Healthcare, Office

Signify bets big on upper-room UV-C lighting

An office with square light fittings emitting blue light
Signify believes there will be a booming market for so-called ‘upper-room disinfection’, in which air-borne viruses are killed by UV-C light from mercury lamps mounted safely above and invisible to occupants.

THE WORLD’S biggest lighting company is making major investments in anticipation that the market for upper-room disinfection using UV-C lighting is set to dramatically expand.

Signify is increasing production of its UV-C mercury lamps by eight-fold, launching no fewer than 12 product ranges using UV-C light, and has bought the assets of Germicidal Lamps & Applications (GLA), a Dutch firm with expertise in UV-C disinfection.

The launches include UV-C luminaires designed for the deep disinfection of surfaces in offices, schools and toilets. 

They are equipped with sensors and controls to ensure that they only operate when people and animals aren’t present. 

Other products include mobile, freestanding UV-C luminaires that can be wheeled into a hotel room or used to disinfect surfaces on public transport such as buses and trains.
For the disinfection of objects, such as visitor tags, phones, bags, laptops and wallets Signify is launching a range of UV-C disinfection chambers for use in offices and municipal buildings. 

In the retail sector they can be used to disinfect returned items, glasses or clothes tried on in a changing room.

‘We have introduced these 12 families of UV-C lighting fixtures specifically designed to disinfect air, surfaces and objects,’ Harsh Chitale, leader of Signify’s digital solutions division, told Lux.

‘These products target different customer segments ranging from offices, schools, gyms, retail stores, warehouses, as well as on public transport.’

Last week, Signify chief Eric Rondolat told Lux that he envisions a booming market for so-called ‘upper-room disinfection’, in which air-borne viruses are killed by UV-C light from mercury lamps mounted safely above and invisible to occupants. 

‘We believe this is a fabulous potential moving forward’. 

Rondolat said this application ‘wasn’t doable’ with LED. ‘You’d have to use so many LEDs it would be impractical.’

‘We’re cognisant that this technology can help the fight against Covid-19 so we’ll sell the light source to other lighting companies for use in their products’.

He expects the buoyant market to continue after the crisis has abated, as people will still want their spaces to be free of viruses. ‘The world will change its perspective on spaces where people gather’. 

Osram recently gained international approval for its UV-C mercury lamp range and says 2,000 units of its Chinese-made UV-C lamp, the AirZing, are already in use in hospitals in Wuhan and Beijing.

Its factory in Kunshan has a capacity of 35,000 units per month, but management are exploring ways to increase this number.

‘We are working hard to increase the production volume of our UV‑C disinfection systems,’ Wilhelm Nehring, CEO of the digital business unit at Osram, told Lux.