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New photocatalyst surface decontaminator slashes costs, boosts infection control in SA facilities

Johannesburg, 24 Mar 2023

Sharp has announced the availability in South Africa of a new photocatalyst solution for surface decontamination, which improves infection control and is considered a more cost-effective approach, reducing the overall cost of infection control compared to traditional methods.

The term “photocatalyst” refers to chemical compounds that can use light as a source of energy to begin or accelerate a chemical reaction. While most of the photocatalyst products are limited to being activated by sunlight or UV light only, Sharp Photocatalyst can be activated by any visible light, including fluorescent light, LEDs and other indoor lighting.

Owing to its unique formula, Sharp Photocatalyst activation results in the formation of a group of ions that eliminate viruses, bacteria and fungi, and even bad odours that are formed from volatile organic compounds. The reaction is completely safe, with no hazardous by-products. 

Sharp has a 111-year history of introducing innovative products to the global market. Sota Saito, Managing Director of Sharp Middle East & Africa, considers the Sharp Photocatalyst to represent continuity in that long legacy of innovation.

Saito says: “We at Sharp have the vision to help create healthier and safer working and living environments. We previously introduced our Plasmacluster technology, which provides protection against direct airborne cross-infection. Plasmacluster sold more than 100 million units over the course of more than 20 years. With the award-winning new photocatalyst solution, Sharp is continuing that legacy, enabling organisations across all sectors to address the risk of indirect cross-infections that can occur from touching unclean surfaces.”

Sharp Photocatalyst, developed and manufactured in Japan for surface decontamination, is sprayed onto surfaces to create a coating layer that remains effective for one full year. In controlled studies, it has been proven 99.99% effective in reducing viruses and bacteria on surfaces, and over 96% effective in reducing allergens, while also remaining safe for human contact.

Sharp Photocatalyst is widely used to support infection control protocols in public facilities in Japan. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers and citizens have become far more aware of the need for proactive infection control.

Saito says: “Our Sharp Photocatalyst can be applied onto any surface, including door handles, handrails, medical equipment and often-neglected areas such as seats and reception desks. It introduces an extra line of defence to improve infection control protocols. Regular detergents, disinfectants and water can continue to be applied over the surfaces coated by Sharp Photocatalyst in daily cleaning protocols; however, we recommend not using corrosive agents to wipe down treated surfaces.”

Sharp partners with Anest Iwata, a Japan-based manufacturer of spray paint technologies, for the spray guns best suited to apply the photocatalyst. Anest Iwata’s specialised photocatalyst spray guns include airbrush guns for precise applications and large low-pressure spray guns to cover large surface areas.

Tetsuichi Hina, Managing Director at Anest Iwata South Africa, says: “Anest Iwata’s specialised spray equipment allows Sharp Photocatalyst to be applied evenly, effectively and quickly. Because the spray guns are lightweight, they are easy to use and their reliability and precision ensure proper coverage without waste.”

Sharp and Anest Iwata have partnered in several trials in South African facilities, with resounding success. Testing in local hospitals reduced surface contaminants by up to 95%, while testing in a leading automotive manufacturing facility reduced surface contamination by up to 91% over a 12-month period.

In 2022, Sharp Photocatalyst was awarded an iF design award, recognising it as one of the best business concepts in the world. Sharp Photocatalyst is offered to a wide variety of users in South Africa to support infection prevention protocols in hospitals, banks, manufacturing facilities, malls, restaurants, public transport and any high-traffic indoor area.

More information about Sharp Photocatalyst can be found on the Sharp South Africa official website. You can also request someone from Sharp or Anest Iwata to contact you.