UVC air sterilisation is becoming a buzz word in 2020. With the coronavirus, and people’s attention being drawn towards social distancing, extra hand washing and sanitizing.
Several companies have been testing UVC systems in professional spaces such as offices and hospitals, with excellent results.
Recently, hospitals have been testing robotic UVC air sterilisation systems which move from room to room, disinfecting the areas.
In 20 minutes, it blasts the room with specific wavelength UVC rays, killing viruses and bacteria.
The Robotic UVC Air Steriliser
A robot’s voice says, “Leave the room, close the door and i’ll start disinfecting.” Through a glass window, a self-propelled machine begins its program.
Within minutes, it kills microbes with a zap of ultraviolet light.
The Thor UVC president says truckloads of the robots are being shipped to China, particularly Wuhan, but sales are also rising elsewhere in Asia and Europe.
“Of course we want to help them”, he states, “ but they are really in a desperate situation and we are really desperate for the robots as well, so we are struggling to keep up with demand.”
The unit contains eight bulbs which emit concentrated UV / C light and glow like a lightsaber.
They emit this concentrated UV / C light, which is equivalent to the light of a bulb in brightness.
Production and development on these robots has accelerated, and it now takes less than 20 minutes for the robots to produce enough light to disinfect a room. They also have ramped up production further and plan to build a bigger robotics center at the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Robotics and Automation (CRAC).
How the Light Kills Viruses
The UVC light at a specific wavelength zaps virus and bacteria until DNA is damaged.
Bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbes can therefore be destroyed and prevented from reproducing.
Remember however that powerful systems like these are also dangerous to humans in the room while the machine is running.
Studies show that exposure to UVC light can cause heart disease, cancer, kidney failure and even death.
The job of air sanitising for viruses is done in 10 – 20 minutes, so you don’t have to wait outside for too long while the robot does its job.
The robot, which costs $67,000 (53,370 euros), is designed to cut costs because hospital infections are expensive to treat and can lead to death.
The robot was launched at the University Hospital of Odense, where Professor Kolmos oversees infection control. “There are a lot of problematic organisms that cause infections, “explains Dr. Jorn Jorgensen from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, who helped develop the robot.
While there are some specific tests to prove the robot’s effectiveness against coronavirus, Nielsen is confident it will work effectively. “We know that they are killed by UV / C light”, says Dr. Jorn Jorgensen from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
“The disinfectant robot is not a silver bullet”, says Dr Ciric, but he adds that “the machine provides an additional line of defence.”
Dr Jorn Jorgensen, from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Copenhagen, agrees that UV disinfection robots can help combat coronavirus.
“It’s wise to be on the front line of infection control, “he says. “In order to achieve its full effect, UV must fall on the surface, and such shady areas cannot be disinfected because dirt and obstacles block the UVC light waves”.
“This requires manual cleaning, and the combination of autonomous robots is a new development”.
UV Light has Been Used for Years
UV light has been used for decades to purify water and air in laboratories, but not for medical purposes in virus killing, until now.
The American company Xenex has a LightStrike that must be installed and delivered manually, but the company has observed a significant increase in interest in the use of this technology in hospitals and other medical facilities.
In 2014, they were used in a Texas hospital to clear Ebola cases, and according to Xenex, numerous studies have shown that they both effectively reduce hospital infections and acquired infections, and fight so-called superbugs.
In California and Nebraska, they are already being used in hospitals to treat coronavirus patients, and in China, where the outbreak began, new technologies to combat the disease have been introduced. The machines have a range of use of up to 10,000 times that of conventional light beams, according to the manufacturers.
But there are challenges: “The robots are being used in hospitals, not just in the United States, but in other countries,” said Dr. Michael O’Neill, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The nation is a major donor of drones and robotic systems, and the use of UVC light beams to prevent and treat coronaviruses has been a challenge, he said.
“Not only a challenge to disinfect, but to build the amount of units required.”
Companies are Popping up Everywhere
Coronaviruses have spurred domestic and growing Chinese robotics companies to innovate. The Shenzhen-based YouiBot has already built autonomous robots and is rapidly adapting its technology to produce further disinfectants.
“We are trying to help, like everyone here in China, “YouiBot’s Keyman Guan said in an interview with China Daily on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The start-up has adapted the existing robot base software with thermal cameras and UV-C lamps. It has been delivered to factories, offices, airports and hospitals in Wuhan, but the effectiveness of the robots has not yet been evaluated. If you check your body temperature during the day and then go viral at night, you can’t go back, “he said.
Meanwhile, the supply of parts is hampered by the difficulties of keeping the coronavirus at bay and the industry is forced to find new solutions. “You can’t build anything with no parts available”, “Guan added, noting that things have improved in recent weeks.
PathogenUK is a company with innovative technologies in UVC disinfection. With a closed chamber system, the Room-30 is able to run while people are in the room and not exposed to harmful rays!
For professional areas and hospitals, our Elite-101 air sterilisation system can be wheeled room to room. It is able to sterilise areas up to 40m squared, disinfecting both the air and surfaces.
Oh, and the cost? Between £549-£1299. So a fraction of the cost of other professional systems.