The Erie legacy lives on and heralds an exciting future for water softening with Pentair
The final and successful integration of the Erie water treatment products into the Pentair softener family does not mark the end of an era, but the start of a new and exciting chapter in residential water treatment in Europe. It sees one of the most respected and trusted names in water treatment adopted by another – renowned for quality, innovation and manufacturing excellence. It also brings a host of opportunities for forward-thinking and entrepreneurial partners, ready to take the water softening market to the next level. We reflect on a journey that has taken the best of an iconic brand and made it even better, while creating the market-leading portfolio of next-generation water softeners.
The sum is greater than the parts
It seems a lifetime since Pentair acquired Erie in 2019, but that time has flashed by for the teams involved in migrating the Erie product range into the Pentair stable. They would not simply be relocating manufacturing equipment, people and processes. They would also be transferring across a legacy of innovation and winning the hearts and minds of loyal partners, understandably nervous about the future of a much-loved brand. Happily, it could not have been in safer hands, and all now agree that the future for Pentair water treatment partners and customers, with the new softener portfolio, is greater than ever.
A journey to higher quality and more capacity
The practical journey began in 2021 with the relocation of Erie production from its historical base in Grobbendonk, Belgium to Pentair’s manufacturing centres of excellence across Europe.
Valve production was moved to Pentair’s Pisa plant, while production of complete systems moved to Pentair’s manufacturing site in Herentals. Anyone who has visited either factory cannot fail to be impressed by the quality processes in place.
Relocating the manufacturing equipment without disrupting production required exceptional teamwork and, to add to the challenge, it was all completed during the COVID pandemic. However, deadlines were met, and the new softener production lines were up and running by April 2021.
At a stroke, capacity for softener production almost doubled giving Pentair more flexibility and resilience – especially at a time where manufacturing worldwide began to feel the impacts of a global distribution pinch and subsequent materials supply shortage. In addition, existing lines were brought into the world-leading quality systems for which Pentair Europe are renowned, offering even greater confidence to customers across the continent.
A softener for every application and budget
Pentair already marketed its own award-winning water softeners so 2021 also saw the start of a product rationalisation and branding programme that brought two portfolios together into one cohesive family of products. That catalogue now sees Pentair with one of the widest and most comprehensive range of home water treatment products from any softener manufacturer. Although the Erie name would no longer be used, familiar products are still part of the line-up. For residential use, entry level products such as River Soft, Sentencia and Maxima offer outstanding value, with mid-range models Slimline, Evolio and Softena offering a wider range of sizes and user options. The premium end sees IQ Soft with its WiFi connectivity and Foleo with its sleek design and advance touchscreen functionality.
With over 40 variations of models and sizes, many with multiple options, the domestic range offers a huge selection for every application and budget. And the commercial softening market is served by familiar brands such as ProFlow and a new range of hot water inlet softeners, H2Optimo.
New softeners. New support
With the entire range brought under one brand, Pentair partners and customers have started to see a tangible difference in the way the products are presented and supported. This year has seen the roll out of an all-new water treatment website for both residential and commercial softeners. A new flipbook catalogue had been published and revised technical documents are coming online in multiple formats and languages. In addition, a dedicated team of Water Treatment Area Sales Managers are in place across Europe to nurture and support partners and key accounts who have chosen Erie or Pentair in the past or plan to in the future.
The future is connected
With the integration of Erie complete, the work at Pentair does not stop. Connectivity is the future and, building on work pioneered at Erie, WiFi enabled softeners have been a big part of the recent Pentair development roadmap. WiFi connectivity brings massive benefits to owners and service professionals alike. Users have the ability to control and gain insights from their softener using a native app, while service professionals can have an overview of their customer estate, perform remote diagnosis and servicing along with many other benefits. These features are live and already making a difference in the Pentair IQSoft, and they will become available as an option in more softeners lines before the end of the year.