Self-cleaning door handle ‘kills 99% of germs’
Originally developed in response to poor handwashing practices, HandleSmart is now said to be playing an important role in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 – and fasteners from Southco are playing their part in that.
HandleSmart features sophisticated rotation technology that enables it to clean itself by rotating antimicrobial gel evenly after every use. It is designed for areas where handles are the most common points of bacterial and viral transmission, such as offices and commercial spaces, public toilets, restaurants and shops, as well as hospitals and medical facilities.
“Easy to install and with a 1.5L capacity of antimicrobial gel providing 3,000 operations between refills, HandleSmart is key to helping reduce the transmission of COVID-19,” it is claimed.
Poor hand washing habits
The HandleSmart company initially developed its self-cleaning handle in response to what it identified as the persistently poor standards of post-toilet hand washing habits among the general population. “Even in the most prosperous countries, just 50% of people use hand washing facilities after visiting the toilet. Other research has shown that only 60% of UK office workers wash their hands after using the lavatory.”
In response, two innovators developed the concept of a self-cleaning door handle which “kills 99% of germs and enhances standards of hygiene”. HandleSmart’s creators recognised the need to act quickly to ensure the product was available to support organisations in responding to changing hygiene requirements. The team secured the patent in January 2019, just as new requirements for public hygiene practices were being implemented in response to COVID-19.
During this period, members of the public were encouraged to use self-service kiosks and interfaces to reduce the risks of viral transmission through face-to-face interactions. “However, the wider issue of poor hand-washing practices makes the terminals themselves a risk for spreading of the virus.”
Critical challenge to adress
The HandleSmart team had to move quickly to ensure their product was ready to help address this critical challenge. They needed to make the application as secure and intuitive as possible for use in busy environments around the world. HandleSmart’s integral gel dispensing box is key to its performance in reducing the spread of germs. As a vital feature in making the solution practical and effective, it had to be fully secure and reliable, with minimal risk of tampering. To achieve this, HandleSmart required a latch to secure the main access to the dispensing box. It had to be:
HandleSmart’s creators identified the DZUS Lion 82 series Quarter-Turn Fastener from Southco as the best choice for its dispenser box latch. “They recognised that Southco had the capability and proven track record to solve their design challenges and help them achieve their wish list when other providers could not,” states the company.
The HandleSmart team also valued the fact that Southco was already helping to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Southco is a recognised producer of components for ventilator and diagnostic OEMs. The company also manufactures products such as antimicrobial latches and IP69k-rated hinges and hardware for safe high pressure, heated wash-downs of medical and clean room equipment.
High security standards
Southco’s DZUS Lion 82 series fastener offers a high standard of security to ensure that the enclosure containing the antimicrobial gel remains securely closed, helping the HandleSmart to perform effectively. The latch has a hex recess head style, which makes it operable only by tool, significantly reducing the risks and potential costs of tampering. Its low profile and discreet space-saving design further decreases the likelihood of attempted vandalism.
“While HandleSmart requires minimal maintenance, the DZUS 82 series fastener features a quick release function to make servicing even faster and easier,” adds Southco. “This reduces the need for frequent maintenance checks and enables businesses to maximise their staffing budget at a time when COVID-19 requirements make managing on-premises hygiene more costly and time-intensive.”
Because HandleSmart is used in busy areas, a high level of durability is essential. “The gel dispenser latch is designed to withstand repeated vibration, ensuring a long life-cycle, and also retains a strong, consistent clamping force with repeated operation. It holds captive to the panel, providing ease of use and removing the risk of lost hardware. Being highly tested and corrosion-resistant, the fastener also maintains its integrity and appearance throughout the lifetime of the application.”
Due to the unique pressures of bringing an innovative product to market, it was important for HandleSmart to find a latching product that combined exceptional security, reliability and durability, from a partner with global design and manufacturing presence, and proven industry expertise. “Southco is a key partner in HandleSmart’s role in reducing the impact of COVID-19 and improving wider public hygiene,” says HandleSmart designer Martin Wollacott. “We are proud that HandleSmart is helping to protect people around the world against the spread of the virus and Southco has a key role in supporting this.”