Ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection was discovered in 1801 and UV germicidal irradiation was used for disinfection in 1910. While these disinfection methods have been used for centuries, following the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a broader interest in eliminating pathogens among all types of businesses. As a result, many organizations have created new or improved mandates to eliminate viruses and bacteria from their offices, hospitals, hotels, schools, and other spaces where people interact.
One of the best ways to remove germs from these places is using UV-C disinfection robots. This method is not only practical but is also cost-effective for continuous disinfection of almost any space. This article discusses UV-C disinfection in greater detail to help you select it over chemical and manual cleaning. Read on for more information about the effectiveness of this innovative method that’s redefining the landscape of disinfection.
What is UV Disinfection?
UV disinfection is a method of killing germs that utilizes UV light-emitting devices. The devices release UV light, electromagnetic radiation that sits between visible light and X-rays depending on the wavelength.
With a wavelength ranging between 10nm and 400nm, UV light exists in three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. Of these, UV-A has wavelength is the longest, UV-B the next shortest wavelength, and UV-Cs the shortest wavelength. UV-C wavelengths have the most energy and are the most effective among the three for disinfection.
How Does UV-C Disinfection Work?
UV light disinfection works by using a device that can either be handheld, mobile, or standalone. The UV-C disinfection device emits UV-C light, which targets the microorganisms, destroying their DNA. That’s because, when exposed to electromagnetic radiation within a particular wavelength, the genetic material of the microorganisms is modified. This limits the ability of the microorganisms to reproduce, preventing their spread on surfaces within your home.
A UV-C disinfection device targets DNA to cause thymine or cytosine dimer formation. It also goes after RNA to trigger uracil dimer formation. Thymine, cytosine, and uracil inactivate the microbes, causing mutation, failure to reproduce, and eventual death. A study funded by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that UV-C disinfection devices can enhance hospital disinfection by effectively eradicating MRSA, VRE, Acinetobacter, and C. difficile under experimental conditions.
According to recent research, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is highly susceptible to irradiation with ultraviolet light. High viral loads of 5 * 106 TCID50/ml SARS-CoV-2 can be inactivated in 9 minutes by UVC irradiation proving that UV-C irradiation represents a suitable disinfection method for SARS-CoV-2.
How Effective is UV-C Disinfection?
Because viruses contain RNA or DNA and are thus susceptible to irradiation, UV disinfection has been proven effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. Spores are susceptible to UV and bacteria and fungi, which both contain DNA, are similarly vulnerable to UV light.
With the longstanding use of UV for disinfection, there is a plethora of information regarding dosages necessary to inactivate different microorganisms. Bacteria are generally easier to inactivate than viruses, with fungi and spores being even harder to inactivate with UV.
The UV dose required for inactivation is the product of UV intensity [I] (expressed as energy per unit surface area) and exposure time [T]. Therefore: DOSE = I x T
This dose is commonly expressed as millijoule per square centimeter (mJ/cm2).
The reduction of micro-organisms is classified using a logarithmic scale. A single log reduction is a 90% reduction of organisms. A Log2 reduction is a 99% reduction of organisms, followed by a Log3 reduction (99.9%), etc. For example, independent testing shows that OhmniClean™ 254nm UV-C solution rapidly eliminates pathogens like MRSA, VRE, P. aeruginosa, E. coli and SARS-COV-2 with an efficacy of 99.999%.
It’s interesting to note that the degree of inactivation by ultraviolet radiation follows the Inverse Square Rule which holds that a surface that is 2x as far from the light source requires 4x the exposure to have the same effect. A surface 3x farther away requires 9X exposure.
Benefits of UV-C Disinfection
UV-C disinfection is very effective in killing all types of bacteria and other germs. In recent days, researchers have proposed it as being effective in disinfecting surfaces that COVID-19 might contaminate. Compared to chemical and physical disinfection, UV-C disinfection has the following benefits:
Highly Effective: The major benefit of UV-C disinfection is that it is more effective than other germ removal methods. That’s because it targets and kills all bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other germs. The shorter wavelength in UV-C light targets germs in their DNA or RNA, deactivating them so that they can no longer replicate and spread throughout your home.
Easy to Use: UV-C disinfection systems are generally easy to set up and can be placed at the proper exposure distances. They will destroy all microbes as they shine the light on the targeted surface, leaving it disinfected.
