By Donald A. Mounce
Environmental World Products LLC
Your Source for Commercial and Industrial RO Components
John Larmon: Maryland Sales Office
Phone: (443) 451-5056 Fax: (443) 451-4378
John Ireland: Florida Sales Office
Phone: (904) 425-8023 Fax: (904) 425-8024
USA Warehouse: Jacksonville, FL
Environmental World Products China
Environmental World Products (EWP) is a new kid on the global industrial water component block. The company was just established in January 2007, founded on a niche focus.
EWP and its sister company in Shanghai, China (Environmental World Products China) primarily focus on international distribution of residential components and systems. By utilizing these local resources, they identified qualified manufacturers of commercial/industrial RO components that meet US specifications.
At a time when much of the US market was sourcing aggressively from the Asia/Pacific region for residential water treatment components, EWP saw the opportunity to focus on commercial and industrial reverse osmosis components. Chinese-based manufacturers of core RO components were just starting to emerge in response to the massive, local demand for industrial water treatment equipment.
John Larmon had been in the water industry for over 10 years prior to starting EWP. “My first position in water was SE Asia Sales Manager for Pentair Water, based in their Taiwan office. I went on to hold other sales management positions in Pentair’s Asia/Pacific, European, and American operations. Albert Sone, then the Pentair Water Asia/Pacific General Manager, hired me for that first position. Albert is now the General Manager of EWP China, our sister company.
“When Albert and I looked at what was happening in the water treatment industry and saw the potential synergy between China and US-based organizations, we developed a business plan. John Ireland, previously Supply Chain Manager for Crane Environmental, joined our team shortly after start-up. As a management team, we complement each other’s skills and styles.”
“One of our first products was FRP membrane housings from ROPV – a relationship that continues today,” notes Larmon. “From there, our product line expanded to include complementary products.
“Our standard product line is stocked in our Jacksonville, FL warehouse and covers most of the core components used on a standard commercial RO unit. We also service RO equipment manufacturers from that location.”
“For distribution, we have focused on the commercial and light industrial RO segments. This is a niche approach but one that enables us to customize our products and programs to match the specific requirements of our customers,” says Larmon.
“With some of the programs we have in place, we can also cover other segments. Our line of SST cartridge housings is a good example. We added the line based on requests from our RO customers. But we quickly expanded the line to include bag housings for industrial filtration customers. We look for cross-over opportunities like this but I suspect our standard line will continue to focus on RO components.”
“EWP has three main channels to match different customer sourcing profiles,” adds Larmon. “Our distribution-based product line includes such items as FRP and SST membrane housings, flowmeters, pressure gauges, solenoid valves, SST needle valves, TDS/pH meters, sediment cartridges and SST multi-round cartridge housings.
“For consolidated shipment programs, we can expand the product coverage to include non-standard configurations of the products above as well as the full line of residential water treatment components from EWP China (residential filtration and softening). We can source from various manufacturers, collect the products in our Shanghai warehouse and then consolidate for drop-shipment to customers globally.”
“EWP can tap our network of manufacturers to develop customized components for customer-specific requirements,” notes Larmon. “One example from this program is an SST strainer housing we developed for one of our customers.
“Perhaps the best measure of our presence is the fact that once we establish a business relationship, it tends to mature into a much broader sourcing relationship. We can expand from initially supplying flowmeters to becoming a single source for numerous core components.”
EWP maintains its company mission—‘To deliver value to the supply chain of our valued customers.’ And they plan to do that through further growth and innovation, by adding even more new products in 2009.
“We are in the final stages of developing multi-round cartridge housings constructed of FRP. This is a joint project with a related company, Enceladus Water Group,” says Larmon. “This product is used in place of an SST housing but with all of the same design features – dirty and clean water drain ports, side connections, vent ports, standard cartridges, etc.
“Features include no metal wetted materials, longer service life, easier handling and easier installation. This will effectively eliminate SST from the cartridge-based pre-treatment side of RO systems. We are very excited about this product! Other new products to be added include pressure switches, plastic solenoid valves, NSF-listed carbon block cartridges, and braided stainless steel hoses.”
“Being only two years old, our company has faced all of the typical challenges of a start-up company,” adds Larmon. “ We must manage our growth and balance resource allocation between day-to-day operations and preparing for the future.
“We are a small organization by design. With more resources we could grow faster. But with our current structure, everything gets a personal touch.”
“I believe the trend of increased Asia/Pacific sourcing will continue to shape the US market,” says Larmon. “Some of the biggest names in water are moving their factories to China and India. Look at the increase in the number of trade show exhibition participants from these countries. But the US will continue to lead in innovation.
“The current state of the economy will slow consolidation for a period and lead to the closure of some water players. Perhaps the slowdown will adjust new entrants expectations to be more in line with steady growth as opposed to quick returns.”
“And water is global,” concludes Larmon. “Like food and energy supplies, what happens in one part of the world will impact the others. “Forward Osmosis, higher efficiency RO, lower power consumption and the application of new materials; all of these will help shape the future of RO.”
A lot of stuff happening from such new kids on the global block.