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Joint innovative power in the wake of the pandemic

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The pandemic has contributed to many challenges, and this year has been different for each company and industry. Yet out of challenges grow innovative and great ideas. In consultation with Karolinska University Hospital, QleanAir Scandinavia has developed a product that, among other things, protects healthcare staff, counters the spread of infection, and contributes to a generally better working environment.

QleanAir has over 30 years of industry experience in developing niche solutions for indoor air purification. The company began its journey by cleaning tobacco smoke and has been working on cleanrooms for drug preparation for several years. Two extremes with complicated processes and high-quality requirements that have given the company a solid background in air cleaning.

They subsequently began to develop solutions to improve air quality in industry, including PostNord’s warehouse and distribution terminals. Over the course of a year, a food industry-specific solution was also launched. First, however, another sector urgently needed help with air purification.

When the intensive care units were filled with the first wave of Covid-19 patients, the healthcare staff at Karolinska Hospital in Solna and Huddinge were mainly protected by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and ventilation. However, a ventilation solution is not a guarantee of good air quality. On a ward with Covid-19 patients on respirators and many employees, the particle content became very high. To create a safer working environment, efficient air cleaning was required, and Karolinska contacted several suppliers in the market.

“Karolinska chose us as a partner because our solutions meet the hospital’s high requirements for efficient air purification, with a certified HEPA 14 filter and quiet operation”, says Bo Dolk-Petersson, who is responsible for product development.

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The forward-looking work environment experts at Karolinska aimed to improve air quality from a working environment perspective. COOR and their competent ventilation experts were called in for the implementation and dimensioning. 63 FS 70 units equipped with HEPA 14 filters were ordered and delivered within a short time. Measurements were taken before, during and after the installation to monitor the effect. Between the measurements, Bo and the ventilation experts discussed the ideal air purifier for a healthcare environment. In addition to FS 70 HEPA, they wanted a smaller variant that would be more suitable in smaller rooms.

“We are learning at the same time as developing a product. A year ago, we were not in the healthcare segment, and now we are at the forefront, helping healthcare institutions. We are involved with the crisis and can contribute while at the same time developing new products that allow additional and exciting business”, says Bo Dolk-Petersson.

QleanAir’s new FS 30 is also suitable for facilities such as offices, conference rooms, schools, and hotels, etc. In addition to world-leading products and having knowledge about air purification built into their DNA, the key to QleanAir’s success lies in their sensitivity to the market and customers’ needs. They work with world-leading suppliers, and each continent has its own product supply. Bo Dolk-Petersson then develops the product with the product designers, developing plans and building prototypes of the machines in the lab. Their supplier network, which is with them all the way, contributes to short lead times in product development, and they are also quick to adjust.

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“The shared learnings we achieved with the healthcare system are groundbreaking. Demanding clean air will become a matter of course within a couple of years – as important as clean water.

During the first wave of Covid-19, 63 FS70 units were ordered and installed in four different intensive care units at Karolinska in Solna and Huddinge. In December, when the second wave hit, a new order was placed for both FS 30 HEPA and the newly developed FS 30 HEPA.

This article was published in the innovation themed issue of Dagens Industri.

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