furnace filters and whole-house air purifiers. The Perfect 16® becomes the world’s first whole-house filter system to receive the prestigious MERV 16 rating. IQAir also introduces a new commercial motorized HEPA filtration system with air deliveries of up to CFM 1200, the CleanZone®.
Today, IQAir’s founder, Klaus Hammes, has retired, but remains an advisor to the family company that is lead by his two sons, Frank and Jens. Frank splits his time between the Swiss factory where he oversees IQAir’s research & development and California, where he coordinates IQAir’s marketing with the IQAir North America office. Jens Hammes, continues to lead IQAir’s sales effort in Europe and Asia.