By Don Bolding
Killeen Daily Herald
FLORENCE – Few people or businesses would ignore a chance to do environmentally friendly things, but often they face a hard choice because they would lose money at it.
Mark Katzenmeyer, of Florence, is building a sideline business with a new technology that protects the environment while it saves money for customers.
The business, called Quality Filter Cleaning, recycles undamaged air filters from trucks and heavy equipment by using extreme vibration inside and outside a filter, which has to have an outside diameter of between 3? and 20 inches and a maximum height of 37 inches, to shake dirt out. If it can't pass a test for purity after the treatment, it has to be thrown away.
If it passes, a second test with a 750-watt light bulb discovers any perforations that make it useless. But Katzenmeyer said most filters can take six or seven cleanings, saving owners about half the price they would spend on new filters and keeping that many filters out of landfills.
He has nine accounts in a 250-mile radius, including trucking firms and quarries.
The system, patented as Sonic Dry Clean, replaces a wet-washing system that became unworkable about 10 years ago when the federal government banned some of the chemicals used in the process, and the system frequently damaged the filters, anyway.
The new system, which only takes three relatively small machines, is an innovation of Pacific Fabrication of California, which also pioneered an aluminum can crusher.
Quality Filter Cleaning is one of only six companies in the nation to adopt Sonic Dry Clean so far. Katzenmeyer's principal business is servicing air conditioning systems for heavy equipment under the name Quality Mobile Air, and he was researching ways to clean their flat filters when he ran across the Pacific Fabrication invention.
Beginning in December 2007, it sits in a building behind his house about two miles west of Florence, and he runs it with the aid of Carolyn Butzow, who he says "is as good as any three men."
"The problem with the air conditioning business is that it's seasonal," he said. "You work seven days a week in 100-degree heat for a while, and then you're idle for a while, so I'm trying to make this cleaning work self-sustaining. I go out one day a week and collect the filters and bring them in and work on them and then deliver them. It's steady, without a lot of stress and strain. I'm just trying to get the word out about it now."
Katzenmeyer came to Central Texas with his military family in 1977 and graduated from Copperas Cove High School in 1978. He and his family lived in Killeen for many years before moving to Florence six years ago. Now one son is starting studies at Central Texas College, and another is about to graduate from Florence High School.
"It's good living and working here," he said. "It's been good for the boys. Everybody knows everybody, and the schools are excellent."
The cleaning system, entirely dry, uses a combination of vibration, rotation, compressed air and vacuum.
A sample in Katzenmeyer's literature shows 123.21 cubic feet of dirty filters that amount to 98.01 cubic feet after cleaning, leaving only 25.02 cubic feet of dirt to go to the landfill. Previously, all 123.21 cubic feet would have gone to the landfill to be replaced by new filters.
The big filters do the same job as air filters in cars but in dirtier circumstances including quarrying, construction, mining and waste management, besides highway trucking.
"We offer to clean five filters free for any new customer," Katzenmeyer said. "If they don't like the job, there's no obligation. But we're confident they will."
More information is available from Katzenmeyer at (254) 681-0743, (254) 702-5326 or at www.qualityfiltercleaning.com.
Contact Don Bolding at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7557.