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Pittsburgh International Airport Leads the Way in Testing UV Cleaning Robots

As the world is grappling with Covid-19, technology is playing a pivotal role by bringing in cutting-edge disinfection solutions. One such solution that has taken the industry by storm is Disinfection Robots. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Pittsburgh International Airport are extensively using Smart Robots to provide their travelers with higher standards of cleanliness. The latter being the first airport in the US to test UV-cleaning Robots to eliminate coronavirus from surfaces.

Usage of Intelligent Robots for disinfection purposes is not only limited to airports as more and more hotels are coming forward to use this technology to pioneer a new era of impeccable hygiene for their guests. According to Forbes, some of the big names include – Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, The Beverly Hilton and Crowne Plaza White Plains-Downtown. It is being reported that usually it takes 8-10 minutes for a robot to sanitize the room – cleaning robots are indeed finding their way into guests’ room.

Since these robots are self-sufficient, they reduce the risk of further contamination for the cleaning staff as well. After seeing their success in sanitizing the hospitals, they were considered for high-traffic spaces like airports. “Passengers don’t just want to see a clean airport – they want to know it’s clean and they want to know it’s safe. Ultra-violet robots have been used in hospitals as a way to disinfect and kill microorganisms, so it is definitely something that makes sense for an airport,” asserted Katherine Karolick, Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Pittsburgh International Airport as reported by International Airport Review.

In fact, JetBlue Airways is spearheading the conversation by being the first US airline to deploy Ultraviolet Cleaning Robots as part of its pilot program. According to officials the robotic system can traverse an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes. “With the safety of our crewmembers and customers our first priority, JetBlue’s Safety from the Ground Up initiative is maintaining a layered approach to safety by ensuring healthy crewmembers, providing flexibility, adding space, reducing touchpoints, and keeping surfaces clean and sanitized,” explains Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue’s president and COO, while speaking to NBC New York.

It is evident that airport authorities are pushing the envelope to restore the confidence of travelers and assuring them that their safety is being taken care of. Experts believe with the support of breakthrough technology such as UV Robots, gradually the industry will be able to recover and people will move around continents, freely, like before.

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Harvard Medical School Professor Supports Upper-room UV Germicidal Irradiation to Kill Airborne Pathogens

When it comes to keeping our surroundings clean, we all are very cautious about the surfaces, however, air disinfection is generally overlooked. With offices, schools, restaurants and commercial activities gradually opening up, there’s a higher possibility of disease-causing pathogens getting transmitted from the air in such closed environments.

It is here that Upper-room Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation comes into picture, which is believed to destroy the bacteria and viruses floating in the air. “We have struggled in the past to see this highly effective, very safe technology fully implemented for airborne infections,” asserted Dr. Edward A. Nardell, a professor of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School while speaking to The New York Times a couple of months ago. “We’ve done the studies. We know it works.”

That Sunlight disinfects is a universal fact and this technology would mean bringing the same, indoors. Putting the debate of harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays to rest, this upper-room UV technology makes use of UVC light, which is considered safe for humans. Though it can cause irritation on the skin and in the eyes, it is said to clear up in a couple of days. To be more prudent, the light is usually placed at a height way above people’s head or is generally put to use when the space is unoccupied. According to Dr. Nardell, the safety of UVC light is really long established.

Since these upper-air UV fixtures are either mounted on walls or ceilings they are immobile, which puts their efficiency for bigger spaces under the scanner. As Jelena Srebric, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland specifies, “The mall owners are calling with the exact same question.” Consequently, ceiling fans are being used to circulate the air and push it upward so that floating bacteria and viruses are annihilated faster. It is reported that ceiling fans improved the efficiency by about a third.

Dr. Srebric and Dr. Nardell are now applying the models to bigger spaces like airports and retail stores and are sure that it will definitely improve the safety factor.

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Airborne Transmission Pushes Restaurateurs to Invest in UV Disinfection

Increasing concerns regarding air transmission of harmful pathogens have pushed restaurant owners to invest in UVC light devices that could disinfect both air and surfaces. This holds true as these dine in spaces host people in closed environments without masks, when the risk of airborne transmission could be particularly high.

In June this year, celebrity chef Bruno Serato of the Anaheim White House in the Orange County of California invested about $7,000 on the new UV equipment to make his customers feel at ease. He also outfitted a UVC system inside his air conditioning fixtures.

Taking it a step further, Silver Diner, country’s famous restaurant chain spent about $500,000 on ultraviolet cleaning systems that could disinfect both air and surfaces. These germicidal irradiation systems are being used in all of its 20 locations and are either installed in air conditioning equipment or air purifiers or overhead fixtures, that are also known as upper-room UV fixtures.

Justifying the huge investment, Silver Diner co-owner, Ype Von Hengst told nbcwashington, “It’s costly, but I think everyone will do it because it’s less costly than not having guests in your restaurants.” He also adds how investing in UV Light disinfection devices is in the best interest of his staff and customers.

There are many others who are following in the footsteps of Serato and Von Hengst to keep their restaurants up and running during a pandemic like this.

Here, it is important to throw some light on CDC’s new guidelines, published this October, which confirmed that the principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus. It further elaborated on how these respiratory viruses are transmitted in multiple ways.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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