In the industrial world, unprecedented challenges often spawn innovative solutions, and recent reports from industry suppliers highlight interest in the growing need for effective microbe disinfection procedures for applications ranging from large public areas to individual personal hygiene. Two examples:
The need to find an effective means of achieving wide-area suppression of surface-borne microbes such as the novel coronavirus — also referred to as SARS-Cov-2 or COVID-19 — has been a growing concern for both private industry and public works. BossTek, an Illinois, USA-based dust-suppression systems supplier, recently announced its atomized mist technology is now being used for
distribution of Surface Disinfectant Cleaners (SDCs) over worksites, busy foot traffic areas and communal spaces. The company’s line of DustBoss industrial misting cannons — high-powered machines designed for large-area dust control — are playing a significant role in this effort, including the use of a DustBoss unit at a copper mine.
“The challenge is protecting workers and the public in outdoor spaces by the most effective means possible, using technology that requires the least amount of human contact,” BossTek Vice President of Sales Mike Lewis said. “Sending crews of people out on a regular basis to clean publicly accessed surfaces is inefficient, costly and exposes the workers to potential contamination. Studies have shown that the distribution of SDCs evenly across surfaces can effectively reduce the presence of viral and bacterial microbes to mitigate the spread of disease. Atomized mist has proven to be a very effective distribution method.”
Lewis said the company has also supplied equipment for large operations such as mines and material processing facilities that are sanitizing work surfaces before employees return to work. “We’re even seeing some customers who aren’t back up and running yet, but they’re repurposing their machines to help out other businesses or municipalities, loaning out the equipment to help protect others,” he added.
The World Health Organization (WHO) differentiates cleaning from disinfecting by defining cleaning as “the removal of visible dirt or particles,” whereas disinfecting “refers to specific measures taken to control, deactivate or kill infectious agents, such as viruses and bacteria.”
A study testing the effects of SDCs on infectious viruses (Ebola) conducted by the School of Engineering at Tufts University found that “the use of just 0.5% chlorine solutions with a 15-minute exposure time is effective in reducing transmission risk.”
When distributing the proper mixture and dosage to an area during low traffic times, property owners can significantly mitigate the potential risk, according to BossTek, which explained that atomized mist technology disperses millions of tiny treated water droplets over a wide area to achieve effective coverage. Barrel-shaped DustBoss cannons force water through a circular brass manifold fitted with atomizing spray nozzles that fracture the water into tiny droplets 15 to 200 microns in size. The midsized model has a reach of up to 200 ft (60 m). Using a 25-hp fan that produces 30,000 cfm (849.50 cmm) of airflow, the droplets are propelled outward in a cone-shaped pattern. With the adjustable 0 to 50° angle and 359° oscillation settings, the largest model in the line can cover up to 280,000 ft2 (31,000 m2) — nearly six football fields, according to the company.
The atomized misting cannons can be mounted on water trucks or configured in the company’s Fusion configuration, which includes a trailer-mounted cannon and genset, an effective delivery system for large-scale disinfecting work that’s portable by a pickup truck.
The company told E&MJ a South American mine has deployed a DustBoss for disinfecting purposes. The site, located in the Ica province in Peru and approximately 500 km from Lima, is close to the famous Nazca Lines (a group of large geoglyphs formed by depressions or shallow incisions in the soil of the Nazca Desert). The open-pit copper mine is currently using one DustBoss DB-100 cannon for large-scale sanitization on-site and within the local area. Six additional units (DB-60s and DB-100s) are also installed at the mine and used for dust control.
In collaboration with Americorp, the Latin American dealer for BossTek equipment, the mine was able to source two 275-gallon (1,000-l) tanks and a generator, which were mounted on a truck with the cannon to provide a completely mobile solution. The company said DustBoss units can be easily modified to disperse disinfectant, and any mine currently using DustBoss equipment that is interested in this type of application can contact BossTek for assistance.