China’s rapid industrialization has come at a cost: The country is afflicted with some of the worst air pollution in the world.
But one Central New York company is improving air quality in China—and throughout Asia—one building at a time.
HealthWay Products manufactures air cleaning and filtration products for homes, businesses, and medical environments.
The Pulaski-based company originally developed air cleaners to remove smoke from bars. When legislation banned smoking indoors, the company changed focus, developing proprietary technology to clean air from entire buildings, capturing 99.99 percent of air contaminants.
“The World Health Organization has ranked indoor air quality as a top health concern facing humans,” says HealthWay President Vinny Lobdell. “It’s beyond smoke and allergens, but ultrafine particles that can cause cardiovascular disease, stroke, and cancer.”
HealthWay develops products that clean air at point of use by filtering contaminants generated within a space and at point of entry by cleaning air filtered into a building as part of its HVAC system. Customers include the Cleveland Clinic, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott, Harvard University, Starwood Hotels, Texas Instruments, BMW, Volkswagen, and Crystal Cruises. The company, named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing privately held companies in North America, sells its products in 30 countries.
Asia is the biggest growth market and SyracuseCoE has been an important partner in HealthWay’s expansion efforts. In 2013, HealthWay received a $50,000 Commercialization Assistance Program grant from SyracuseCoE to help commercialize and test a disinfecting filtration system specifically for the Asian market. The grant supported the assistance of Syracuse University Professor Jianshun Zhang, who conducted testing of the product.
At the Building Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) Laboratory in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University, Zhang simulated air pollution to evaluate the filter’s performance in cleaning air “breathed in” by building HVAC systems in China.
“That grant was very important in helping us get that product to market,” says Lobdell. Installations include BMW corporate headquarters in China, the Saudi Ministry of Health, and hotels throughout Asia.
Lobdell says that product—the 2000 SC—is now the cornerstone of the company’s commercial line. In 2015, HealthWay purchased an additional facility in Pulaski to accommodate its manufacture, as well as to bring back other products the company was manufacturing in China, adding approximately 20 jobs to the Central New York region.
“We’re really grateful to have an organization like the SyracuseCoE locally,” says Lobdell. “Syracuse has become a hub for innovation in indoor air quality because of their efforts, and they continue to help us grow.”