By January 12, 2022 Read More →

Disinfection robot honoured at Omron global contest

220112_Omron_1A team representing Omron Europe has been honoured for its ground-breaking automated UV disinfection robot at the company’s annual competition to address the most pressing social issues of today. Held annually, TOGA (The Omron Global Awards) aims to inspire Omron’s global workforce to look at their daily work from a social perspective and use their technical knowledge and the company’s best-in-class facilities to develop real-world purposeful and sustainable innovations for the benefit of society at large.

With the global pandemic having a devastating impact on people, businesses and governments alike, the focus of this year’s contest was on developing solutions to combat the effects of Covid-19. From a total of 6,461 project entries, a disinfection robot project led by a team from Omron’s German and Polish divisions emerged as the overall winner for the EMEA region.

The judges praised the project’s innovative and rapid development of an autonomous ultraviolet C (UV-C) robot to effectively sanitise and disinfect high-risk settings such as hospitals, schools and offices without human involvement, protecting the public and sanitation workers against Covid and other viruses such as SARS, MERS and Ebola.

“Among the thousands of TOGA entries this year, the judges felt that the disinfection robot project stood out as an exemplary demonstration of embodying the Omron principles,” says Gary Banks, general affairs manager for Omron Industrial Automation Europe. “Helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19, it addresses the most serious social challenge of our times. Congratulations to the team for their deserved Gold Award.”

220112_Omron_2The winning team’s original ambition was two-fold: keep public spaces free from multi-resistant germs by unlocking the superior disinfectant properties of UV-C light, which eliminates 99% of lingering Covid and other virus cells; and avoid exposing sanitation workers to either UV-C light (which is harmful to the skin and eyes of those administering it) or dangerous viruses.

By equipping Omron LD Series autonomous mobile robots with UV-C lamps, the team worked together with local partners to successfully automate the disinfection process, removing the need for human workers to carry out this task. The solution ensures the safety of high-risk areas such as workplaces, schools and healthcare settings without damaging surrounding goods or putting sanitation workers at risk. This last point is particularly important as, even when wearing full-body protective suits, sanitation workers are especially vulnerable to contracting Covid-19 in the course of their work.

Emitting ultraviolet rays that sterilise objects exposed to them, the fully traceable robots can be programmed to meet the requirements of specific locations, routes and operating times, curbing the spread of Covid and other viruses and helping to increase public safety and confidence as people begin returning to work, schools and social settings. An instant success, they are already in use across more than 10 countries, including Poland, France, Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

“The development of the disinfection robot was inspired by the worldwide problem of the spread of multi-resistant germs, especially in hospitals and nursing homes,” says Siegbert Knaup of the disinfection robot team. “About 700,000 people worldwide die every year from multi-resistant germs. Successfully combating these was and is the primary goal. Covid-19 accelerated our project.”

Yoshihito Yamada, president and CEO of Omron, comments: “We all want to contribute to social progress and make the world a better place. In the course of our daily work, we each have thoughts and ideas about what to do and how to make things better. But it takes courage to look beyond our routine duties and turn these new thoughts and ideas into action. Through TOGA, we encourage our employees to take that first step, giving them the courage to break the mould and unleash their passion. As a result, we are able to solve social issues while enhancing our corporate value.”

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