The kill shot

28 September 2020

Is antiseptic drycleaning, the weapon that can exterminate Covid-19 and other pathogens on textiles? Frank Zierman of Böwe believes it is

In 2015, when Covid-19 was still far in the future, Böwe had already started to develop a new system for antiseptic drycleaning. Fifty years ago, Böwe had a patent on medical drycleaning machines with a double door and in the 1960s and 1970s many hospitals had this machine. However, because of stricter environmental laws, drycleaning machines have latterly disappeared from hospitals.

Dsinfection in drycleaning has been a big concern becauseit is not possible to use high temperatures or harsh chemicals on delicate garments. Furthermore, there are numerous different fibres and materials, such as leather and fur that are not easy to process.

Recently, through its connections in Asia, Böwe was asked to develop an antiseptic drycleanng system. Asia was experiencing problems with bird flu, swine flu, SARS and MERS and were more concerned about the situation than in Europe or the USA.

Step by step the ideas came together and it became obvious that a one-shot ‘gun’ would not able to deliver kill shot results in a drycleaning machine. According to Zierman: “There are two ways that a germ or virus in the garment can be killed. First during cleaning together with the solvent or second while drying. If the pathogen stays in the garments a special solution is required.

“The new Böwe system is a combination of special cataphoresic coatings of water separator, button trap, cooler, fan housing, backplate, bearing flange, UV disinfection, ozone and biocide spraying. With that system Böwe can achieve a germ reduction of 10-6. The running costs are approx. 5-6 cents per piece, so very low, because the power for ozone generator and UV-C radiation device are low and costs for the biocide compared to the price the drycleaner gets from his customer is not much. There are no worries about ozone escaping as our machines are completely sealed to the environment. After 20 minutes ozone reverts to O2.”

The additional investment to get the antiseptic system is approx. €9000.

“Of course the operator has to follow processing rules, otherwise recontamination is possible. Böwe also has the barrier drycleaning machine ready, but much more space is required and the investment is also higher,” concludes Zierman.

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