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News - January 2018
Hand dryers help drive efficiencies
Washrooms in hospitals, health centres and care homes are a recognised breeding ground for potentially-harmful bugs.
And hand hygiene is crucial to reducing the spread of infection within these settings.
Key to this is that people - staff, visitors, residents and patients - can easily and effectively wash their hands - and dry them afterwards.
Despite recent research suggesting that good, old-fashioned paper hand towels are one of the most-hygienic hand-drying solutions; mechanical dryers are still being widely specified.
And manufacturers are responding to this demand with a plethora of new solutions, designed specifically to meet the key drivers for estates and facilities professionals.
A partnership approach
SAVORTEX recently joined forces with Clearpower to distribute the former’s EcoCurve range, which is designed to deliver sustainability, energy and operational resource savings - hugely important in today’s cash-strapped society.
“Good hand hygiene is essential in preventing infections from spreading in health and social care environments,” said a company spokesman.
“In many of these settings, patients may be more susceptible to picking up infections; therefore hand hygiene is extremely important - especially as some infections found in these facilities can be very serious and sometimes fatal.
“We can help stop the spread of these infections by ensuring that healthcare workers, patients and visitors make sure their hands are clean through regular washing and hygienic drying methods.”
Historically, hand dryers have comprised of pretty-unhygienic brush motors. The air blown from the dryer passes through the motor, creating more pollution and dust particles.
In order to address this, SAVORTEX developed a patented brushless motor which is more efficient and has a lower carbon footprint.
The warm air is delivered straight to the users’ hands and significantly reduces the spread of bacteria due to splashback, which is a common problem for hands-in dryers.
Reducing the impact
The dryer also uses the latest antimicrobial additives which protect against degradation and bacteria.
Hygiene is also driving innovation at Handy Dryers.
Steve Levy, inventor of The Sterillo and the company’s managing director, told hdm: “The inclusion of HEPA filters in many hand dryers is a bit of a gimmick with little actual benefit. However, some of the latest dryers include devices which actually destroy the germs and viruses in the air, helping to reduce the spread of airborne infections such as flu and Norovirus.”
Noise reduction has also had an impact on product design, he added, together with the need to drastically cut energy use.
He said: “In terms of environmental health, modern solutions use almost 85% less power than they used to, which is important when the NHS is being charged with reducing energy significantly.
“Modern solutions provide better airflow and have more-resilient motors and, by using the air better, we can increase the air speed and literally blow the moisture from people’s hands, whereas the older hand dryers relied upon evaporation - a much-slower process.”
Touch-free models, which further reduce the spread of germs within washroom environments by cutting the number of touch points, are also proving popular.
“Hand dryers offer a number of advantages over paper towels, especially in public facilities,” said a spokesman for TOTO.
“They can be touch-free, and therefore extremely hygienic.
“Our Clean Dry model also has a drip tray and is far easier to keep clean in high-traffic areas. Importantly, it also has a better environmental balance and considerably-lower operating costs than using paper towels.”
The company’s research and development activity is also concentrating on reducing maintenance; making products that can fit into a variety of different spaces; and making faster, more-energy-efficient models.
“The most-obvious evolution for hand dryers is the power and speed in which they operate and therefore dry the users hands,” said the TOTO spokesman.
“The benefit is that you get quicker, more-effective drying and save energy.
“In the future we see hand drying technology noise levels reducing further, much like with WC flush systems.”
Levy adds: “We now know how to dry hands quickly and efficiently. What we are working on for the future is making the machines more hygienic, less noisy and able to multi task by cleaning the washroom air at the same time.
“The use of modern brushless motors triples the unit’s life and water collection and drainage means waste water is contained instead of falling on the floor and becoming a slip hazard.”
SAVORTEX and Clearpower’s EcoCurve range also includes adDryer, which offers NHS trusts and other health and care organisations the ability to generate revenue from the machines.
An IoT-enabled smart dryer, it includes a digital screen that can deliver tailored, high-definition video messages to users, which can be used for internal marketing or as an additional revenue stream.
“By working with NHS trusts, SAVORTEX can create an audience value of the estate based on the users of the building, for example gender, age and occupation,” said the spokesman.
“Its media buyers can then use this information to set and agree a cost-per-view rate that will be paid to the hospital or healthcare centre each time someone uses an adDryer and sees an advert, thus creating much-needed revenue.”