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Mr. Bob Mcilvaine

Bob Mcilvaine is President of the Mcilvaine Company, which he founded in 1974. Filtration has been a major focus from the beginning. The company provides market research and technical evaluations on liquid and air filtration technology. Presently a great deal of effort is devoted to the HVAC filters and masks in the battle against COVID-19

Acquisition: Complex Path to Filtration Success

The filtration industry presents major challenges to small innovative companies because

  • The market is increasingly international

  • An individual product is evaluated as part of a solution


Large international companies purchase a majority of the filtration products and want suppliers who can provide products for all their plants. They are adopting digital analytic systems which validate the performance of an individual product in a narrow niche. The product supplier needs to understand the processes in each niche and tailor his product as needed. These factors are accelerating the acquisition of small innovative companies with revenues less than $ 50 million by large multi-divisional companies and private equity firms.


Some of the expansion has been related to materials. Insulation and refractory materials companies have expanded into filter media. Nonwoven media companies have expanded into membranes. Other companies have expanded vertically from fibers to media to equipment and even to systems. Others have pursued industry solutions. A filter company just expanded into bioprocessing equipment. One of the largest corporations has several filtration divisions but is also a leader in treatment chemicals and in flow monitoring. International expansion has been another growth strategy. One potential benefit is to obtain customer access. Another is to obtain local manufacturing.


This presentation will trace the acquisition history of large filter companies and the growing number of acquisitions being transacted.

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