How UV Robots Are Revolutionising The Way We Disinfect
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
Technological innovation is responsible for us leading more convenient and connected lives. It presents solutions to enable swift, professional and efficient day to day operations and evolves at lightning speed to satisfy a multitude of worldwide demands.
Lighting the way to a safe future
The recent pandemic highlights how rapidly we need to respond and since COVID-19 hit the headlines, we have seen multiple market entrants to try and overcome the restrictions that this virus has imposed. Making use of existing, and development of new technology has been necessary to ensure we can adapt and flex to accommodate a new way of living and working.
Swansea based Evolve Raybotix is a prize example of how their suite of cutting-edge robots is supporting businesses in returning to normality in the wake of Coronavirus.
Evolve Raybotix secured the licence to distribute UV-C Ozone disinfection robots from Italian Engineers and AI experts Autognity as soon as they released the robots in May 2020 having spent two solid months to get the product to market. Autognity deliver innovative solutions for the likes of Maserati and Ferrari so quality is at the forefront of what they do.
Director of Autognity Enzo Catenacci said:
“When the pandemic hit, we talked about how we, as a well-resourced organisation, felt obliged to use our skills in engineering – inventing something new to contain the biological risk."
“Seeing daily infection rates rapidly increase meant bringing this product to market was time critical. The team worked around the clock to deliver a solution in less than 2 months despite supply chain challenges and swift onboarding of staff to facilitate speed. There is concern about the confidence and safety of the public and an obligation to do everything possible to support the recovery of our country.”
The robots use UV-C light supported by Ozone gas for maximum sanitisation and peace of mind. These robots come in three sizes which enables application to a wide range of sectors and spaces – with the largest model being able to operate completely remotely and autonomously based on technology which allows for thorough mapping and sanitisation of large areas without the need for an operator on site.
The possibilities this presents to sectors such as Healthcare, Retail, Manufacturing and Hospitality are tenfold – from minimising downtime of income generating space to low cost sanitisation solutions which are guaranteed to destroy 99.9% of viruses and other pathogenic organisms without additional manpower.
A new way of living, working and enjoying
As business such as restaurants, hotels, cinemas, sports centres, offices, clinics and schools reopen, there is mounting pressure on maintaining high levels of cleanliness to minimise the spread of the virus. Organizations are having to invest in personal protective equipment and take extra steps to guarantee a safe environment for both staff and visitors.
The general public are becoming far more conscious of steps they can, and should, take to staying safe when home, outdoors and when visiting other spaces. Washing hands, wearing facemasks and keeping a safe distance now feel routine and thoughts are that the pandemic has permanently altered the way we will work in the future. The Society of Human Resources Management reported that about 17% of the HR leaders in some 2,284 US companies reported their organisations will move to permanent work-from-home policies in the future for their employees. Of 2,284 HR professionals who were surveyed recently by the group, Chief Knowledge Officer for the SHRM said that 10% of those respondents were large enterprises, 30% were medium-sized businesses and 60% were SMBs.
These are difficult decisions to make – particularly where organisations have invested heavily in new workspaces, campuses, and environments to attract, engage and retain employees. We have witnessed heavy ‘densifying’ of office spaces for years to maximise efficiencies and we now must de-densify to satisfy social distancing rules. The fear is that non-compliance leads to absence and no organisation wants staff sick or rumours of COVID spreading in their space.
Adapting to the new normal
Of course, there are sectors and businesses who have no option to work from home therefore implementation and maintenance of strong safe processes are essential for business continuity.
Manufacturing and hospitality for instance rely heavily on workers being present – and, in the latter case, a good footfall of customers is also of benefit. Not only are these workers present and coping with the challenges of operating in a time where restrictions are placed on customers and suppliers, they are also being asked to maintain awareness of their own, and others safety.
Whether that is through one-way traffic systems, bringing in ones own mug/cutlery or taking responsibility for their own personal and space hygiene – there are clearly additional ‘domestic effects’ on ones working life.
Understanding and accommodating various changes, legal requirements and new responsibilities is critical to maintain standards and ensure individuals and businesses are compliant with all government or industry guidelines.
A clean focus
Cleaning has become a far more rigorous regime with greater investment in disinfection equipment, solutions, and routines.
Whilst Evolve Raybotix robots do not eliminate the need for clearing waste (the robot will not put your rubbish in the bin or wipe coffee stains off surfaces), the disinfection aspect is unquestionable. The UV-C and Ozone disinfection cycle offers an element of consistency to what may be considered an ambiguous role.
A cleaning company for a sandwich franchise in Swansea may have different cycles and operating standards to a cleaning company for the Lyon branch. The use of NEO, EOS or SOL eliminates ambiguity and reassures the senior management team that all premises are fully disinfected, effectively and consistently.
The UV-C disinfection robots are easy to operate and quickly sanitize space efficiently – removing 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens. The purpose of these robots is to minimize any risk associated with the presence of dangerous microorganisms. Regular disinfection using the UV-C robot will keep the bioburden of any room, area, or space as low as can be – maintaining a safe environment for visitors and staff.
