While many onboard sanitization and disinfection solutions focus on airborne bacteria or surface cleaning, a new, but time-tested technology is making its way into public transit.
Aereus Technologies, via a partnership with Olin Brass, is producing and distributing the CuVerro Shield™ alloy technology, a solid functional surface layer of antimicrobial copper alloy which starts to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria upon contact. Aereus representatives believe the CuVerro Shield Technology will have a major impact on transit buses, facilities, and trains.
The antimicrobial copper science is straightforward. CuVerro Shield is applied to stanchions or other touchpoints on a bus. When a bacteria cell meets with the copper surface, the bacterium recognizes copper ions as an essential nutrient, permitting the ions to enter the cell. This ruptures the bacteria cell’s outer membrane and interferes with its normal functions, causing cell death.
Copper ions will also impede the bacteria cell’s cell respiration/metabolism. This can oftentimes cause irreparable DNA damage to the cell, making it unlikely for the bacteria will develop any future resistance to the alloy.
“In some cases, popular sanitizing agents are damaging transit vehicles as well as exposing riders to potentially harmful chemicals,” said Terry Frank, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Aereus Technologies. “Antimicrobial copper is naturally recyclable, non-chemical, non-consumable, and generally is not found to be harmful to humans or causing allergic reactions.”
City View Bus Sales & Service is the distributor of CuVerro Shield in the greater Toronto area. Joseph D’Urso, business development manager at City View, said that antimicrobial copper presents a great way to kill germs at common touchpoints throughout a transit vehicle.
“We know that the transit industry has seen a decline in ridership thanks to the pandemic,” D’Urso said. “Having products like CuVerro Shield gives riders peace of mind, and that goes a long way toward restoring faith in the service.”
From D’Urso’s perspective, pre-pandemic antimicrobial and sanitization solutions were almost a non-factor for agencies. Now, anti-pandemic start-up products have flooded the market.
“That is why I really like the Aereus product,” he said. “It’s been around, and it’s not a COVID startup. Agencies need simple, proven solutions, and they need them now. The data for antimicrobial copper is thorough – it is an application that can be put on existing stanchions, or we can complete retrofits.”
City View’s customers appreciate that as well. The company prides itself on representing brands that have been in business for a long time, D’Urso said.
“I want to align myself with a product that is proven, data-driven, and beneficial to the customer,” he said. “I’m not looking to make a quick buck here. I’m looking to provide a service with which my customers are happy, and that ultimately makes the end users extremely happy.”
D’Urso said that a functional layer of copper, applied to stanchions, seat handles, and other high-touch surfaces on a vehicle, can be a gamechanger for agencies. The copper is always functioning and working for the life of the stanchion, whether or not someone touches it. The surface just needs to be kept clean of normal dirt and debris to function properly.
“Our CuVerro Shield process allows us to apply a 150-micron solid functional layer of antimicrobial copper alloy to any existing part – plastic or metal – thereby reducing the operating costs significantly from prior generations,” Frank said.
“Many agencies don’t have the budget for a $10,000 plasma cluster or an ultraviolet light, but this is a much easier to agencies to take on,” D’Urso added. “This is a big opportunity for agencies to make their buses safer, and increase ridership over time.”
This technology will last the entire lifetime of the vehicle, making it an exceptional value for the Transit Agency.