Hospitals have successfully added robot control technology to their armoury in the fight against Covid-19. Mike Bowden (pictured), sales director of UVD Robots UK, explains: “Whilst successful with hospitals using our robot as part of their routine decontamination process, we have now seen a large upswing in enquiries across the UK in direct relation to Covid-19.
“Leading NHS trusts are now implementing the robots to autonomously disinfect large key patient areas and operating theatres on a daily basis. Some have initially deployed their robots to assist in the decontamination of their PPE.
“Infection prevention and control teams and domestic services have now seen that the robot can not only protect patients, it can also protect their staff and all healthcare workers.”
The UVD Robot is designed to be used as part of a hospital’s regular cleaning process. The robot is safe, reliable and user-friendly, designed to be operated by domestic operatives or nursing staff. Mike says: “The domestic teams look at the robot as one of their colleagues. It is always ready to go to work, night and day.”
The UVD Robot has been clinically tested and verified at Odense University Hospital and Danish Technological institute. It has also been tested by the UK independent laboratory, Melbec Microbiology.
Professor Val Edwards-Jones commented: “Coronaviruses (CoVs) are enveloped positive-sense RNA viruses and currently Covid-19 is causing a global epidemic. The exact nature of the survival of these organisms in the environment are currently unknown but previous studies on a related strain (the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) it is estimated to survive several days in the environment, and the Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) can withstand more than 48 hours at average room temperature on different surfaces.”*
Although disinfection of the environment is achievable through a variety of fogging devices and typical cleaning methods, these are time-consuming and can be expensive. UV-C light provides an alternative method of decontaminating the environment during this epidemic period.
There are a number of UV-C devices commercially available. However, most require manual placement within an area. These manual devices can give shadowing effects which drastically reduces their UV-C intensity and the distance from potential contaminated surfaces can vary enormously. They can also be time-consuming to operate.
“Our UVD Robot is capable of autonomously repositioning its UV-C emitter, negating shadowing and closeness to a surface,” says Mike. “This repositioning can be repeated numerous times ensuring the maximum UV-C intensity possible is radiated on to all surfaces and the environment. The UV-C emitter is equipped with UV-C lamps @254nm, giving a 360o coverage.”
The UVD Robot is used as part of the regular cleaning cycle and aims to prevent and reduce the spread of infectious diseases, viruses, bacteria and other types of harmful organic microorganisms in the environment by breaking down their DNA structure. The system has been shown to achieve up to Log 7. While UV light is invisible to the naked eye, the lamps have a colour when switched on, so you know they are operating.
Once mapped to an area, the unit drives around and positions itself autonomously in relation to its surroundings. The machine treats surfaces with UV-C light from several angles and up close. It disinfects all contact surfaces, stopping at pre-defined hotspots that require a longer exposure time. The UV-C disinfection robot does not replace the manual cleaning regime – it is designed as a complementary process, offering a second layer of infection prevention.
Hospitals report that the UVD robot dramatically speeds up the process normally achieved by operator-controlled UV-C systems, enabling the area to be quickly returned for further use, safe in the knowledge that it is fully decontaminated.
Mike adds: “Since the emergence of Covid-19 and the desire to get various sectors back to work, we have had enquiries from many sectors outside of healthcare. These include hotels, airports and supermarkets. Our robot is currently being used globally in all types of environments by trained operators to ensure its safe use.”
*van Doremalen et al 2013; Otter et al 2016; Lai et al 2005; Dowell et al 2004.