Bioburden is defined as the number of organisms including bacteria, fungi, moulds and viruses on surfaces and in spaces. The term is often used when referring to ‘microbial testing’ – also known as microbial limit analysis which is performed on pharmaceutical products and medical devices for quality management and contamination risk management purposes.
Reassurance through research
As part of their rigorous evaluation processes, Evolve Raybotix undertook its own laboratory testing to determine the efficacy of the robots in both controlled and uncontrolled environments. One experiment used medical grade bacteria in a laboratory-controlled setting, whereas the second involved taking swabs from a company canteen area which is frequented by circa 65 employees per day.
Areas such as door and fridge handles, canteen tables and chairs were swabbed before and after the room was disinfected by the NEO model robot – the smallest and least powerful of the range which is most suited to areas of around 25m2.
The results showed that the disinfection efficiency involved a 98% reduction in bacteria and viruses in the non-controlled environment, and 99.9% reduction in the laboratory-controlled review. Both astoundingly positive outcomes which have been hugely useful in securing contracts and sales.
Evolve Raybotix has been keen to share the details of these experiments complete with images, supplier details (medical grade bacteria) and results with those who require reassurance that the products work, are effective and can be easily deployed in their workspace to protect staff and visitors.
Evolve Raybotix also provides its clients full support on the use of the robots and the setup of effective and thorough disinfection programs.
The robots have been developed by engineers who are renowned for their attention to detail in creating artificial intelligence systems for high value vehicles.
Whilst they are sophisticated in their design and complex scientifically, the operating software is accessible and easy to use. The machines work off their own internal Wi-Fi, therefore can be programmed from a tablet or smart phone next to, or within range of the machine itself.
The robot can also be programmed using the machine screen – so if for any reason Wi-Fi is unreachable or tablets and phones are out of charge, the robot can be programmed manually with plenty of time allowed by the robot for the operator to leave the room before the cycle starts.
How to Sanatise & Disinfect a Hotel Room
If we take the example of a Hotel Room, the process would be as follows.
Step 1: The hotel rooms are cleaned and disinfected following normal routines with your in-house or commercial cleaners removing debris, tidying the space, emptying bins and sanitizing surfaces as per their usual procedures and standards.
Step 2: The robot is positioned in the centre of the room and power is switched on.
Step 3: The robot, once active, will display a log in screen. Connect the smart phone or tablet to the robots Wi-Fi. Do this via ‘settings’ ‘Wi-Fi’ on the smartphone/tablet and the Wi-Fi hotspot should appear. Log in using the username and password provided by supplier. Alternatively, one can log directly using the touchscreen on the unit itself.
Step 4: Once logged in, the robot will provide several options. If disinfecting a space for the first time, for the most effective outcome you will need to map the area using the LiDAR technology integrated above the UV-C bulbs.
Select map area and allow the LiDAR to rotate, scanning the room for surfaces and size so it can then advise on the optimum positions and cycle length for it to be in before it starts its cycle.
(Alternatively, for a quick disinfection, ‘preset disinfection’ is chosen, and a specific duration time or area is specified for the disinfection run. In such a case disinfection can be carried out in a quick two-step process)
Step 5: Name the map area and note the location so that this space can be easily selected again when repeating the cycle.
Step 6: Return to home screen to start disinfection. Select the mapped area that you have just named and choose the ‘Custom disinfection’ cycle. You can opt to sanitise with or without ozone and choose to switch on/off the movement detection. Start the cycle.
You can opt to sanitise with or without ozone and choose to switch on/off the movement detection. Start the cycle.
Step 7: As the robot indicates it is about to commence its cycle, the light above the UV-C bulbs will change to blue, the robot will start beeping and you will have a minimum of 15 seconds to leave the room.
Step 8: Your smart phone or tablet (or the screen on the unit) will have a countdown timer to indicate how long the cycle should take. Await completion of the cycle and a confirmation beep before returning to the area/room.
Step 9: Repeat steps 6-8 if the robot needs to be moved to alternative locations as specified by the robot itself. When complete the unit will beep and the LED light will turn to green to show cycle success. Afterwards carefully move the robot into the next area to be sanitized.
Step 10: Seal the recently sanitized room to indicate that the bioburden has been minimized and will remain at this low level until someone enters the room. A report will be generated and can be saved for auditing/certification purposes.
The ability to sanitise a space, vacate and seal is highly desirable in the travel industry but also has value elsewhere.
For example, police interviews and forensic lab testing where contamination of evidence will greatly impact conviction and justice.
The confidence that Evolve Raybotix is giving to these constabularies that rely on rigorous cleansing processes far surpasses anything that has gone before them and the team are delighted to be working with several who make full use of the robot features to minimize any contamination as well as maintain safe spaces for staff and visitors.
These disinfecting robots are being distributed exclusively in the UK via Evolve Raybotix based in the ILS2 at Swansea University.