Robotics & Mechatronics

First sanitisation robots in South Africa

First Quarter 2023 Robotics & Mechatronics

Patient and healthcare worker safety in South African hospitals is set to reach a new level of excellence with the launch of the revolutionary HERO21 robotic sanitisation system – the first two units of which have been installed at Polokwane Provincial Hospital.

The HERO21 is used in medical environments and other industries to disinfect rooms, protect employees and significantly reduce the risk of infections. The robotic system was developed by German company ICA Health, endorsed by Ruhr University Bochum and global electronics group Omron Corporation. Omron is responsible for the production of the robotics components, which are supported by its South African operation.

Mamello Clinical Solutions (MCS) is the exclusive distributor and service partner for the HERO21 system for sub-Saharan Africa. MCS business development manager, Robert Makhubedu explains: “The HERO21 robot incorporates pioneering ultraviolet-C disinfection technology, which addresses the hygiene challenges of our time.”

Conventional disinfection methods in hospitals, such as wiping and scrubbing, are often inadequate and can even promote germ resistance. The HERO21 provides the highest level of disinfection performance and thus offers optimal protection. When first disinfecting contaminated rooms with the HERO21, the cleaning staff who normally work in the front line are exposed to a far lower risk of infection. UVC radiation destroys all pathogens in the targeted environment, including bacteria and viruses, Because UVC radiation is effective on its own, the HERO21 robot is a dry, chemical-free system.

“We are pleased to have been able to deliver the first HERO21 disinfection robots to South Africa. In Mamello Clinical Solutions, we have found an ideal service and sales partner for a long and successful partnership. With the successful installation of the first two devices in Polokwane, a major milestone has been reached,” says Steffen Kriege, head of product management at ICA Health.

Commenting on the relationship between Omron and ICA Health, Evert Jansen Van Vuuren, Omron Robotisation Solutions coordinator says: “Our mission, as Omron, is to improve the lives of the people we serve. The HERO21 robot disinfects multiple areas so that people from all walks of life can work in a safe, germ-free environment. The HERO21 works well with the Omron AMR navigation technology, which enables it to operate remotely without human intervention.”

While sanitising systems have been in use for years, the COVID pandemic motivated ICA Health to ramp up the development of a robust system for hospitals. The HERO21 system is effective in high risk areas including operating theatres, emergency rooms and ICUs − as well as in other hospital settings. Because UVC radiation is dangerous, people are removed from the room to be sanitised and the robot moves through the space. Disinfection is achieved automatically, precisely, quickly and efficiently.

The robot achieves a disinfection level of over 99,99% , with a coverage of 360° in the designated area. The cleaning cycle takes between two to three minutes to disinfect an average sized room such as an operating theatre. The robot’s navigation system in the target area is driven by world-renowned Omron LD90 robotics.

The launch of the HERO21 robotic system adds a new dimension to MCS’s established product offering. “Our strategy is to become a distributor of choice for the world’s leading equipment and technology manufacturers, specifically geared to South African conditions. This partnership with Omron means that we are adding new brands, products and software systems to our range to serve a broader customer base. The HERO21 robot will make a massive difference in terms of patient and worker safety. It is an economically validated, reliable solution,” Makhubedu concludes.

Apart from applications in the medical and healthcare sectors, the HERO21 is also suited for other industries such as hotels, restaurants and catering, pharmaceuticals, and corporate office buildings.


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