The pace of economic and social changes in the world is accelerating. Therefore, if we can still remember an event one year later, or even recall it in detail, then it had a major impact on business and society. For ex-ample, if we look between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Russian-Ukrainian war, we can think of count-less events that have had a major impact on societies and economies, such as the global financial crisis that started in the USA in 2007. However, COVID stands out among these events because, far beyond its eco-nomic impact, it has primarily affected people’s private lives: the health and safety of their families. There-fore, directly or indirectly, through relatives, friends, and acquaintances, it affected the mindset of all peo-ple, especially regarding their health consciousness. There is hardly an economic sector in which, to varying degrees, it has not induced transformations and changes.
One of the areas where health consciousness has broken down decades of taboos – where solutions that protect not only companies’ wallets but also human health have finally found their way beyond the purely business aspects – is the field of spa and thermal water treatment. Many aspects of health maintenance have suddenly become important, for which experts have been calling for and developing specific solu-tions for decades, but they have not received enough attention to really change the mindset of people and the industry. A good example is the fact that, for many years now, there has been a solution on the market that allows swimming pools and spas to be perfectly cleaned with chlorine-free agents, and for more than 20 years now, it has been possible to apply this solution to spa and thermal waters without damaging the medicinal components of the water or weakening their effects. In addition, in the aftermath of the pandemic, people are increasingly willing to spend more on health measures (such as chlorine-free water treatment). This nearly quarter of a century of knowledge, and the patent that protects it, is thanks to a Hungarian chemical engineering couple who believed that the time would come when society and facility operators would realise that people’s health should not be put at risk by the harmful effects of chlo-rine. Chlorine is responsible for cardiovascular diseases and cancers (digestive tract tumours, bladder can-cer, and rectal cancer). A real expert solution is therefore needed to ensure that people can continue to enjoy their favourite baths and pools without any proven adverse effects on their health.
’95: The Beginnings
Over the last 20 years, Hungary’s EU-supported programmes have transformed the health tourism market and have resulted in the wide range of spas that we have today. Thanks to the Széchenyi Plan health tour-ism development programme and a 10-year development plan based on it, a multi-level (international, regional, local) spa system has been created in Hungary, where traditional spa bathing has been comple-mented by the increasingly popular wellness programmes. However, the methodology of water treatment and disinfection was still based on chlorination, which was introduced in the early 1900s. Dr Judit Diósné Benedek and Dr János Diós recognised the business potential of this and founded their water treatment company, Dinax Ltd., in 1995. Health consciousness and commitment to modern bathing was one of their most important goals from the very beginning. Therefore, having assessed the opportunities of the inter-national market, they opted for a technology developed by a Swiss company, which was a world novelty at the time, and thanks to their own research and development work, they were able to improve it so that it could also be used for thermal waters, patenting the technology in 1996.
The patent was a huge step forward and a major turning point in the life of the company and, as such, for the entire Hungarian water treatment market. Thanks to this, first for smaller units – kiddie and hotel pools – and then for larger swimming pools, a solution has become available that, unlike chlorine water treat-ment, has no harmful effects on health. Developments have continued, and the patented technology’s disinfection process has become applicable to spa and thermal waters, without changing the specific com-position of the water, which is essential for the water’s health. In addition, it can also be used in places where chlorine could not be used under any circumstances, for example, in the case of high ammonium or organic matter content, where chlorine would create carcinogenic substances, a risk that can be safely avoided with this product.
The need for product and research development, a feature of the company from the outset, has also been reflected in the commercial and production sectors. In response to market needs, the product range was broadened, and by 2005, the company had created a family of private-label swimming pool water treat-ment products. In order to provide a continuous and balanced service to their customers, they built a pro-duction plant with independent manufacturing capacity to complement their commercial activities, which also allowed them to market and produce additional swimming pool products. In 2012 they were awarded the “For Budapest’s Economy” prize for their development and management work, and in 2013, Dr Judit Diósné Benedek received the “For Hungary’s Economy” prize. In 2014, their chlorine-free solution, the LONGLIFE brand, was awarded the distinction of “Budapest’s Brand”.
For the founders and their company, the moment of truth came in the post-pandemic period. For more than twenty years, the company had advocated for healthier options, a movement that COVID accelerat-ed. Healthy lifestyle and disease prevention needs have moved to the top of the rankings of people’s mo-tivational preferences, and this has significantly changed consumption habits and the decision-making pro-cesses of people and companies. This has brought up issues that have been based on proven facts for dec-ades, such as the issue of water disinfection, where chlorine, in addition to its role as a dominant disinfect-ant, has finally been able to receive real attention for its adverse health effects. Ensuring a high level of cleanliness and disinfection in baths, swimming pools, and pools was essential before the pandemic, but since 2020, expectations on the part of users have increased considerably. The company’s business re-sponse to this challenge was ready several years ago. The LONGLIFE product range has therefore become the focus of attention, not only as an award-winning brand, but also as a professionally superior solution for chlorine-free water treatment that can be reliably applied in everyday life.
The Future: A Two-Tier Business Strategy
The founders’ innovative, forward-looking thinking outlook has not changed with age. Just like 23 years ago, they believe in forward-thinking, continuous improvement. They believe that a company’s success always requires a well-prepared development strategy alongside a solid foundation. It was with this strat-egy in mind that they decided to launch their new venture, the WATERCOMP INSTITUTE. The Institute builds on the professional knowledge they have acquired over 28 years and provides spa managers, inves-tors, and pool owners with expert advice, health impact assessments, water testing (drinking, pool and cooling), and chemical engineering advice for the design and renovation of spas and hotels, both nationally and internationally.
The new company is already present in the markets of Hungary’s neighbours and intends to expand soon to Western Europe and the Scandinavian market. The founders will continue to be responsible for research management and supervision, in addition to providing professional advice, while maintaining the same dedication as when the company was launched. However, as responsible owners of the company, they also wanted to ensure the future success of the core business, which will continue to operate under the name Dinax, and the smooth running of production and trade, and following a successful organisational restructuring, they have now handed over the baton to the next generation within the family.