- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2021

CORTLAND, Neb. (AP) - A Cortland business has found success selling ventilation equipment to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Company co-founder Jeff Zvolanek said Industrial Maid is having one of its best months in the last 16 years thanks to increased awareness of filtration systems that can neutralize COVID-19.

The company’s I-Series air purifier uses a Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization system that generates an electric charge to create a field of concentrated ions that travel through the air and neutralize particles, pathogens, and odors. The ions destroy pathogens by robbing them of hydrogen and can protect people from bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.

The technology has been around for some time, and Industrial Maid first looked into it for grow house operations in Colorado.

“In simple terms, it mimics what happens out in nature everyday,” Zvolanek told the Beatrice Daily Sun. “Where we really started looking at this was in the grow houses for the odor and to kill mold, fungus and things they don’t want on the plants. When it came to COVID, it will permeate the hydrogen and deactivate the molecules so if you breathe it in, it’s been neutralized.”

According to information from Industrial Maid, the technology can render 99.4% of viral particles inactivated on a surface after 30 minutes.

“It’s really one of the most complete filtration systems on the market today,” said Mike Carpenter, who oversees business development at Industrial Maid. “The traditional media filtration we had in place was always very effective, but now that we’re able to remove pathogens, mold, odors that’s really an added benefit.

“If you’re using a UV light source to neutralize a virus, it can neutralize the top of a surface, like a table, but not underneath. This travels through the air and ions are able to attach to the virus wherever it is in space.”

The purifiers are aimed at industrial customers, like manufacturing facilities, schools, fitness centers and offices.

The company’s purifiers are being used in the Bob Devaney Center at the University of Nebraska, Woodees Restaurant in Lincoln, Doane University in Crete and the Blue Diamond Saloon in Las Vegas.

The actual ionization system that can neutralize COVID-19 is a small piece that’s around one foot long and can many times be added to existing HVAC equipment. The specific part costs around $1,000, and a complete system from industrial Maid can range from $2,000-$8,000, depending on the application. How many are needed to cover larger areas depends on the specific application, Zvolanek said.

The company has sold around 250 purifiers with the bipolar ionization system during the pandemic.

“We really didn’t have equipment fully ready to sell until the end of June or July, then you have to market it and all of that,” Zvolanek said. “Really this last quarter has been where we sold equipment. The first few months (of the pandemic) were kind of stagnant. Our sales dropped down a bit and then started back up.

“This is probably about the best month we’ve ever had and I anticipate it will continue that way…People are always getting the flu and other viruses. We made it through swine flu and now we’re here and people will constantly being paying better attention to what technology is out there to make spaces more safe.”

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