FLORENCE, Kentucky – In response to a neighboring company’s request for collaboration, machine tool manufacturer Mazak Corp. provided much-needed materials and production capacity for the development of a UV-C LED surface disinfection system. Designed by AquiSense Technologies in Erlanger, Kentucky, the PearlSurface system uses an extremely powerful UV light to sterilize N95 face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) used by hospital staff as well as high-touch surfaces on such items as phones, tables and keys. With Mazak’s assistance, the company completed a prototype of the system and its UV source containment box within just 12 days.
According to Mazak Vice President of Manufacturing Ben Schawe, AquiSense had an enclosure design and needed a prototype made as quickly as possible. At its 536,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Florence, Kentucky, Mazak produced several prototypes in under two weeks. In fact, Mazak engineers were able to offer several suggestions that made the PearlSurface’s design more appropriate for production at scale.
To test the new technology, Northern Kentucky hospital system St. Elizabeth will deploy the PearlSurface in its facilities to sanitize used N95 masks. Instead of using the masks only once as recommended, healthcare providers must often wear masks multiple times due to shortages. Unlike solutions that sanitize large groups of masks, which result in masks being shared by multiple people, the UV-C LED will allow these individuals to keep and reuse the same masks, further reducing risk.
"The Mazak team was extremely excited and honored to be involved in such a critical project, especially one that will result in preventing countless individuals from being infected," said Dan Janka, president of Mazak. "Whether help is needed on the other side of the country or across the street, we all must do our part – U.S. manufacturers included – to work through these trying times together.”