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On Wheels, Rails or Wings: Honeywell Uses UVC Light to Reduce Viruses in Transportation

On Wheels, Rails or Wings: Honeywell Uses UVC Light to Reduce Viruses in Transportation

Honeywell has introduced a smaller, more powerful version of its breakthrough UV Treatment System to help operators reduce bacteria and viruses in a broader range of transportation settings. Like its predecessor, this system uses ultraviolet-c (UVC) light – which is widely used in healthcare settings – to treat seats and other surfaces.

“The UV Treatment System is more powerful and flexible than the original version of the system, which was introduced in mid-2020,” said Bob Lenz, Honeywell Director of Product Management. “We always viewed this as an iterative development process, and we were extremely aggressive in soliciting customer feedback on how we could make the product better and easier to use.”

The second-generation system adds additional UV power and flexibility while reducing size, weight and cost, Lenz added. “It fits in all sizes of airliners and the compact size is the perfect fit for airliners with narrower aisles and lower ceilings.  This system can also be used on trains, buses, subways and cruise ships.”

Often described as resembling a “beverage cart with wings,” the UV Treatment System uses high-intensity UVC light to treat cockpit and cabin surfaces, including seats, armrests, tray tables, lavatories and galleys for pathogens. Independent clinical studies have found UVC light can significantly reduce the presence of bacteria and viruses on targeted surfaces, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

With the UV Treatment System, cabin crews can treat ten rows of seats in less than a minute and an entire single aisle cabin, including lavatories and galleys, in ten minutes.  Clinical and on-aircraft testing has shown it can eliminate more than 99.9% of tested pathogens at a cost of as little as $2 per use. The UV Treatment System is flying already with several leading airlines and is being evaluated by several others, as well as a major passenger railway.

Nothing is more important to U.S. passengers than cabin cleanliness – not even ticket price, according to a new survey sponsored by Honeywell.

“As the global pandemic took hold, Honeywell engineers and scientists got busy working on ways to address the crisis and help our airline customers improve safety and passenger confidence,” Lenz said. “It didn’t take us long to land on the idea of using UVC light to clean cabin surfaces and recognize that this was a very good fit with our cleaner air travel initiative.”

With the pandemic getting worse, the Honeywell team moved at warp speed from the germ of an idea to a system ready to roll down the airplane aisle in just 79 days, according to Lenz. The second iteration went from customer feedback to first production in 81 days.

“New product introductions don’t usually move that fast in the aerospace world. But we knew we had to put a good solution in the hands of our airline customers as quickly as possible, so we searched the world looking for a partner who could help us move at warp speed, which is how we found Dimer, an expert in hospital-grade UVC applications.”

Honeywell licensed Dimer’s GermFalcon technology for use in transportation markets. The Honeywell-Dimer solution was recently named one of Time magazine’s best inventions of 2020.

“Customer response to these products has been extremely positive,” Lenz said. “We see enormous potential for wide adaptation of UVC as airlines and other transportation companies look for ways to manage through the current pandemic, restore public confidence and prepare for a post-pandemic world where health and safety are more important than ever.”