Tuesday, 10 December 2019
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No more disgust at handrails

It all began with a business competition. Tanja Nickel and Katharina Obladen, upper school pupils in Cologne, developed a business plan for a fictitious product.

The founders Tanja Nickel (left) and Katharina Obladen. (Photo: © Uvis)

Now they have presented the result at the Hanover Trade Fair: a sterilisation module for the handrails of escalators. The origins of Uvis UV-Innovative Solutions GmbH can be found in Cologne at the Erzbischöfliche Liebfrauenschule. During their twelfth year, Nickel and Obladen decided to take part in the business competition “business@school”.

At the end, they were supposed to develop a business plan for a fictitious product – at the time of the swine flu outbreak. Consequently, they decided to make a contribution to containing such infectious diseases. They chose surfaces in public areas and among these one of the biggest sources of infections: the handrails of escalators. They selected UV-C technology as the procedure, developed a first prototype of the Escalite sterilisation module and applied for patent registration.

Sterilisation rate of up to 99.5%

HandwerkThe sterilisation module is installed in the closed part of the escalator and as a result continuously irradiates the handrail with UV-C light. As a result of a special arrangement of lamps and reflector baffles, the UV-C radiation can reach every part of the handrail. The radiation destroys the DNA of the microorganisms and a sterilisation rate of up to 99.5% is achieved.

Each escalator user can hold the handrail without having to expose themselves to a risk of infection. In this way, the risks of falling on the escalator is also minimised. The module is efficient, environmentally-friendly and can be installed in every kind of new or existing installation. The Escalite sterilisation module has already successfully come through two pilot projects in big German cities. The sterilisation module technology can also be applied to other areas of use.

Nickel and Obladen went on working on their idea alongside their university studies, which in 2016 finally led to the establishment of Uvis UV-Innovative Solutions GmbH. Today they work full-time as Uvis’ managing directors. Their patent has now been issued throughout Europe. Another success was victory in the pitch competition of the Founders' Forum NRW in March 2017.


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