Akron-Canton Airport has teamed with Western Reserve Hospital in Cuyahoga Falls to become the first airport using nano-technology to provide cleaner bins in the TSA lines.
GREEN Travelers at Akron-Canton Airport will notice orange liners on the handles and mats inside bins used in the security line before entering the boarding area.
The liners, developed by NanoTouch Materials, help kill germs. Using mineral nano-crystals that react with light, the material creates a self-cleaning oxidation reaction that the company says is stronger than bleach and continuously is breaking down organic contaminants.
Akron-Canton is the first of 9,000 airports around the world to use the technology. Western Reserve Hospital, in Cuyahoga Falls, is providing the mats and skins as part of the physician-owned hospital’s commitment to community health and safety.
Medical care should focus on treating wellness, said Dr. Robert Kent, president and chief executive officer at Western Reserve Hospital. Providing the self-cleaning mats and skins is a step toward ensuring wellness because the nano-technology helps prevent germs from spreading on the surfaces, he said.
“This is where healthcare needs to be,” Kent said.
Airport and hospital officials have spent two years trying to get the NanoTouch technology in place at Akron-Canton.
David Regula, customer service manager at the airport, first learned about the technology and wondered if it could be used in the Transportation Security Administration’s screening lines between the airport’s ticket windows and boarding area.
Kathy Romito, who works in outreach with the hospital, offered the hospital’s assistance after hearing that Regula was researching ways to use the technology. The hospital always is looking at opportunities to promote prevention and wellness, she said.
The airport and hospital worked with NanoTouch to devise processes where the self-cleaning mats and skins could be used in the TSA bins. The NanoSeptic mats are one-sixteenth of an inch thick and sit inside the bins, while NanoSeptic skins are attached like stickers to the bin handles. The skins should be switched every 90 days, while mats can remain in service for about one year.
Kent said working with the airport to provide NanoSeptic products for the TSA equipment reflects the hospital’s commitment to support community health beyond the building’s walls.
NanoTouch Materials in based in Forest, Va., at the Center for Advanced Engineering & Research. The NanoSeptic product line is made in the United States. The company’s research and development lab, which is funded by a $2 million grant, is developing new products and uses to help make places cleaner and healthier.
The company said its products rely on a natural process called photocatalysis. When light hits a mineral, it triggers a chemical process that cause organic material to decompose. The NanoSeptic mats and skins turn high-traffic touch points — the TSA bins, for example — into continuously self-cleaning surfaces. The mats and skins supplement the regular maintenance and cleaning of the TSA bins.
NanoTouch said its processes have been verified by using a variety of government testing systems, as well as through university research centers. The technology received an innovation award from the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association last November as one of the leading technologies in the cleaning agent category, the company said.
The product already is being used in schools, day care centers and hospitals in Virginia, while there are distributors 30 countries.
Kent and Rick McQueen, president and CEO at Akron-Canton, said the both institutions are considering other uses for the NanoTouch products.