Cartridges are used to purify water and process liquids. In Asia municipal water is often contaminated. As the number of middle class citizens has risen rapidly so has the market for residential filters. Non-woven cartridges remove sediment, while carbon cartridges remove chlorine.
The residential point-of-entry market this year in Asia will be $192 million, whereas the point-of-use market will be four times larger. This includes refrigerator filters and under the sink units. The commercial market is somewhat smaller and includes purification of drinking water for office buildings, hotels, and hospitals.
The industrial market for cartridges is growing, whereas there has been shrinkage in the U.S. and Europe. The expansion of the electronics industry including semiconductors, flat panel displays, and memory storage accounts for some of the growth. The pharmaceutical market is large. However, this is the one market where Asia still takes a back seat to Europe and the U.S.
Carbon cartridges are the most popular. Membrane cartridges are the second largest category followed by non-wovens, metal and string wound.
Asia reflects the internationalization of the industry. Many suppliers of filtration media with home offices in Europe or the U.S. have large manufacturing operations in Asia.