Spectrum Composites Inc. was a leader in the manufacture of diagnostic work stations used in auto repair by car dealers. But when business began to decline, Tom Kenny – the company CEO – was presented with an opportunity to diversify and invest in a new health care technology. Mark Statham, an Ohio-based inventor, along with Kenny and few other entrepreneurs from Michigan formed Auburn Hills-based Infection Prevention Technologies (IPT).
The new IPT team applied much of the technology and know-how used in the automotive segment and adapted it for use in a new health care application. IPT developed the concept of using ultraviolet (UV-C) light to kill harmful microorganisms. UV-C destroys the nucleic acids of microorganisms, making them incapable of reproducing and thus rendering them harmless. While the UV technology had been used in waste water treatment systems, the idea to use it to disinfect surfaces was new. Company engineers began developing the technology in 2009. A year later, the prototype was ready for the company’s new Intelligent Room Sterilization system, which was a mobile robot nicknamed “IRiS. ™”
The innovations didn’t end with the creation of “IRiS.” The more electrical energy that goes into the machine, the more effective it becomes at eradicating pathogens and Multi-Drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO) with UV-C light. Using its automotive experience, IPT incorporated the same technology used in electric cars by putting a lithium iron phosphate battery onboard the robot. The battery nearly doubled the amount of energy available to generate germ-killing UV-C light making it the most powerful mobile UV-C system in the world. They have patented this "Power-Boost™" technology. Additionally, the company patented its proprietary "Field-Balancing™" technology, which measures in real-time how much UV energy is being applied throughout the entire treatment area by the robot. The robot will then automatically adjust or “re-balance” the application of UV-C energy to areas where it’s most needed to assure that a pathogen killing dosage of UV-C energy is being applied to all surfaces, even hidden areas like the backside of bedrail or door handle. The net result of these patented technologies is much faster and more effective treatments than the competition.
The company can treat a room with disinfecting UV-C light in as few as 13 minutes, where competitors take 45 minutes or more.
"We basically applied a lot of the technologies we have in Oakland County to make this a better product," Kenny said.
The Michigan-based company and Medical Main Street member has more than doubled its sales each year since 2009 and the future looks even brighter.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 2 million people are affected by infections annually, and almost 100,000 of those people die. While infection prevention professionals work hard to reduce and eradicate the risks of MDROs and other pathogens, some methods are more effective than others. IPT products are the most powerful UV-C surface disinfection system in the world. The IPT robots are easy to use and are controlled by a hand-held computer. They are designed with multiple safety systems including door motion and IR motion sensors to turn off the robots automatically if someone walks into a room that is being treated.
Metro Health in Grand Rapids was the first hospital to acquire the IPT robot system, which is now in 80 hospitals from coast to coast. Locally, McLaren Oakland in Pontiac, was another early adopter of the technology, and has seen impressive results. Rhonda Leitch, infection prevention specialist at McLaren Oakland reported Clostridium Difficile rates of .028% which is significantly lower than the state average of 7.4%. In addition to domestic customers, the company recently reached a distribution agreement in Saudi Arabia.
Because the UV-C light waves target microorganisms indiscriminately, this technology can also be used to kill biohazards like Ebola and anthrax. During the Ebola scare last year, Kenny says they were “fielding inquiries like crazy.” While hospitals are the first market the company targeted with its technology, it also has applications in gymnasiums, schools, restaurant kitchens, mailrooms, prisons, oil drilling rigs, cruise ships – any industry that is severely impacted by the presence of infectious organisms.
For more information contact Chris Batts at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 481-9899.