Admittedly, the Sterisafe Pro robot does not look particularly remarkable – in essence, it is a square box on wheels. But what is remarkable is what this system – created by the Danish company Sterisafe – can offer. Placed in a room contaminated with viruses, bacteria, spores, or fungi, it can rid it of 99.99 percent of all harmful particles within one and a half to two and a half hours, depending on the size of the room. It does this fully autonomously and with complete thoroughness.
The right product at the right time
All over the world, the subject of hospital hygiene has been an issue since long before Covid-19. In Europe alone, around 37,000 people die every year from infections that they have caught in medical practices. At the beginning of 2020, the global coronavirus pandemic drew even more attention to this issue. Overnight, it became essential to reliably disinfect scores of rooms in hospitals to contain the spread of the virus. The same was true for medical practices and emergency departments.
Just a few months before the outbreak of the pandemic, Sterisafe brought its robot-based disinfection solution, Sterisafe Pro, to market. Therefore, it was immediately able to deliver what was urgently needed: a mobile, low-cost disinfection solution that gives viruses no chance. Eliot Booth, CEO of Sterisafe, explains: “The Sterisafe Pro is much more efficient than solutions that use UV light or detergents. We use ozone, which can penetrate even the narrowest gaps, to disinfect contaminated ambient air, as well as surfaces and objects such as wheelchairs and hospital beds. This means that costly cleaning agents and chemical additives are not required.”
Sterisafe employees tinker with the robot's physical processes ... (Photo | Sterisafe)
... and hardware. (Photo | Sterisafe)
Cleaning contaminated indoor air
The Sterisafe Pro can disinfect rooms that have a volume of up to 130 cubic meters. To start the process, the robot is placed in the room, connected to the mains, and filled with water. It must then be ensured that the room is completely sealed, including ventilation outlets and fire alarms. A tablet shows the operator which steps must be completed and in which order. The disinfection process can then be started remotely.
The Sterisafe Pro sucks in the contaminated ambient air and uses the water and energy to convert it into ozone, which is fed back into the room. The gas flows everywhere, gets onto every surface, into every gap, and ensures that no harmful particles remain anywhere in the room. After the space has been completely flooded with ozone, the gas is sucked back into the robot system, and converted back into pure oxygen. In this step, even the smallest particles and nanoparticles are reliably killed, and the purified air is then fed back into the room. Once the disinfection process has been completed, a message appears on the tablet to alert the user, and the room is immediately safe to enter and use again. Additional ventilation is not required.
Prerequisite: high performance of the fan
Powerful and reliable fans are essential for the disinfection cycle to be successful. Eliot Booth says: “We decided to use one of ebm-papst’s EC centrifugal fans because it is adjustable without steps and delivers the high performance level that we need to ensure that the ozone is reliably distributed throughout the entire room, and the contaminated gas is sucked back in from every corner without leaving any residue.” In addition, the fan is used to dissipate the heat from the compressor, to prevent the robot from overheating.
“The Corona situation has made it clear how important hygiene is. But the challenge has always been there.”
Eliot Booth, CEO of Sterisafe
The patented solution is now in use not only in hospitals, but also in veterinary practices, the food industry, and facility management. Development of even more compact models has begun – e.g. for use in emergency vehicles. Eliot Booth: “The Corona situation has made it clear how important hygiene is. But the challenge has always been there. In hospitals in Europe alone, around 37,000 people die each year as a result of infections they have contracted within the hospital walls. Therefore, it is surprising to me that most hospitals still only have to disinfect manually when you know how difficult it is to get everything cleaned optimally in that way.”