Tennant Defends Cleaning Tech. After Rival Sues

Alfred KŠrcher GmbH & Company has sued Tennant Company over claims made about its ec-H2O cleaning technology, but Tennant President and CEO Chris Killingstad called the accusations "baseless" and said his company will vigorously defend itself, its technology, and its advertising.

A German competitor of Golden Valley-based Tennant Company said last week that it had filed lawsuits against Tennant, claiming that the company has made false and misleading advertising claims for its water-based cleaning technology.

But Tennant on Monday stood behind its ec-H2O technology and refuted the claims-which were made by cleaning equipment giant Alfred KÅ rcher GmbH & Company in lawsuits filed in Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.

“We are vigorously defending our company, technology, and advertising against these baseless claims by a competitor,” Tennant President and CEO Chris Killingstad said in a statement. “We find it interesting that KÅ rcher would attack our ec-H2O advertising now, after we have been in the marketplace for three years, satisfied thousands of customers, and have 2011 projected sales of $130 million to $140 million.”

Tennant's ec-H2O technology, which debuted in 2008, electrically converts water into a solution that's used to clean floors. The company claims that the solution cleans better, saves money, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact compared to traditional floor-cleaning chemicals.

KÅ rcher takes issue with Tennant's claim that ordinary tap water can be converted into “active water” within scrubber-driers that use the ec-H2O technology-and then create the same effect as a powerful cleaning agent. KÅ rcher said in a news release that Tennant's claims were investigated by an independent research institute that it didn't identify and refuted in an in-depth expert report.

KÅ rcher, which does business in 50 countries, sells its own scrubber-driers-which it defines as cleaning machines for wet cleaning of hard floors. They spread cleaning fluid, scrub floors, and vacuum the dirty water.

“As a leading cleaning equipment industry company, we also stand for the respectability and trustworthiness of our industry,” Hartmut Jenner, CEO and chairman of the KÅ rcher Group's management board, said in a statement. “Our customers must be able to rely on their manufacturers. Tennant's claims are misleading and totally untenable scientifically. The company is thereby trying in a highly unfair manner to set itself apart from the competition-and making a promise to customers that it cannot possibly fulfill.”

Tennant said that in addition to its customers testing the ec-H2O technology and approving it “with their purchases and with their public statements,” several independent third parties have tested it and confirmed its effectiveness. Among them: Elliott Affiliates, Inc., and Aspen Research Corporation.