The story of IQAir air purifiers, the leading supplier of consumer air purification technology since 1963, is one of a family dedicated to excellence in indoor air quality. Klaus Hammes and his brother Manfred first introduced their simple air filters to homes in Germany. This filtration system, designed to clean air from small coal ovens, was the first of its kind to be widely popular with residential customers. The air filter reduced deposits of black residue accumulated behind ovens; however, Manfred soon realized the air filters greatly improved his breathing. Manfred was a lifelong sufferer of asthma. Thus encouraged by the serendipitous success of their first clean air product in reducing allergy symptoms, the Hammes brothers went on to define new standards in air quality and asthma relief. Klaus Hammes contributed his expertise as a mechanical engineer to the IQAir family of clean air systems. In the 1960s and 1970s he continued to refine the company's precise filtration technology. The adapted filter improved the air quality in forced air heating and cooling systems; radiators and baseboard heaters as well benefited from the unique IQAir filter. The year 1981 brought a sad chapter to the IQAir family; Manfred Hammes passed away following a heart attack. At that time, Klaus began the search for a new home to expand the company. He built the new company headquarters on the shores of the Lake of Constance, in the heart of Switzerland. This manufacturing facility fueled the growth of IQAir into international markets. IQAir now provides superior air purifiers and air quality solutions to Europe and the United States. The passion for clean air continued in the Hammes family; Frank, Klaus' son, joined the family business soon after graduating from Cambridge University. Frank's first success was to promote a cabin air filter in luxury German automobiles; Mercedes-Benz cars soon benefited from the technology and engineering of IQAir's air quality solutions. Frank then focused on room-sized air purifiers powered by fans. His expertise in filtering air to reduce allergens and improve overall air quality revealed a tremendous advantage for producing room air purifiers. Frank Hammes' research into room air purifiers provided direction for the company: beginning in 1994, IQAir devoted their research and development expertise to create a modern air filtration solution. The team of German and Swiss engineers took four years under Frank's leadership to design and perfect a new air quality product line: the world's most efficient compact air purifiers. IQAir produced the first run of the new, compact air cleaners in the spring of 1998. The Swiss-manufactured air purifiers were made available in Europe initially; in September of 1998, the IQAir HealthPro Plus air
purifier received its first accolade by a third-party consumer organization. Stiftung Warentest, the leading product testing company, put the HealthPro Plus to the test in a comprehensive measure of air purification systems: the HealthPro Plus outperformed all its competition. Demand for IQAir grew in Europe, and in 2000, IQAir purifier units became available in the United States. Allergy and asthma sufferers alike embraced the new quality standard in clean air; IQAir's air purifiers were a rapid success. The year 2001 brought another family member to the company; Klaus' Hammes second son Jens joined IQAir to expand the business into Asia. A year later, the HyperHEPA filters were awarded the coveted H12/H13 certification, a mark usually reserved for multimillion-dollar filtration systems. HyperHEPA was the first room air purifier to receive this recognition of superior quality. News broke in February 2003 of the rapid spread of a highly-contagious, potentially lethal airborne virus: severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). During the crisis, the Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA) initiated demanding tests of multiple air cleaning solutions to reduce the spread of the virus. The superior performance of the IQAir room air purifiers again shined through, and after rigorous evaluations of performance and suitability of the competition, the hospital authority selected the IQAir as the optimum room air cleaning solution. Thus chosen as the best system to fight the spread of SARS, IQAir won contracts to provide over 150 hospitals and other health care facilities in Hong Kong with room air cleaners. IQAir continued its history of success in the year 2004. The American Lung Association chose IQAir to be their partner in public education on the subject of air quality indoors. A primary campaign raised public awareness regarding the production of harmful ozone by many other room-sized air purifiers. Later in the year, tests and reviews from multiple consumer report organizations rewarded IQAir's innovations in superior air cleaning technology. Consumer Search, Reviewboard Magazine, and Consumers Digest Magazine featured IQAir air purifiers in their publications. Later that year, IQAir was asked by the producers of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to create America's healthiest home for a 6-year old heart transplant recipient and her family. The episode made television history and was honored by the American Lung Association. The award-winning television program established a foundation for future shows featuring "extreme" air cleaning provided by IQAir's room purification technology. Frank Hammes refocused the direction of company innovation and production in the autumn of 2004 to develop furnace filters and air cleaning systems for the entire house. Once again, his research reveals that the majority of whole-house air purifiers fail to remove allergens and pollutants to relieve asthma and allergy symptoms. The following December, IQAir delivered the solution to whole-air and furnace air pollution. These new air quality systems exceed all existing performance metrics; additionally, the Perfect 16 became the first whole-house air filter system in the world to receive the accolade of the MERV 16 rating. IQAir simultaneously released a motorized HEPA filtration system to commercial markets, the CleanZone. The CleanZone features air delivery of up to CFM 1200. IQAir air purifiers remains a family business. Although Klaus Hammes, the founder, has retired, he still advises his two sons. Jens Hammes spearheads IQAir's sales divisions in Europe and Asia, while his brother, Frank Hammes, devotes his time to supervising IQAir's research and development, as well as managing the marketing of IQAir's clean air systems in North America.
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