Announces New Generation of Popular Disinfecting Cabinet
Alittle over a year after releasing its revolutionary UV-C Disinfecting Cabinet, the Bedford County–based LiteSheet Solutions has come out with a second version that is even more powerful and effective.
LiteSheet is an LED lighting technology company with notable projects completed in New York City’s Woolworth Building and Virginia’s Monitor-Merrimac Tunnel,
As the COVID-19 pandemic gripped our world last spring, a door opened for LiteSheet to enhance its AC-Direct LED lighting products to include UV-C LED disinfection.
“At the outset of the pandemic, the federal government and Commonwealth of Virginia were making calls to all manufacturers saying, ‘How can you help?’ For the most part, they were looking for fabric manufacturers to produce masks, but I turned to our engineering and manufacturing departments and we developed the UV-C Disinfecting Cabinet,” said Roger Whyte, company president and CEO.
The UV-C Disinfecting Cabinets are manufactured at the company’s Forest facility, which is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency. They are also in full compliance with the Food and Drug Administration as well.
The cabinet uses UV-C LEDs to kill pathogens—including viruses, bacteria, mold and spores—specifically targeting viruses and bacteria that are commonly found in schools, offices and healthcare settings. UV-C wavelengths differ from UV-A and UV-B rays in that they are blocked by the ozone layer so they must be created here on Earth.
However, all three damage cells in a similar way.
“Pathogens are susceptible to UV-C wavelengths,” Whyte explains. “When UV-C strikes a pathogen, it actually permeates the cell of the pathogen, damages its strand of DNA or RNA and kills it.”
Using UV-C as a disinfecting tool has been around for a while and is well researched, Whyte says. But it had traditionally been generated with mercury-vapor lamps, which don’t last long and aren’t easily transported. There are also some environmental concerns if they aren’t disposed of properly.
LiteSheet’s UV-C Disinfecting Cabinet is a much safer option that works similar to a microwave: open up the door, place items inside, shut the door, press start and wait 60 seconds. When the cycle is complete, the items inside have been surface disinfected of common pathogens. There also are safety features on the cabinet, including a digital timer and lock, that ensure the modules will not power on unless the door is securely closed.
In the fall of 2020, LiteSheet’s Gen-1 cabinet was tested by Virginia Tech’s Class 3 Virology lab. Researchers tested the capacity of the SARS-Cov-2 virus to infect cells after spending 15 minutes in the cabinet versus outside the cabinet.
“We found that the level of infectious SARS-Cov-2 on a surface was reduced by 99.97% after 15 minutes in the cabinet,” says Dr. Nisha Duggal, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology.
“The validation from an independent lab is essential,” Whyte adds. “It’s an extra step we took to ensure the cabinet works.”
Now, over a year later, LiteSheet is unveiling the second generation of the UV-C Disinfecting Cabinet that is higher powered and more efficient to kill surface pathogens in under 60 seconds. Shorter cycle times can help facilities disinfect items or equipment even more quickly than before.
“We kill 95 percent of common pathogens in less than a minute now,” Whyte says.
According to Whyte, the cabinets can play a role in overall patient outcomes in hospitals by mitigating the transmission of healthcare-acquired illnesses. They can also be used by schools to disinfect shared items such as tablets and books.
The cabinet is also finding use in other fields as well, such as broadcasting agencies and departments of transportation, he says.
LiteSheet Solutions is now looking at other ways they can expand this technology in the future.
“We’ve been asked to look at quite a few applications, such as air purification; we’re also looking at conveyor system scenarios where items are continuously fed, like at an airport, for example,” he says. “We think the product line will definitely be expanding.”