Disinfection Robots Keep Shoppers Safe During the Weekly Grocery Shop
We’ve written over the course of this year about the adoption of UV-C robot disinfection technology across a huge variety of industries, to be utilised to make public and private spaces safer for the use of all. This is a subject we’re hugely passionate about, so we’re always ready to celebrate when we see UV-C disinfection technology being used in new and sometimes surprising places.
For those who work for supermarket organisations, and anyone that experienced how the weekly grocery shop was transformed by COVID-19 safety measures, it is easy to imagine how far UV-C sanitisation technology can go to create safer shopping aisles.
In this article, we’ll explore a recent news story of how UVD Robots in Denmark is making supermarkets safer environments, all to make the weekly shop less stressful.
Could UV-C hospital grade disinfection boost consumer confidence in supermarkets?
For anyone employed by a supermarket since the beginning of the global pandemic, it’s not much of a stretch to remember the significant safety measures put in place to protect staff and visitors; in fact, many of these measures remain in place today.
At the height of the pandemic, especially during the first and second waves, safety measures included: a restricted number of visitors allowed in-store at any one time, social distancing queues outside and at checkout, one-way systems – in exits and aisles, more regular cleaning, the set-up of sanitation stations and much more.
Today, much of this legacy remains, with sanitation points a regular sight in supermarkets. Another preserve of COVID-19 protocols includes plastic screens at checkout to protect employees and greater levels of cleaning regularly.
However, supermarkets can indeed go further. The utilisation of UV-C technology can build customer confidence and improve footfall, reduce staff illness and absences and protect customers from infections.
This is exactly what UVD Robots is doing in Denmark.
Just how clean are supermarkets anyway?
After an order of 200 UV-C robots from the European Commission in November 2020, a further order of 100 additional robots was made to UVD Robots in September.
UVD Robots has partnered with OCC Commercial Consulting, enabling the distribution of the robots to supermarkets, primarily in Germany to begin with.
There is a pressing need for this partnership, not just in the context of COVID-19, but in the fight against all infections. Supermarkets are high traffic areas, and according to a study, the average British consumer spends approximately two and half hours per week in the supermarket.
This is significant because grocery items can carry pathogens from the supermarket into households. Contracting COVID-19 is a much lower risk when touching infected surfaces, compared to breathing in airborne droplets. However both are possible in a supermarket, so to disinfect potentially infected items or surfaces, shoppers can turn to a regular disinfectant.
Investing in UV-C disinfection technology can reduce staff absences
A 2017 study revealed just how dirty supermarkets can be. It found that shopping trolley handles have 361 times more bacteria present than a bathroom doorknob, 75% of those germs found, were considered harmful to humans. Any germ or pathogen on a supermarket trolley could lead to illnesses and absences in a supermarket’s workforce, which over time have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line. Furthermore, serious illnesses contracted by store customers could lead to legal and financial ramifications for a supermarket.
Another key touchpoint in every supermarket is less than sanitary. The study found that supermarket fridge doors have 1,235 times more bacteria on their surfaces than mobile phones. To make matters worse, one of the most commonly found bacteria on fridge doors is unaffected by antibiotics.
Supermarkets that take the precaution of UV-C disinfection significantly minimise these risks for both customers and employees, creating a safer environment for all. This is because UV-C technology can kill 99.9% of germs and pathogens. Moreover, with the application of Ozone dispersal, which our technology possesses, shaded areas which can easily be overlooked by manual cleaning methods are also targeted by UV-C light disinfection.
UV-C light can eliminate viral particles which sit on supermarket surfaces, as well as germs such as E. Coli and viruses which cause more commonplace viral infections such as the common cold, all of which create staff absences and impact supermarket’s profits – whether a new strain of COVID-19 develops, or infections this coming winter flu season are particularly widespread.
Why is UV-C disinfection ideal for busy supermarkets?
As mentioned earlier, supermarket aisles are very busy places, especially during daytime shopping hours. One of the main benefits of our technology is that it can navigate autonomously using motion sensing cameras. This means our robots can be set on a disinfection cycle at night or early morning, when a supermarket is closed.
Our largest disinfection robot, SOL, can navigate autonomously throughout tight spaces, so a supermarket aisle poses its artificial intelligence no problems. SOL has a disinfection cycle of 7-16 minutes and can clean up to 100m2 in that very short timeframe.
SOL is medical grade, meaning it was designed with healthcare settings in mind, as well as large industrial spaces, such as warehouses and supermarkets which require regular cleaning.