As an innovative startup in food sanitation, Clean Works quickly recognized the company’s unique position to help fight COVID-19 by using its produce disinfection technology to disinfect up to 1,200 N95 masks per hour for hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Clean Works was founded in Ontario, Canada, in 2012, by produce industry veterans who developed a sanitizing system for fruits and vegetables to prevent the outbreak of foodborne illnesses. The Clean Works process uses ultraviolet light, vaporized hydrogen peroxide and ozone to kill 99.99% of pathogens. A key component of the Clean Flow Health Care Mini, the system used to disinfect PPE, is a chemical metering pump that provides continuous dosing of their sanitation solution.
“Independently, they’re good sanitizers. But when you mix them together, the three of them multiply the effectiveness,” Clean Works president and CEO Mark VanderVeen said during an interview with Canadian Manufacturing. “What happens is it creates a hydroxyl radical and that radical is what then finds the pathogen or the virus that’s resident.”
Precise control of the dosing levels and constant spray are essential to effective sanitation, whether sanitizing produce or PPE. Early on, Clean Works faced some challenges in this area.
“Pulsation was a big issue with the previous pump manufacturer,” said Clean Works general manager Joe Symons. “We needed a fully integrated solution that could deliver the needed accuracy and precision, while communicating with the PLC controls.”
To meet the accuracy and precision demands with PLC integration, Grundfos began testing its DDA FCM pumps with the Clean Works nozzle and chemicals. The team was committed to ensuring the pumps worked with the innovative equipment.
“The atomizing was really cool to see,” said Grundfos district sales manager Aninda Sarker. “As we tested the solution with our pump variants, I took a video for the Clean Works team, so they could see the pump in action. I also joined them at the plant for on-site testing to ensure our solution consistently delivered the results.”
By using stepper motor technology, Grundfos SMART Digital dosing pumps provide a smooth continuous flow profile, even when very small volumes are required. Additionally, an integrated pressure sensor and flow monitoring algorithm controls the flow rate by comparing the actual flow to the set point and automatically making any needed adjustments.
“This pump has completely alleviated our maintenance worries, and it’s hands-free,” said Clean Works co-owner Paul Moyers. “This has allowed us to a consistent flow of our hydrogen peroxide across the treatment area.”
Due to the shortage of N95 masks and other PPE in Canada, Clean Works’ newest affiliate, Clean Works Medical, has seen an increased demand from healthcare providers and industries for the Clean Flow Health Care Mini and the chemical dosing pumps that are critical to its functionality.
Grundfos worked with its global operations teams to quickly meet the needs of Clean Works Medical for DDA dosing pumps and ensure the company’s innovative solution can be deployed to sanitize equipment that protects the frontline workers who are helping save lives.
Clean Works is now working with the federal and provincial governments, as well as hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities in Canada, to help supply sanitized equipment during the pandemic.
“The key was to quickly provide a PPE solution to our frontline healthcare providers during this crisis, and Grundfos was an integral part of that,” said VanderVeen.