Industry Insight

Corona control: air purifiers provide a remedy

Clean air thanks to professional transport and installation of air purifiers

The Covid-19 pandemic has given us more than 1,000 new expressions: shutdown, home schooling, super-spreader, distance learning, circuit breaker lockdown and distance requirement are just a few of them. They all simplify complicated circumstances in our “new reality”. However, some sense of hope has now been associated with an “old” word: air filter.

Air purifiers are now promising some return to normality, too. After all, coronaviruses do not stop at national borders. That is to say, even with highly effective vaccines, an extensive vaccination programme for the world population would be the absolute precondition for successfully combatting the spread of the virus. But that will take years. So it is necessary to establish technical solutions like air filters to curb the pandemic in the short term – and we need large numbers of them. This is not only an enormous challenge in production, but also in logistical terms.  

According to the latest findings, the Covid-19 virus mainly spreads through aerosols, i.e. small droplets in the air in which the pathogens are found. Research has shown that people are mainly infected with the Sars-CoV-2 virus in rooms inside buildings. The rules of maintaining physical distance, washing hands and wearing masks – were therefore complemented with the rule of ventilation in the battle against Covid-19. After all, without regular ventilation, the risk of infection increases, particularly in enclosed spaces.

However, ventilating areas containing large numbers of people by opening windows is not a long-term solution – especially during the cold season. This applies to schools, for example. As a result, health experts are not only arguing that the size of school classes needs to be reduced, but that air filters should be made generally available for schools. Special devices are now on the market and they can actually keep enclosed spaces, e.g. a classroom measuring 60 square metres with almost 30 pupils, virus-free.

Use in schools, catering facilities and offices

The advantage of air purifiers – like the WOLF AirPurifier – is absolutely obvious for restarting normal school operations. What is urgently required is a verifiably effective hygiene concept for virus-free air in classrooms. However, gyms are also aware of the problem associated with ventilation – and the same phenomenon occurs at physiotherapists’ practices that treat ill people. The outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus at slaughterhouses should be a significant reminder to us all about how quickly production sequences or companies can be brought to a complete standstill as a result of chains of infection. Last but not least, the hotel sector requires answers in order to maintain normal comfort levels in hotels and alleviate any fears guests may have concerning the risk of infection.

‘These modern air purifiers, which are able to filter bacteria and viruses, generally make sense at places where people meet and it’s not possible to provide adequate supplies of fresh air from outside through a ventilation system or by opening windows,’ says Maximilian Schmidt from WOLF. This naturally applies to classrooms or children’s day care centres, as well as to waiting rooms at doctors’ offices, laboratories, shared office spaces and conference rooms. It may also make sense to use air purifiers in many other areas that attract large numbers of people, e.g. the retail sector, beauty salons, nail studios or the catering segment. Air purifiers reduce the risk of infection and can make a valuable contribution to restarting the economy. Independent scientists have confirmed the effectiveness of air purifiers using real measurement data in practical tests1.

Do you just have to connect the unit?

The compact WOLF air purifier was developed and designed so that it is immediately ready for use and can be put into service by the user without any complications thanks to its ‘plug and play’ technology. It just needs to be connected to the power supply using a normal two-pin earthed plug. As a result, it is possible to install air purifiers very simply without any reconstruction work. The other side of the coin involves delivering and installing the devices in a reliable manner.

„Depositing the unit on the pavement in front of a building is hardly conceivable for fairly large air purifiers.“
Frank Spiekermann | Project Manager
Rhenus High Tech

Spiekermann is fully aware that far more is involved than just transporting the units; it is necessary to set up and position these high-tech devices at their final place of use as part of extensive services for the final customer. To guarantee greater reliability, the device has to be anchored to the floor or a wall, if the unit is intended for use, for example, in schools or in so-called public spaces. ‘Transporting and delivering the product so that no damage occurs is therefore just one building block in our logistic services,’ Spiekermann adds.   

