Howorth Air Technology, Bolton - SME (Manufacturing)

Howorth Air Technology in Bolton has completely re-designed its ultra clean ventilation system, used in hospitals, to slash energy usage and reduce lifecycle costs for clients.

Jim Liprot, Managing Director at Howorth Air Technology, said: “I have seen the importance of innovation to keep us at the forefront of the global medical market and not to simply sit back on previous successes”.


Howorth Air Technology is a specialist supplier of air technology solutions in healthcare environments. Its patented Howorth ExflowTM ultra clean ventilation (UCV) system provides sterile high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) for patients, helping to remove bacteria-carrying particles to bring new levels of air cleanliness to operating theatres. 

Although already a successful product installed in nearly 3,000 operating theatres worldwide, the company decided to undergo a complete re-design to remain ahead of the competition.

‘Keep moving forward’

“I have seen the importance of innovation to keep us at the forefront of the global medical market and not to simply sit back on previous successes”, said managing director, Jim Liptrot. “I need to keep moving forward, so I’ve made sure this is a core part of our business model.”

To improve competitiveness, it was decided that operational energy usage could be reduced to cut lifecycle costs for clients, especially cash-strapped NHS Trusts.

A new product development team was set up in-house to manage the project, incorporating directors, managers and product design engineers. The team also enlisted the help of Laura Bramley, environmental business advisor at the GC Business Growth Hub.

Product development

Together the team has implemented a number of energy-saving upgrades to improve the performance of the ExflowTM, including lower-powered fans and motors, LED lighting and a re-designed canopy to reduce air resistance. The control panel has also been upgraded, reducing the components so that it draws less power.

The product development team was able to call upon the Business Growth Hub’s energy efficiency knowledge throughout the project, including the use of energy loggers to test different solutions in-house and monitor energy usage of the ExflowTM in live hospital environments.

“I made sure our team were given time to invest properly in R&D and product development, and Laura Bramley was a key part of the expertise we called upon”, Jim Liptrot explained.

“Laura fully understood both the technicalities and drivers behind the project and was able to check up with us regularly, support the ideation process and keep things moving. We’re now ready to move into a new exciting phase of development that will take this product even further.”

The improved system is due to be launched later this year.

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