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Protecting Health and Safety by Automating Disinfection Services with UV-Equipped Mobile Robots Solving Social Issues during the COVID-19 Pandemic (4)

In the fight against COVID-19, the demand for sanitization and disinfection services is growing not only in hospitals but also places like airports, hotels, offices, and schools worldwide. However, the physical and mental toll on the workers providing these services has become an issue in many societies. Here we profile OMRON robots that are working around the world to prevent infection during disinfection processes, alleviate the burden on workers, and protect everyone's health and safety.

Series list
Members of OMRON in Spain contribute to an open ventilator development project
Even Under COVID-19, "Keep Providing Medical Suction Equipment". Efforts by OMRON Employees in Italy
OMRON China Takes Up the Challenge: Supporting BYD, which has become one of the World's Largest Mask Manufacturers
Protecting Health and Safety by Automating Disinfection Services with UV-Equipped Mobile Robots
Our Ever-evolving Commitment to Meeting the Needs of Society: The Case of the Hotel Industry's Solution to the Challenges It Faces
"New Normal" Railway Station Services by realizing "Station Automation"

Sanitization Workers Plagued with Concerns

Workers involved in sanitization wear full-body protective gear including hair coverings, masks, and protective suits to reduce the risk of infection at work. They use alcohol-impregnated cloths to wipe down handrails, walls, and other areas that people may come into contact with, with shifts running virtually 24/7 in places such as general hospitals, just like healthcare workers. With this work comes the fear and stress of not knowing when you may be infected yourself. Ultraviolet C (UVC) light is said to be an effective alternative for disinfecting surfaces, however strong UVC light is harmful to human skin and eyes.

UV-Equipped Mobile Robots: Relieving Workers and Keeping Everyone Safe

Helping to solve these problems in the workplace are UV-equipped mobile robots that automate the processes of sanitization and disinfection with robotic technology. OMRON has supported partner companies*1 across the world to develop these robots, which are OMRON LD Series autonomous mobile robots fitted with UVC lamps. They can be programmed for different locations, routes, and operating times, to disinfect hospitals, schools and other public spaces efficiently by exposing them to UVC light. The use of OMRON's mobile robots enables the disinfection process to be automated: there is no need for humans to operate the UVC lamps and risk harmful effects, and secondary infections during the disinfection process can be avoided. This innovation meets the challenges of ensuring workplace safety and reducing the burden on workers, while helping to prevent the spread of all types of infectious diseases.

The UV-equipped mobile robots are already in use in more than ten countries*2 including Poland, France, Canada, Brazil and Mexico.

eng.jpgUV-Equipped Mobile Robots in Operation across the World

UV-Equipped Mobile Robots Are at Work in All Sorts of Places (Control Tec)

OMRON Europe's Bruno Adam, who worked with partners to develop the robots, has this to say about the development process: "The pandemic poses huge challenges for many companies and institutions. Many of them have realized that automated processes, innovative robotics and technologies such as UV disinfection can provide them with valuable support in coping with this challenge. Such applications relieve the burden on employees while improving safety and meeting regulations. OMRON's experts and partners can provide comprehensive information and advice on which technology is best suited for which field of application."

Expanding the Robots' Spheres of Activity

In Australia, OMRON has partnered with a manufacturer of sterilization machines to use its mobile robots to automate the process of transporting trays containing medical equipment that has been used within the hospital to sterilization machines, and transporting the equipment after sterilization to operating rooms, examination rooms, and other parts of the hospital. The medical equipment trays can weigh up to 120 kilograms, so transporting them to sterilization manually was tough physical work for hospital staff. Automating this transportation process not only helps lower the risk of viral infection during the pandemic, but also improves the working environment for all hospital staff, by alleviating their physical burden and reducing the risk of injuries and in-hospital infections during the process of transporting surgical apparatus and other used medical equipment.


Australia's First Automated Solution for Sterilization of Medical Equipment in Hospitals
(OMRON Mobile Robot Integrated with Sterilization Machine)

Getting to Know Customers' Issues and Building Solutions Collaboratively

In working to lower the risk of the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases, OMRON considers worker safety and workload reduction to be part of its social responsibility as a corporation that has been active in the fields of manufacturing, healthcare, and social systems for many years. OMRON is resolved to continue tackling such social issues long into the future.

All about OMRON's LD Series Mobile Robots
OMRON has produced several thousand LD Series mobile robots throughout the world to date. Unlike conventional AGVs, LD robots can avoid obstacles autonomously, so there is no need to alter room layouts and other conditions for them. This makes the robots easy to adopt and ideal for movement and transportation in a wide range of settings. OMRON's mobile robot control software even enables multiple robots to operate autonomously within the same facility.
For more details on the LD Series mobile robots, see:

Information on UVC-equipped mobile robots from OMRON Europe:

Information on UVC-equipped mobile robots from OMRON Asia Pacific:
*1 Partner companies: OMRON is collaborating with partners across the world including MEANWHILE SAS in France, Techmetics in Singapore, ControlTec in Poland, FM Vision and Meridionale Impianti in Italy, and DoF Robotics in Turkey.
*2 More than ten countries: As of June 26, 2020