Non-Toxic: With UV-C disinfection, you can avoid detergents, disinfectants, and other chemicals used in physical disinfection. While harmful to humans, the light is eco-friendly and won’t harm the environment after finishing its work. You can use it safely in a hospital, clinic, office, restaurant, or hotel without worrying about the contamination of food preparation surfaces.
Prevents Drug Resistance: Unlike chemicals, which cause resistance in microbial, UV-C light does no such thing. Therefore, robot disinfecting is likely to solve the problem that makes it hard to disinfect your surfaces. Bacterial cannot build immunity to UV-C rays, making it easier for you to sterilize your environment.
Cost-Effective: If you plan to use UV-C disinfection, the only thing you need to buy is a device that emits light with a short wavelength. If you choose to purchase a UV-C disinfecting robot, you will forego high labor rates and exorbitant prices to acquire chemicals. A manual disinfection solution, for example, can cost $250,000 for labor over 5 years.
Mobile or Static Solutions: A UV-C disinfection system may be portable or not. In some places, such as guest rooms, you can install permanent devices to use whenever there is a need. However, newer options include autonomous robots which can get closer to surfaces for maximum exposure in the shortest amount of time. It’s possible for a mobile robot to automatically position itself for the best UV light coverage, eliminating shadows cast by static UV units.
About OhmniClean Disinfection Robot
The OhmniClean™ Disinfection Robot uses UV-C light to give your clinic, office, hotel or workplace a more thorough cleaning. It makes sure that your spaces are completely bacteria-free, finishing the work 80% faster than physical and chemical cleaning.
It is easy to use and faster than other types of UV-C disinfecting solutions. The device is safe, using motion sensors, a unique safety system and remote switches to keep you out of harm while it’s disinfecting your environment. Other key features include:
Highly-effective Autonomous Disinfection
As OhmniClean drives autonomously through a space, its UV-C lamps can get closer to surfaces than static devices, delivering a greater dose of UV-C exposure. As the robot passes a single point, it can deliver enough light for greater than a Log1 reduction.
OhmniClean delivers 1.3mW/cm^2 at 1m away, Log3 reduction of SARS-CoV-2 is 3.7mJ/cm^2, the robot moves at 0.1m/s in motion, ie. only 3 seconds are needed for a Log3 reduction of SARS-CoV-2. This method also eliminates any problems introduced by object shadowing.
Easy Set-Up and Use: Very little training is needed. OhmniClean can be set up and operated by unskilled labor, saving on labor costs. The typical turnaround for each room is 10 minutes. Mapping the areas to be cleaned can be also be done quickly and easily, making OhmniClean ideal for cleaning areas where room configuration changes on a regular basis.
Minimal Turn-around Time + Continuous Operation: OhmniClean can disinfect a 3,000 sq. ft. room in under 15 minutes. Plus, it can be run nearly non-stop with 100% utilization. As designed, OhmniClean’s battery is swappable to allow for consistent cleaning, reducing the need for multiple machines. The result is that more areas can be cleaned in one shift. Moreover, extra batteries are far less expensive than the cost of additional UV-C-C machines.
Swappable Modules: Unique to OhmniClean are swappable modules that allow for fast and easy maintenance with stock replaceable parts. The modules also allow for fast and easy transportation, they reduce maintenance cost, and minimize downtime. For example, if the UV light portion of the robot needs to be replaced, it can be detached from the base of the robot. The same is true of the batteries.
Compact and Easy to Maneuver: At 58 pounds, OhmniClean is relatively lightweight compared to other units. Its low weight reduces the risk of user injury, especially when it’s being fully utilized by maneuvering or transport the machine from one facility to another. At 14” W x 18” L, OhmniClean can disinfect even the smallest of spaces or spaces with limited maneuverability.
In-Depth Reporting and Results Auditing: With OhmniClean, you can easily identify which areas were cleaned and the level of cleanliness by monitoring and reviewing reports. This reporting can be provided to customers, monitors, and/or regulators and provides added assurance that manual systems cannot provide.
UV-C disinfection is one of the most effective ways to kill germs at home or your business premises. Whether you operate a hotel, restaurant, or hospital, UV-C rays can kill all bacteria, leaving you with adequately sterilized surfaces. Unlike physical or chemical disinfection, which could leave germs on some surfaces, UV-C disinfection kills all. It is easy to use and doesn’t develop resistance traits, as with chemical disinfection. Finally, UV-C disinfection is cost-effective, trouble-free, and can work without moving.