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Interview - Steromask
+33 (0)2 85 67 10 00 steromask@ingenica.fr

Interview

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Q: How was this project born?

Confronted with the wave of the pandemy in France, the shortage of protective masks was highlighted by many. INGENICA has decided to mobilize the resources of its Nantes / Saint-Herblain site to develop a system for processing FFP2 masks. In collaboration with our Canadian partners, founders of SANUVOX specialized in disinfection of air conditioning circuits with UV-C for 25 years, we imagined and designed a mask decontamination device, using a UV-C treatment process.

We also, in partnership with the RENAULT Group, launched the industrialization of our solution for mass production by mid-May. The support of a cell dedicated to Bercy (Ministry of Economy & Finance)  allows us to envisage a decree and an ad hoc decree for this same date.

Q: What is UV decontamination technology?

Our technology consists of exposing the masks to Ultraviolet type-C with a dose high enough to ensure thorough decontamination. The concept is simple and above all without a collection circuit, without the need for traceability: each individual places his mask (only one at a time) in an “microwave oven” oven and the mask is decontaminated in 90s.

Numerous tests and laboratory trials have enabled us to establish the dose necessary for a germicidal action which destroys viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.

Our different prototypes have passed the bacterial and virological tests of ANSES (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety), DGA (Directorate General of Armaments) and an independent laboratory (COVID porcine, avian, human, bacillus subtilis) and we are currently continuing the cycling tests to refine the number of reuse possible masks.

Our technology therefore allows a user to disinfect her/his mask every 4 hours. He is extending the use of his PPE.

Q: Why only treat one mask at a time?

In its reflection, Ingenica wanted to integrate the confidence aspect, and the fact that the user can decontaminate his mask himself is extremely important.

It is essential not to interrupt the chain of possession of the mask. Thus the user ensures that once decontaminated, her/his mask cannot be exposed to involuntary contamination before being reused. The process extends the life of her/his PPE.

Q: Three major benefits from the device :

  • sanitary: the masks are decontaminated as many times as necessary during the day (about 10 possible re-uses, this is the limit of breathability of the masks, not the number of disinfections), it improves health protection of personnel (switch from fabric to surgical masks, or from surgical to FFP2, almost without additional cost, and without fear of supply disruption thanks to recycling)
  • ecological: the use of disposable masks can be ended, while increasing the level of individual protection
  • economical: a device for 20 or 30 people is amortized in less than 2 months for surgical masks