 

Rhenus High Tech has had decades of experience in handling large devices. Installing and maintaining ATMs at banks is just as much part of its business as MRT or CT units at doctors’ practices, large numbers of copying machines at institutions and companies or even the bottle return machines in supermarkets or refrigerators in laboratories. The Rhenus project manager therefore emphasises, ‘When transporting air purifiers, we can also make use of our many years of experience in making preparations – for example, assessing the statics for the feasibility of a shipment in a building that doesn’t have a lift for heavy goods.’

Ventilating, air filters and scalable services

The Committee for Interior Space Air Hygiene at the Federal Environmental Agency does not believe that air purifiers can replace adequate ventilation, but are an excellent additional element, particularly during ventilation breaks. It emphasises that their use makes particular sense in places where windows cannot be adequately opened, i.e. just about all the areas where coronaviruses can spread nowadays. What was formerly reserved for the extremely sensitive production of computer chips is now about to become part of our everyday lives: the use of highly efficient air filter devices.

Relying on an experienced logistics specialist here can pay dividends for manufacturers. ‘They can particularly make use of established structures when handling fairly large numbers of items and therefore participate in tender procedures, which would otherwise not be realistic for the manufacturer,’ says Rhenus Manager Spiekermann. ‘This scalability of the services is an enormous advantage. It is therefore all about expanding the business through having access to a European-wide network. The manufacturer “only” has to ensure that it ramps up its production – its logistics specialist looks after the “rest”.’

A future without air purifiers?

‘Air purifiers are still a new business segment for us – and involve a certain degree of dynamism,’ says the Rhenus high-tech expert. ‘We’ll have to see whether the issue of maintenance can be generally added to our range of services in future, as is already the case with ATMs. The air filter mats used in the devices have a serviceable life of one or two years. This means that this additional work isn’t yet part of our service package.’

The business is one side of the coin. However, the pandemic has also demanded a great deal of everybody in their private lives, too. As a result, Spiekermann adds this postscript, ‘I’d naturally love to see us experiencing a similarly high level of dynamic demand for other devices as is currently the case with air purifiers because that would mean a return to normality.’

Covid-19

Sars-CoV-2 or ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2’ is the official designation of the new strain of coronavirus. It involves a lung disease, which, according to what has come to light so far, is more contagious than flu viruses. Covid-19 has established itself as the official description for the sicknesses triggered by the virus. They may involve severe symptoms like breathing problems and pneumonia. About ten percent of those who contract the illness have to be treated in hospitals, some of them in intensive care wards.

The AirPurifier from WOLF

The WOLF company has specially developed air purifiers for educational centres. The AirPurifier may be as large as a refrigerator, but it is extremely quiet – just about as loud as a laptop fan at 34 decibels during normal operations. At the same time, the device can purify up to 1,200 cubic metres of air every hour, about six times more than a normal classroom contains. So-called HEPA 14 filters (according to DIN EN 1822) are used; HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air/arrestance. HEPA H 14 filters effectively filter 99.995 percent of viruses out of the air. Independent scientists have confirmed the device’s effectiveness using real measuring data in practical tests. Thanks to the complete logistics solution provided by Rhenus, delivery times of between three and five days can be offered. Order your WOLF AirPurifier now: www.wolf.eu/shop

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Whether sports equipment, complex medical technology or ATMs - sophisticated and high-quality goods must be transported and installed professionally. Information on further special services in this area can be found here.

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Sources

1www.wolf.eu/en/about-wolf/press/press-releases/airpurifier-studies/

 

Related links:

You can obtain information about the new strain of coronavirus at: https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/InfAZ/N/Neuartiges_Coronavirus/nCoV.html

A study by the Institute for Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich entitled ‘Can mobile air purifiers effectively reduce the indirect risk of catching SARS-CoV-2 through aerosols?’ can be found at: https://www.unibw.de/lrt7/raumluftreiniger.pdf?utm_source=baulinks&utm_campaign=baulinks

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