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The Future of Disinfection: How to Use UV Light in Your Facility

Promote safety and uptime.

October 27, 2020

One big challenge that businesses and public places have faced throughout COVID-19 has been ensuring that shared spaces are adequately cleaned and disinfected. While we all (hopefully) learned how to wash our hands, the pandemic has opened the public's eyes to the number of surfaces touched by numerous people each day. Facility managers have a responsibility to safeguard and protect guests and employees with regular cleaning and sanitation practices. While there are many options available, ultraviolet (UV) light sanitizers have proven to be the safest and least caustic way to kill microorganisms.

How UV-C Light Kills Microorganisms

First, a quick science lesson: About 10 percent of the sun's light falls in the ultraviolet range. There are three types of UV light:

  • UVA: near UV (315–400 nm)
  • UVB: middle UV (280–315 nm)
  • UVC: far UV (180–280 nm)

Only about 3-4 percent of the sun's UV light penetrates the earth's atmosphere enough to reach the ground. Of the UV radiation that reaches the earth, 95 percent is UVA, and five percent is UVB. No measurable UVC from the sun reaches the earth's surface. 

Due to the spectral sensitivity of DNA, only UVC light demonstrates significant germicidal properties. Ultraviolet light sanitizers produce a UVC non-visible light that inactivates microorganisms at the cellular level, preventing them from multiplying and spreading infection. 

The ultimate result is 99.9% eradication of all bacteria, viruses, and molds.

Facilities managers are deploying UVC light globally to fight the COVID-19 strain using UV-Clean devices. These devices help eradicate harmful bacteria and antibiotic-resistant viruses, including coronaviruses SARS and MERS.  

What about chemical disinfectants?

Facility managers are working harder than ever to protect their customers and staff by frequently cleaning common touchpoints in their spaces. A common sanitization technique is to use chemical disinfectants to wipe down equipment after each use. While this is appropriate for shopping carts, pens, tabletops, and door handles, neither liquids nor chemicals go well with electronics. Certain chemicals can degrade protective coatings or even cause device malfunction. The more employees clean electronic devices with chemical sterilizers, the more degraded these devices can become and increase the likelihood of terminal failure. In contrast, UVC light devices are harmless to electronics.

Are UVC Wands Effective?

While UVC light wands function similarly to stationary UVC mounts in theory, in functionality, they leave a lot to be desired.

  1. Wands require attendants to wave light over touchpoints manually. This means that employees are taken away from other potential duties.
  2. Since researchers have no idea of the dose, distance, or time to disable SARS-CoV-2, these lights could give employees a false sense of security.
  3. Wands are typically battery powered and may struggle with peak performance or become inactive with low battery power.

How to Find, Choose, and Implement UVC Light

The best way to protect devices regularly handled by multiple customers or staff is hands-free UVC light stations. Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions for different types of setups. To find the best UVC light solution for your business, look for devices with independent studies to back them up. Additionally, compare devices that offer specs and instructions for use. Some UVC light sanitizers will work better for different types of shared devices. For example:

Multifunction Printers or Check Scanners

Consider stand-alone UVC units that can safely and quickly disinfect a variety of devices.

Digital Signage 

Consider mounts that perfectly fit the device and are minimally invasive.

Shared Keyboards

Consider discrete desktop mounted UVC lights that focus light on a stationary touch surface.

 Payment Terminals

Consider UVC lights that mount above a payment terminal and don't prevent the functionality of the terminal.

 

UVC light is the future of disinfection, particularly for business applications. If you need help determining the best UVC light solution for your needs, consider scheduling a free consultation with our technology experts. We can even help with the installation, training, and maintenance of all devices. 

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