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Germ-killer out of a tube

For many years, the problem of germs in the ventilation systems of food manufacturers has been underestimated. Last year, in the US alone, three well-known companies were forced to close because of listeriosis – the germs were quite literally in the air. Particularly in the highly sensitive slicer area, in which no additional thermal treatment of the product takes place, airborne contamination can have a negative effect on the safety and shelf life of the product. Aabach TechnoAir has developed an effective method which almost completely excludes the risk of airbourne contamination: The company from Wünneberg uses the basic principle of ionisation. Ionisation has long been established as a method of controlling unwanted odours. This is a process which takes place in nature every day and which was first used in an engineering context around 50 years ago. The fact that ionisation of air within a building not only removes unpleasant odours but also kills germs has only recently been applied to the food industry. AabachTechnoAir has refined the process for this purpose. The system is comparatively simple and can therefore be fitted into existing air conditioning and ventilation systems at relatively low cost. At high voltage, electrons are catapulted from a metal grille by means of a so-called ionsation tube. Together with the oxygen in the air so-called ions are produced. These ions have either a negative or positive charge and are so small that they can pass through the cell membrane of micro-organisms. There they influence the structure of proteins. This results in changes to the DNA strands of these micro-organisms, causing them to die. For this reason the technology is particularly suitable for reducing micro-organisms and eliminating moulds, especially in highly sensitive slicer areas and maturing rooms. The functional principles underlying ionisation have been subjected to scientific testing and proven to be effective (GRAPHIK). A positive effect could also be observed in applications involving raw meat: Although contamination with micro-organisms was not reduced, it was brought to a standstill, the micro-organisms did not reproduce during storage. This handling of this technology could not be easier: Unlike other methods of air disinfection, ionisation does not require filters and it is not necessary to direct the air that is to disinfected past a fixed point.  There is no need for products such as e.g. disinfecting aerosols which can form a deposit on the food. The ions are introduced to the room either passively (by means of an evaporator) or actively (by means of fixed ventilation). An air ionisation system from Aabach TechnoAir is also a more economical solution than conventional air purification systems. Purchase, installation and operation are not costly, as the tubes can be simply integrated into existing cooling and ventilation systems. At only eight Watts per tube, the energy costs are low. Service and cleaning also generate little cost as the tubes have a life of around three years. In most cases, the ionisation units themselves are installed inside rooms, this can usually be carried out by any electrician.

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