INNOVATION DURING THE PANDEMIC: ACTING IN THE FACE OF NEW CHALLENGES
In March 2020, as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic broke out, the management at Tecnimusa considered it important to dedicate efforts and resources to help alleviate some of the problems arising from the health crisis. The company started to create collaborative solutions and launched several R&D projects.
One of these new projects was to address a need identified in passenger screening and other similar areas that users accessed. The trays used to hold personal items during security screening are continually reused and often have a very high level of turnover. Screening cannot be stopped due to a lack of trays, which means the trays are handled by a large number of people in a short period of time. In this way, they become a major source of infections, not only due to coronavirus, but also due to other viruses and bacteria.
The problem that was observed was also supported by studies such as the one by the University of Nottingham and the Finnish National Institute of Health and Welfare. This research project, conducted at Helsinki-Vantaa airport in Finland, concluded that the plastic trays used at security checkpoints have the highest level of pathogens among frequently trafficked areas.
AUTOMATION AND SUSTAINABILITY, HAND IN HAND
Once the problem was detected, a long phase of research and development began. This culminated in the invention of a new automated system that used UV-C light to disinfect trays used by passengers and staff at security checkpoints in airports and other transport terminals. The equipment, designed to be integrated as an additional element in these control areas, allows passengers to regain confidence and a security when travelling. It is also sustainable and environmentally friendly solution since it avoids the use of detergents or other chemical products.
The system makes it easier to transport the trays and disinfects them using UV-C light that is applied to the entire surface of the trays. Additionally, it avoids any handling of the trays thanks to a device that stacks and loads the trays onto the trolleys used for their distribution. In this way, the disinfection process is fully automated and ensures that the trays are sanitary between one use and the next.
PUBLIC SUPPORT: GREAT SUPPORT FOR INNOVATION
Tecnimusa received significant support for the development of this project, as a beneficiary of the call for aid from the Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia within the framework of the RIS3MUR COVID-19 programme for business reactivation through technological innovation, with co-financing from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
There is no doubt that innovating in the midst of a health crisis, and in the economic context that followed, has been no easy task. This meant continuing to invest in innovation throughout difficult situation. Therefore, the support of this programme has certainly been an enormous factor in the success of the project.
The collaboration of AINIA, which verified the virucidal efficacy of the equipment, was also fundamental in this process. According to its conclusions, “The results of the tests show that the passage of trays through the Skytray UV-C equipment produces a 99 % destruction of viruses present on the tray surfaces”.
ENHANCING PASSENGER SECURITY AT AIRPORTS
There is a new security challenge for airports and airlines. Until now, security was fundamentally focused on technical aspects, but our current situation makes it essential to also ensure the health and well-being of passengers and employees. The disinfection system conceived, designed and manufactured by Tecnimusa will help create a safer environment for passengers and will translate into greater passenger confidence when travelling.
The user will notice a huge advance in health measures at passenger checkpoints and see these new systems in operation. It will undoubtedly mark a major turning point in this new dimension of security.