What You Need to Know About UV-C for Disinfection

What is UV-C?

To start, we should define UV-C. The short answer is that UV-C is one of three wavelengths of ultraviolet light, emitted naturally by the Sun as well as specially designed UV light bulbs. Ultraviolet sits on the electromagnetic spectrum alongside visible light, as well as infrared light and is in a category of light that is not visible to the human eye.

What can it do?

While UV-C (180-280 nm) is not commonly referenced, you’re likely aware of the other two forms of ultraviolet light—UV-A (315-400 nm) and UV-B (280-315 nm). These two are emitted by the Sun and can cause damage to our skin and lead to health concerns such as skin cancer and cataracts. UV-B rays have a short wavelength that reaches the outer layer of your skin (epidermis) while UV-A rays have a longer wavelength that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin (dermis).

Although UV-C is also emitted by the Sun, it cannot penetrate our ozone layer. Therefore, all UV-C radiation on earth comes from artificial sources. UV-C radiation can cause burns to the skin and eyes (photokeratitis), but due to low penetration depth, does not pose any major long-term health risks. UV-C light can be emitted by specially designed bulbs and harnessed as a tool for viral disinfection and infection prevention.

UV-C technology isn’t new, in fact it has been around since the 1930s and, due to its effectiveness, has been used for decades to inactivate viruses in water treatment facilities, building HVAC systems and healthcare facilities. It’s been proven by government organizations like the CDC and FDA, and has been adopted by organizations around the world.

What about safety?

Disinfection with UV-C light is a process that should always be handled with care and with safety in mind. While UV-A and UV-B light is absorbed, UV-C affects the top layer of skin, and a UV-C disinfection solution should not come in contact with people or animals.

When considering a UV-C disinfection solution, a key component to look for is safety features. Are there measurements in place to help mitigate risk of exposure to operators as well as anyone in the area—such as detection features and automatic shutoffs? In an autonomous robotic solution, like the ADIBOT-A for example, there are cameras, radar, and artificial intelligence features that detect human presence, obstacles, and pathways to ensure complete disinfection and safe operation.

Who is using UV-C for disinfection?

While it isn’t the only virus to consider or the first to warrant its use, COVID-19 has accelerated the awareness and adoption of UV-C in many environments where people interact. Healthcare facilities have been using UV-C technology in hospital operating rooms, patient rooms, and other high-touch areas for infection prevention and HAI mitigation. School districts are adding UV-C disinfection tools to supplement their existing cleaning protocols in classrooms and other areas to prevent outbreaks. Office facilities are introducing UV-C disinfection to ensure the health and wellness of their tenants.

Since it first began being used to mitigate viruses and infection, UV-C solutions have continuously evolved and use cases have continued to grow. 

How do you use UV-C?

UV-C disinfection solutions come in many shapes and forms including handheld UV-C wands, UV-C purification systems to improve indoor air quality (IAQ), and UV-C disinfection robots that can easily become a member of your disinfection team as well as a tool. These UV-C disinfection robots have become more common and more widely adopted in Hospitals, Schools, Offices, Public Spaces, and more, to mitigate HAI’s caused by viruses and bacteria.

As the need for complete disinfection grows, the technology designed to deliver UV-C continues to evolve. The latest, and most impactful solution is autonomous robotics that combine technologies to provide safe, effective, and comprehensive viral disinfection.

At UBTECH, we understand robotics and how well-designed, expertly built, and fully supported solutions make an impact. We know that there are important considerations when it comes to implementing a UV-C disinfection solution to protect the health of your patients, customers, staff, and partners.

The ADIBOT A1 fully autonomous UV-C disinfection robot with UV-C lamps on disinfecting the space between two hospital beds.

That’s why we built the ADIBOT A1 Autonomous UV-C Disinfection Robot. See it in action here.

UV-C for the future.

As a means to getting complete disinfection in order to mitigate the spread of HAIs and other viruses, UV-C is proven to be a highly effective solution. While UV-C radiation has been used for decades, the delivery systems continue to evolve to fit into an increasing array of environments, becoming a necessary part of any disinfection protocol, and dramatically improving infection prevention. We’re excited to be at the forefront of that evolution.

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