Written by Barry Nelson of WAGO || As doctors and medical experts continue to try and find a vaccine for COVID-19, one company is looking to help control the spread — especially in medical facilities. For the past 10 years, GreenTech Environmental has been at the forefront of producing high-quality residential air-purification systems. Now with the help of CASPR Medik, they have produced an air-purification system for hospitals and medical centers that has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to COVID-19.
It should be noted that their system has not been tested directly against the COVID-19 strand, but CASPR Medik has tested it against similar viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 on hard and absorbent surfaces. CASPR Medik has also conducted testing of this system against the Feline Calicivirus. This is a highly contagious virus that is one of the major causes of upper respiratory infections in cats. Feline Calicivirus is a well-known surrogate for Norovirus and COVID-19. It is a virus that spreads through airborne particles when coming in contact with infected surfaces or by coughing or sneezing. With the technology developed by GreenTech and the testing done by CASPR, both strands were significantly reduced or eliminated.
Medical facilities are taking precautions at every turn to stop the spread of COVID-19. They use hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and other materials to try to keep rooms and surfaces clean. However, as GreenTech founder and CEO Allen Johnston explains, “There are a lot of liquid sanitizers that do a great job and kill pathogens. But within a short time, people reenter the room and the area becomes contaminated again.”
GreenTech’s proprietary photocatalytic-based air-purification technology continuously sanitizes and purifies the room as people come in and out. “It’s a slower process,” Johnston says, “but much more effective because it works continuously.”
With the outbreak of COVID-19, Johnston says that orders from medical facilities all across the world have been pouring in. GreenTech had planned for 6,000 purifiers to be manufactured throughout the year, but due to the virus, that process needed to be expedited. A plan for another 10,000 was put in motion as well. However, there was just one issue: there weren’t enough parts to facilitate the manufacture of so much product in such little time.
One component in particular was a part that connects the ballast (power module) to the UV light output. From the beginning, GreenTech had been using WAGO’s picoMAX pluggable PCB terminal block (item no. 2091-1372) to ensure a high-quality connection. Against tremendous odds, questions remained … Could WAGO produce a mass number of these PCB connectors in such a short period of time? If so, could they get them to GreenTech quickly?
Thanks to excellent communication, WAGO could answer yes to both questions, much to the delight of Johnston and GreenTech. WAGO Regional Sales Manager Mitch McFarland said it was a team effort and realized emphasizing the importance of the product and the parts needed really helped.
“Communication was key,” says McFarland. “We needed the support of WAGO US and we also needed to work with WAGO Germany to get this done.”
Thanks to people like WAGO Customer Operations Manager Scott Schauer, WAGO Germany was able to push these parts to the front of the line and get them manufactured quickly. “The order came across my desk on March 30th. Thanks to everyone we’ll be shipping the first 6,000 parts out from Germany by April 8th.” Understanding the gravity of the situation, FedEx said that they would be expediting shipping from Germany to GreenTech and get them to their Johnson City, Tenn. manufacturing plant within a couple of days.
Communication, teamwork, and technology are the backbone that will help get us through these unprecedented times. Thanks to companies like GreenTech Environmental, CASPR, and WAGO, we are one step closer to lessening, and eventually, eradicating the threat of COVID-19. Hopefully, with innovations such as these, we are on the cusp of returning to normalcy.
For more information, visit www.greentechenv.com and wago.com/us/discover-pluggable-connectors. Also watch the below video for an end user’s experience with CASPR systems.
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Filed Under: Hack the Crisis: Engineering through COVID-19, Terminal blocks