AIRCRAFT LAVATORIES are at the upfront when it comes to the most expansive ones across sections. Right from ‘chemical toilet blue water recirculated electric flush’ to ‘vacuum flush’, aircraft lavatories have been the focal point of research & development for airlines and aircraft manufacturers.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]The innovative and award winning ‘Clean Cabin Fresh Lavatory’ from the aircraft manufacturing giant, Boeing, brings a whole new approach to washroom hygiene. [/box]
Recently, engineers and designers at the Boeing Company have developed a self-cleaning lavatory prototype that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill 99.99% germs. The cleaning system can disinfect all surfaces after every use in just three seconds. Boeing believes this selfcleaning technology, combined with touchless features, will enhance the passenger experience on commercial flights.
The lavatory uses Far UV light that would be activated only when the lavatory is unoccupied. Far UV is different from the UVA or UVB light in tanning beds, and is not harmful to people. Boeing engineers have shown through tests on prototypes that this innovation can minimize the growth and potential transmission of micro-organisms. Boeing has filed for a patent on this concept.
“We’re trying to alleviate the anxiety we all face when using a restroom that gets a workout during a flight,” says Jeanne Yu, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Director of Environmental Performance. “In the prototype, we position the lights throughout the lavatory so that it floods the touch surfaces like the toilet seat, sink and countertops with the UV light once a person exits the lavatory. This sanitizing even helps eliminate odours.
On cost effectivity, Teresa King, Engineering Project Manager, Cabin Technology Development & Integration and Clean Cabin Fresh Lavatory Project Lead at The Boeing Company says, “We are too early in the development process to have a cost estimate but I do want to stress the innovativeness of using this new type of ultraviolet light (UV) technology to effectively disinfect the lavatory in the flight without interrupting normal lavatory operations.
“This advance UV light kills bacteria, spores and viruses in seconds (conventional UV would take minutes
to do the same task) and it does this in a way that is dry and chemical- & byproduct -free.”
The cleaning system, which will require further study before it can be offered to airlines, would lift and close the toilet seat by itself so that all surfaces are exposed during the cleaning cycle. The design also incorporates a hands-free faucet, soap dispenser, trash flap, toilet lid and seat, and a hand dryer. A hands-free door latch and a vacuum vent system for the floor are also under study. All these to keep the lavatory as hygienic as possible between scheduled cleaning.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]“We are too early in the development process to have a cost estimate but I do want to stress the innovativeness of using this new type of ultraviolet light (UV) technology to effectively disinfect the lavatory in the flight without interrupting normal lavatory operations.”
– Teresa King
“Some of the touchless features are already in use on some Boeing airplanes today,” says Yu. “But combining that with the new UV sanitization process, will give passengers even more protection from germs and make for an even better flying experience.
“In addition, the Clean Cabin Fresh Lavatory which has won the Crystal Cabin Awards 2016 in the Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment category at Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg-Germany, has a comprehensive suite of solutions which can minimize transmission of disease-causing microorganisms and architectural features and material designs that can eliminate accumulation of dirt and enhance the clean look of the space,” explains Teresa.Suprita Anupam