How to select a UV disinfection solution for your facility

UV Light explanation
UV-C light is lethal to microbes and viruses as long as the correct exposure is delivered. | Image Credit: The Mobile Robot Guide

Are you considering the purchase of a disinfection robot to keep your facility clean? In this conversation with Chris Proud, CEO and co-founder of Safe Space , you’ll learn some tips about selecting an autonomous mobile robot based disinfection solution.

Automated disinfection solutions are one of the biggest innovations during the pandemic. If you are still considering deploying these robots in your facilities, there are some definite do’s and don’ts to be considered.

What should those interested in disinfecting their facilities look for in a solution?

We find that customers looking to introduce technology-based disinfection solutions in their facilities care most about three things:

  • Efficiency – Facilities need to disinfect larger spaces and more thoroughly than they have in the past but are often required to do so with the same staff and resources.
  • Effectiveness – Providing consistent levels of disinfection is difficult when you factor in the human element.  Technology based disinfection provides repeatable results and reporting tools to substantiate when and how well areas have been disinfected.
  • Safety – In addition to eliminating the chemicals that are normally used for disinfection when companies are considering technology-based disinfection tools like UV-C, it is important for them to find providers that are incorporating the appropriate safety tools to protect staff, guests, students, patients, etc.

What kinds of questions should you be asking your vendor?

  • Facilities considering UV Disinfection should ask each vendor if their robots have been approved by a third-party testing facility with positive/clinical 99.99% disinfection results?
  • Does the vendor have existing customers using the UV solutions they can speak to for reference?
  • What is the wattage of your UV-C lamps? (The more powerful the lamp, the quicker/more effective will be the disinfection results)
  • Do you stock replacement UV-C lamps? (The pandemic has caused a worldwide shortage of UV bulbs, making replacement difficult)
  • What safety measures has the vendor taken with their UV-C robot?
  • How quickly can it disinfect a standard 24’x24′ room?
  • How long does the robot’s battery last during one full disinfection cycle?

The Safe Space Ranger UV
RangerUV is a UV disinfection solution that can deliver a UV light based disinfection protocol anywhere in your facility. | Image Credit: Safe Space

What safety requirements should you be looking for?

It is typically best practice to operate any kind of UV-C disinfection solution when the area is unoccupied.  However, it is always possible for someone to accidentally encounter a disinfection robot in the middle of a cycle. You should be looking for intelligent sensors, cameras and the appropriate software that identifies that situation, warns the user, and immediately turns off the lights.  The vendor should be able to demonstrate this feature and tell you exactly how it works.  In addition, it is always ideal to utilize other basic safety tools such as protective eyewear and dosimeter tags that indicate over exposure. These UV tags are employed to increase peace of mind for our customers.

What kind of training do you need to give your employees?
We believe it is a fundamental requirement that we provide products that are easy to deploy and maintain. The equipment is often deployed by users with only minimal technical know-how so we have worked diligently to provide a simple user interface.  In addition, we provide both deployment services and training for our customers so they feel comfortable running the robot after our deployment team leaves their facility.

How will the robots be serviced?

Truthfully, there isn’t much to maintain on the system.  After the initial deployment is complete, we leave the customer with all the tools they need to operate and maintain the robot.  If the system is used extensively over a few years, it is reasonable to need to replace one or more of the bulbs but otherwise the system is low maintenance.  For customers that prefer to be less involved with robot maintenance we do offer service contracts as well.

What should or shouldn’t you do when buying, deploying or using the disinfection robot?

You should definitely do your research before buying a UV-C disinfection robot. There are a lot of UV companies cashing in on people’s fear and ignorance of the technology and making outrageous claims that are clearly false based on the laws of physics and UV-C technology.  Speak to existing customers before buying. Give detailed specifications on the building layout you wish to have disinfected. Not every space or facility is a good fit for a disinfection robot.

How important is the robot itself in your decision?

For us, the choice of our RoverUV mobile platform (the MIR100) was very important. You may have the safest, most effective UV-C solution, but if the mobile robot cannot navigate spaces well, has mechanical failures or is difficult to use, then the value of the entire solution is negated. Customers should look for disinfection robots that are built on proven, technically sound AMR platforms.

UV light explained
UV light is an important part of the light spectrum. | Image credit: Mobile Robot Guide

How does the disinfection technology/aspect of the system work?

There are three UV light wavelength categories: UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. Safe Space Technologies disinfection robot produces UV-C light. UV-C utilizes short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation that is harmful to microorganisms. The UV-C wavelengths our lights produce are 254nm which means they are capable of inactivating microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa. This quality makes UVC energy an effective, dry, environmentally-friendly and chemical-free way to prevent microorganisms from replicating in any public environment.

Also, please check out The Mobile Robot Guide’s COVID-19 resources page.

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at