Encouraged by the success of the vaccination programme, businesses are looking forward to a safe and rapid transition away from lockdown and social distancing, back to normal working practices. However, even the most effective vaccination measures leave gaps through which vulnerable people may be infected, and although being vaccinated should stop you becoming ill, the extent to which it prevents you transmitting the virus to others is still unknown.
When opening up the economy, therefore, further measures are needed – at least in the interim – in order to reduce the risk of workplaces, hospitality venues and shops becoming new hubs of infection. As businesses have discovered over the past year, social distancing measures are time-consuming and expensive, and it is hard to avoid them denting productivity. The new air purification and ventilation system from Flakt Group is, therefore, particularly exciting, as it has the potential to reduce the risk of people catching and passing on Covid 19 indoors and enables a faster route out of lockdown.
However, this amazing product, and all the benefits it could bring to help the economy bounce back, is simply not receiving the level of support it deserves. The government is aware of the need for improved ventilation in buildings, particularly crowded areas as we explain below, but despite Flakt Group requesting and lobbying for support and providing evidence of the life-saving results of this equipment, they have received no encouragement or recommendations for where to further offer and agree trial installation, or to improve the awareness of their system. This is not exactly displaying the support the UK Government claim they are offering to UK Manufacturing!
The Importance Of Social Distancing And Ventilation
The main strategy for preventing coronavirus transmission is social distancing. So long as people keep at least 2m physically away from each other, and reduce social interactions, the infection rate goes down, and this is more or less borne out by the evidence. However, social distancing, masks, and hand washing have lesser effect in poorly ventilated indoor areas. Crowded spaces with low ventilation rates (e.g. late-night bars); activities that potentially spread the virus over a wider area, such as singing, exercise, and loud speech (e.g. gyms, churches, concerts); and cool, dry indoor spaces (e.g. air-conditioned offices and shops) were identified by a SAGE report as carrying a higher risk of virus transmission. The need for improved ventilation was also called for by the Shadow Health Secretary on the Andrew Marr show on the 14th February – repeatedly!
Poor ventilation and the risks associated are some of the reasons the nation’s nightclubs and most theatres have been forced to remain empty since March 2020 despite social distancing, and also one of the justifications for the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants introduced last autumn. If cost-effective air purification were more widely available, these businesses could, in theory, stay open later and in turn support the economy to get back on its feet. Furthermore, getting more people back to the workplace – in industries where work cannot be done from home – is essential for a full economic recovery. Many employers will need to make longer-term changes to their working environment to safeguard employees long after everyone has been vaccinated.
Giving people the confidence that the air they breathe is free from infection risk is a positive step towards a return to normality.
Flakt Group Air Purification Device
Flakt Group’s AP BIO air purifier series (model numbers 500, 1000, and 2400) has been specifically designed to decontaminate indoor environments from harmful viruses and bacteria, and has been proven effective in a recent trial in the Covid ward of a French hospital. AP BIO is currently the only commercially available bio-decontamination unit equipped with the ePM1 and HEPA H14 filters required to trap and deactivate the SARS CoV2 virus responsible for Covid 19.
The AP BIO air purifiers are portable, compact units that are fast and easy to install and enable rapid filter changes without specialist tools or training, and can be moved from room to room. This makes them suitable for a wide range of indoor environments, from schools and offices, to shops, factories, bus stations, restaurants, and hospitals – without the need to invest in complicated ventilation infrastructure.
How It Works
The AP BIO uses a two-stage filtration process that draws in and captures particles, bacteria, and viruses as little as 0.01 µm in size. This includes the SARS-2 coronavirus, influenza, rhinovirus, norovirus, measles, mumps, tuberculosis, and legionella, as well as dust, pollen, hair, and particulate fumes. The unit uses a fan to draw in air through the bottom of the unit, trapping particles in the two filters before recycling decontaminated air back into the room.
The air intake is deliberately placed at the bottom of the unit because drawing air through a top vent could aggregate virus particles already on surfaces in the room and throw them up in the air, where they could be inhaled. The filters are treated with a patented biocide powder; a nonchemical, plant-based solution that is scientifically proven to deactivate bacteria, viruses, and fungi (tested to comply with EN 14476). The filters remain effective for 3 to 6 months before needing to be changed.
About Flakt Group
Flakt Group are a Swiss ventilation, air conditioning, and air treatment equipment manufacturer with bases across Europe, including the UK. Since early 2020, Flakt Woods – a subsidiary of Flakt Group - have been actively involved in the manufacturing sector’s response to The Pandemic, designing ventilation systems for the UK’s Nightingale Hospitals, then collaborating with a consortium of companies to design PPE equipment. Their contribution included designing a face visor attachment that can be 3-D printed on-site at low cost.
The AP BIO series is their latest innovation and is another example of the concerted efforts of our fabulous, manufacturing industry to address the ongoing crisis.
As a young product with a short time to market and low entry cost, we encourage businesses, public sector decision-makers, and government bodies to actively explore this and other clean air solutions, as part of a wider exit strategy from lockdown. We couldn’t be prouder of the UK manufacturing sector – we truly are at the forefront of innovation so let’s call for the response we deserve, and support this fantastic equipment which this country needs to get back to living some form of safe, sociable life.
To find out more about how Hone-All is supporting UK Manufacturing and working with partners in the UK and Europe to support the recovery from Covid 19, please give us a call today.