Tackling the airborne threat

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Published: 19 August 2020


The powerul UVent in-duct model is fully scalable

With the threat posed by airborne transmission of the coronavirus back in the spotlight, Mansfield Pollard Operations Director Bryan Bentley outlines the development and benefits of the company’s UVent range.

As a recognised expert in ultra-clean air management systems, Mansfield Pollard continues to push the boundaries of innovation with the design and manufacture of UVent, a range of revolutionary UV-C air sterilising products. UVent products were developed in response to the original SARS (coronavirus) epidemic in 2004 and also to assist in the fight against the Ebola outbreak a decade later. Pathogens in the air are exposed to high intensity ultraviolet light presented at a specific wavelength within the UV-C section of the electro-magnetic spectrum. This directly attacks the DNA of all micro-organisms and is the most effective way of destroying all airborne bacteria and viruses.

Unprecedented demand
Over the last decade, Mansfield Pollard has significantly invested into its UV product development in order to refine and continually improve the technology. UVent products were mainly supplied into the smaller healthcare sector and remained somewhat eclipsed by the success of the company’s air handling and data centre cooling divisions.  

Since March 2020 and the global Covid-19 pandemic, the demand for UVent products increased exponentially, initially driven by the urgent requirement from the NHS for ultra-clean air within hospitals and other specialist health care units. UVent products have been subject to a renewed energy and focus as both private and public sectors started to re-emerge from lockdown. In addition to hospitals and healthcare, the units are now satisfying demand across all markets.

Compact units are sized to replace a standard ceiling tile

Portable, ceiling jet and in-duct models
The UVent range consists of three different air sterilisation units, with each designed to suit a range of differing environments and airflow rates. Firstly, a free standing and portable unit with the ability to sterilise the air within any room or specific space. The 880mm high unit has a simple plug-and-play set up with the option of ‘high pulse’ operation for immediate room purging. Combining an 80m3 sterilised air distribution zone and ultra-quiet performance from integral attenuation, the unit has extraordinary versatility and can be placed anywhere. With no maintenance anticipated until a recommended UV-C lamp change after 13,000 hours of operation, this is currently our most popular UV product.

We also manufacture a compact UV unit, sized to replace a single standard ceiling tile and capable of sterilising a variable air volume for both medical and commercial applications. The ceiling jet unit contains an integrated energy controller to provide variable speed at designated times to suit the particular room environment including a remote-control purge facility for immediate maximum sterilisation capacity. Again, with an 80m3 sterilised air distribution zone and ultra-quiet performance, the ceiling jet destroys viruses and bacteria throughout an entire room, including areas of high biological concentration.

UVent ‘In-duct’ units provide the most powerful and efficient air sterilisation unit of its type available on the market. These fully scalable duct-mounted units can deal with any airflow duty and can easily be retro-fitted into existing ductwork installations. Single or double rack high efficiency UV tubes and the ability to stack multiple units create the most comprehensive microbiological destruction zone and formidable single pass performance. Airflows up to 12.6m3/s can easily be accommodated without any compromise in sterilisation efficiency and for duties above this, twin banks can be used in a bifurcated format.  

Independently tested with guaranteed results
Mansfield Pollard has always recognised the importance of independent testing and continue to use trusted third-party partners in order to refine and develop all product lines. All UVent products have been subjected to rigorous independent testing and scientific scrutiny under laboratory conditions to reflect actual live HVAC conditions.  
Leeds University Pathogen Control Engineering Institute (PaCE) undertakes research in all aspects of the built environment in which the presence of pathogens influences design. 

Steady state room tests were conducted which consisted of a specially constructed aero-biology test chamber to simulate a room inhabited by an infectious individual who is constantly emitting harmful organisms. The ceiling jet and mobile unit were tested individually by placing them into the sealed ventilated chamber with a constant supply of airborne bacteria introduced. Tests were carried out in the chamber to determine the efficiency of the device in terms of its ability to inactivate a range of airborne micro-organisms.

Testing of the duct mounted units necessitated the construction of a single pass test rig consisting of 10m ductwork with capacity to introduce aerosolised cultures of micro-organisms introduced from a 6-jet collision nebuliser at one end. Various air flow rates and pressures were tested across the UV sterilisation unit with a 6-stage sampler downstream to capture the results for analysis.          

Other recognised specialists in pathogen control were engaged to further test and verify the results prior to publication, including Professor Clive Beggs of Bradford University (a pioneer in the control of infection in hospitals) and scientists at the world-famous Porton Down Research facility in Wiltshire.   

Comprehensive results for various air volumes for over 30 different pathogens (Including coronavirus SARS and Influenza) are freely available, highlighting kill percentages in excess of 99.9%. 

Simple, efficient and safe
UVent’s unique design with both the reaction chamber and high intensity UV-C lamps running parallel to the airflow rather than perpendicular, has led to incredible gains in energy efficiency. This is particularly relevant to the duct-mounted UVent product where the same irradiation value can be achieved with a 65% reduction in power usage when compared to vertical tubed units.  In addition, there is a large reduction in the amount of radiated heat produced (in excess of 70%) which significantly lessens the cooling load on the central air handling unit.  With 80% less UV-C lamps needed to create the same UV-C output there is less resistance to airflow leading to increased fan efficiency and also less requirement for any critical maintenance (tube replacement).

Safety of UVent products are of critical importance, with exposure to UV-C being particularly harmful. All models have automatic fault monitoring systems to maintain optimum working efficiencies. Clearly visible LED indicators are positioned on the face of units to highlight individual lamp status and general faults and a digital ‘hours run’ recorder guarantees lamp replacements are undertaken at the appropriate time. Integral safety lamp shutdown features are built in as standard to prevent any exposure when accessing the units. This permits straightforward preventative maintenance with simple service packs available directly from UVent containing all components necessary for a full-service including replacement lamps and reflectors, filter pads, gloves, cleaning cloth and fluid.

Supporting the economic recovery
All UVent products have been proven to destroy viruses and bacteria. including coronavirus, and this has brought huge benefits to the healthcare market. However, UVent is seeing more and more market sectors adopting / introducing this technology, including schools and colleges, hotels, factories, retail premises and commercial offices. 

Mansfield Pollard co-owners Lou Frankland and Bryan Bentley

Proud to be at the forefront
“As a 154-year-old business, we have an enviable record of reacting positively to changing market forces through product innovation, flexibility and business agility. Allied with our inherent core values of collaboration and continuous development, the Mansfield Pollard brand remains a symbol of British manufacturing excellence. We are proud to be at the forefront of the fight to arrest the spread of the virus and proud to be able to contribute to the UK’s societal bounce-back, allowing more people to get on with their normal lives and get our economy working again.’’
Lou Frankland, Managing Director