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Olek Berezecky

Electronics Engineer

Sanitizing & Disinfecting with UVC LED Technology

COVID-19, How To's

During this COVID-19 pandemic, keeping spaces and equipment clean and sanitary is a top priority. The search for viable solutions has reached new heights. Before organizations choose a method for disinfecting, sterilizing, or destroying harmful micro-organisms, it is smart to understand the best options currently available. Many are turning to ultraviolet light (UVC) Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) to meet this growing need. I would like to present the valuable benefits of UVC LEDs, a word of caution in its use, and our firsthand experience using this technology.

 

Benefits

UVC LEDs are an attractive alternative to keeping equipment and entire spaces sanitized. They offer many advantages over traditional-cleaning techniques. Here are the primary benefits.

 

Easy-to-use with thorough coverage. Let’s look at an example. By mounting an array of UV-rated LEDs in a designated clean environment, a space (fully evacuated of humans) can be completely sanitized in a short period of time with the simple flip of a switch. Contrast this method with giving an individual the responsibility to hand clean every inch of the space. Often, spots are missed which may allow for any bacteria or virus to remain active for long periods of time.

 

No need for storage. Another point of contention with traditional, powerful, chemical-cleaning agents is that (while effective) they must be stored in mass quantities—especially when regular, intermittent sanitization is required. There is no storage necessary with UVC LEDs.

 

Efficient. LED technology has come a long way in the realm of efficiency and may very well outweigh the carbon footprint needed to produce and store traditional cleaning products. A one-time installed UVC LED system can be reused repeatedly with minimal power consumption. This also prevents introducing additional cleaning personnel to a contaminated environment and risking further exposure.

 

Versatile. UV lights are versatile in the surfaces they can sanitize. Fabrics, metals, and plastics can be placed in designated sanitization areas to be safely cleaned with UVC LEDs.

 

A Word of Caution

It’s important to note that while a space or product is being actively sanitized, no one should be directly or indirectly exposed to the UVC light. Areas to be sanitized should be void of all people. UVC light is one of three bands of UV within the wavelength spectrum that falls below visible light. At 100-280nm, UVC light can be effectively used to sanitize; however, it can also cause moderate to severe damage to the skin and/or eyes if proper safety precautions are not followed.

The other two bands, UVA and UVB, have a wavelength of 315-400nm and 280-315nm, respectively. These are the more common type of UV that we experience on a daily basis from the sun as UVC is the only one completely filtered out by our atmosphere. UVA is commonly used in black lights and for skin tanning. UVB is often used for certain skin therapies. Both UVA and UVB can cause moderate to severe damage to the skin from prolonged exposure.

 

 

Experience

The team at DISHER has conducted research on selecting efficient UV-rated LEDs and designing the PCBs that house them to create testable prototypes. Our team also has designed and developed software and hardware to implement mounted HI-UVC LEDs into spaces that are controlled via MCU logic. This type of system design ensures that the UV lights are only turned on when a space is free of any human presence and for specified periods of time for safety and minimal power waste. UV radiation is dangerous, and it’s important that the designers behind any related product are taking every precaution to minimize exposure to humans while sanitizing.

While the function of a system is important, the visual representation of the system is equally valuable. The housing of UVC LEDs should be non-intrusive and blend in with the space it is designed for. The inclusion of visual indicators to signal whether sanitization is occurring or not also provides peace of mind when using UVC LEDs. DISHER’s mechanical and product development teams are well versed in the process of creating safe, aesthetic, and effective product designs that can seamlessly fit into a space.

 

How we can help

DISHER is a company that is highly motivated to Make a Positive Difference in the community and create an impact that helps and inspires others. Our engineering team is ready and fully equipped to assist in moving any organization into a UV-sanitization solution from concept to installation. All of us at DISHER are invested in keeping our world safe and healthy during these most-trying times. Let us know how we can assist your team in developing an innovative solution to overcome your latest challenge.

 

References

+ https://www.uvdi.com/uvdi-university/uv-basics/

+ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801766/

+ https://www.who.int/uv/publications/en/occupational_risk.pdf

+ https://www.icnirp.org/cms/upload/publications/ICNIRPWHOSolarUVI.pdf

+ https://www.who.int/uv/faq/whatisuv/en/index2.html

+ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17205632

 

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