A High Wycombe business has developed an ultra-violet (UV) system which can kill viruses in buildings and on surfaces such as desks.
Benford UV, which launched in 1992, makes UV machines, used for drying printed materials quickly. However, the outbreak of Covid-19 prompted the firm to look at ways of using UV light to disinfect interiors of rooms and other spaces such as offices.
The firm has now come up with two devices, the darlek and the hand-held sweep clean, which are effective in killing bacteria and viruses.
Managing director Marc Boden said: “In March when Covid-19 came along, we decided we would try to make a product that could be used to disinfect against it.”
He said the technology has been around for more than 40 years and is used in a number of situations such as in hospitals and in water treatment to kill bacteria in sewerage.
He added: “We just thought this would be a good opportunity to create something new. We called it a darlek because it exterminates stuff.”
Mr Boden said likely places they could be used include offices, gyms, houses and hospitals where there are fixtures which are frequently touched such as stair rails, hand-rails and inside of lifts.
Both the sweep clean and the darlek are intended for regular use as part of the normal cleaning cycle.
The machines use a kind of light called UVC which is at a frequency which does not reach the earth from the sun because of the ozone layer. People must leave the room while it operates and stickers which change colour in the UV light can help prove it has done its job.
The darlek is placed in position and operates, typically for around 20 minutes while the hand-held sweep clean is used with gloves and eye protection.
Mr Boden added: “We use it in our office. We put it in between four desks and let it do its thing.”
The machines are all made at High Wycombe. The darlek costs just under £20,000 and the sweep clean just under £1,000.
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