In the run-up to the 2017 edition of the WEFTEC, the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Chicago will be interviewing several Dutch companies that are involved in the water-tech sector. The following interview is conducted with Robert Gerard, commercial manager at NX Filtration a manufacturer of hollow fiber nanofiltration membranes.
Interview by: Bram Steijn of The Consultate General of the Netherland in Chicago
View full length interview at linkedin: WEFTEC 2017 – Interview with NX Filtration
Q: Hello Robert! Thank you allowing me to interview you. I really appreciate it. I am going to jump right in and ask you a few questions about what it is that NX Filtration does and what you expect from your stay in Chicago. So, are you currently already doing business in the U.S.?
A: Yes. Even though we are a relatively new company, we are already doing some business in the U.S. Last year, we attended the WEFTEC in Louisiana. It allowed us to introduce our company to the North American market. We were part of the innovation pavilion at the time, which is designed specifically for new companies that are involved in novel and innovative technologies. During that time, we managed to get in touch with some local equipment manufacturers who were interested in testing our products.
Q: What kind of products do you produce?
A: We are a manufacturer of hollow fiber membranes that filter and purify water. Our membranes can remove micro contaminations such as pesticides, antibiotics, and other organics, including color, from water as well as waste water.
Q: Is it a competitive area to do business in?
A: Not necessarily. The products we produce and sell truly are unique. Purifying water through the use of membranes is not new. There are many membranes that can treat salt water and turn it into water that is suitable for human consumption, but that is not what we focus on. Our membranes, unlike others, can remove micro contaminants from water, and we are able to do so in a much more efficient manner than other conventional membranes. To give you an idea, the pressure required for many membranes to purify or desalinate water is around 800psi, whereas our membranes can purify water at 70psi – which is a lot more efficient.
Q: Do you sell any other types of membranes?
A: Yes! We do. We also sell membranes for beer and wine filtration, for example.
Q: Will you be showcasing any of these products during the WEFTEC?
A: We will show samples of our complete product range at the show, including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, and nanofiltration.
Q: You mentioned that you have attended the WEFTEC before. Why have you decided to return? What do you hope to achieve during your stay in Chicago?
A: Last year, we were part of the innovation pavilion, but this time we have a booth at the Dutch business pavilion. This shows that we, as a company, have made the next step in our development. We have moved beyond the start-up phase. We are primarily looking to engage with local equipment manufacturers, system integrators and OEM’s interested in using our membranes for the purpose of water purification, water re-use, or waste water treatment.
Q: So you are mainly looking to get in touch with equipment manufacturers, not so much the end users of your product?
A: Correct. It is more efficient if we can sell our membranes to equipment manufacturers so that they can then incorporate them in their devices. We do occasionally reach out to the end users. We want to make them aware of the fact that our membranes can purify water more thoroughly and in a more efficient manner. That way, the end users might wish to purchase devices that use our membranes which, in turn, will generate a greater demand for them.
Q: So attending the WEFTEC has yielded some concrete results for your company?
A: It has. While we are still chiefly exploring the opportunities that the North American market might hold for us, the WFTEC does presents us with a great chance to expand our network and showcase our products. The American market is vast, so we know there are about 100-150 small, local equipment manufacturers that we could potentially do business with! The WEFTEC can help us get in touch with them.
Q: The Consulate General of the Netherlands in Chicago is organizing a matchmaking event. Do you think this would be beneficial in helping you get in touch with relevant companies?
A: Yes, that is why we have signed up for the matchmaking! We were excited to hear about it, and it would be brilliant if it could yield some results for us.
Thanks again, Robert, for taking the time! It has been great to hear that the WEFTEC is able to help your company get in touch with the right people, helping it grow along the way. I hope that this year’s WEFTEC will be even more successful for your company than the previous edition in Louisiana! Best of luck.
NOTE BY NX FILTRATION:
More about the WEFTEC and the Dutch water expertise coming to Chicago: http://nlintheusa.com/weftec-2017/