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Corona risk in the lift? The industry has a lot up its sleeve against this

Small, narrow, little air - many people get anxious at the thought of lifts. Even at "normal" times they are not everyone's cup of tea. And now we have the Corona pandemic. Is it risky to use lifts where you may not be able to keep the recommended distance and you have to press "germinated" buttons? Fear and disgust are spreading, but that's why you have to take the stairs up to the tenth floor? Don't worry, here too there are anti-corona solutions that make elevators safe to take.

The main transmission path for the corona virus, which has been rampant since the beginning of the year, is droplet infection or so-called aerosols. By breathing, speaking, sneezing or coughing, the viruses can spread in the air and thus infect other people. In China, a woman is said to have infected 71 people with corona in July this year - but without direct contact. The scientists suspect that the neighbours got infected in the lift of the high-rise building and then the virus spread. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the corona virus can be detected on stainless steel for up to 48 hours and on plastic for up to 72 hours. The poor ventilation also makes lifts possible virus hotspots. Regular ventilation should prevent infection clusters and contain the spread of COVID-19. But lifts cannot be ventilated so easily, and this poses great challenges for property owners.

The AHA rule – keep your distance - observe hygiene - wear an everyday mask (mouth-nose cover) – naturally also applies in lifts. Both sides, user and operator, are also responsible for taking further appropriate protective measures. In general, there should be as few passengers as possible in the lift cabins. Buttons, knobs or other operating elements should not be touched unprotected and contact with walls, doors, handles and handrails should be avoided. After use, hands should always be washed or even disinfected.

Operators can also take additional protective measures, such as increased cleaning and keeping the lift doors open when not in use to improve air exchange.

Fotocredit: thyssenkrupp Elevator

But what else is there to make passengers feel completely safe in the lift? This was the theme of the Builtworld online event entitled "Elevator technology: how to make lifts Covid-19 safe". Almost 170 participants attentively followed the panel's explanations and asked their individual questions in the chat about function, effectiveness and costs, which the panelists were happy to answer.

Christian Schlicht, from ECE, kicked off the event with concrete practical examples that have already been implemented in ECE shopping centres. He also highlighted the importance of a comprehensive hygiene concept in shopping centres, away from Corona.

Lift and escalator manufacturer thyssenkrupp is also taking on a new role during this period. Normally active as a contractor for real estate companies, Sascha Khabiri from thyssenkrupp Aufzüge is currently moving with his team into the consultancy sector for hygiene and disinfection and is becoming a contractor for his customers when it comes to disinfection solutions.

The examples presented by BlueKit, Hundt Consult and us showed that the different possibilities of making lifts Covid-19 safe complement each other in the best case.

BlueKit - Increased air exchange through LST technology:

What was originally designed as a shaft smoke extraction system and to ensure the energy efficiency of buildings can now be used in a modified way to ensure continuous ventilation of lifts. Until now, the flaps for ventilation in lift shafts have been controlled depending on the lift usage by detecting the presence of people in the cabin via the Lift Status Transmitter (LST) in addition to the air quality (CO2, temperature, etc.). However, in order to minimise the risk of aerosol contamination, these systems can be quickly and easily reconfigured and adjusted to the usage-dependent ventilation.

ELEVATAIR – Disinfection of the air in the lift cars:

New on the market is an air purifier that uses plasma technology to clean the air inside the cabins and rid them of 99.99 percent of all bacteria, fungi and viruses - including corona. The room air is sucked in by the air purifier, passed by a low-energy plasma field and this destroys the pollutants at the DNA level – without any side effects for people and the environment. Volatile organic compounds, fine dust and unpleasant odours such as sweat or cigarette smoke are also eliminated.

TiTANO – surface coating:

But the lift air is not the only possible source of infection. According to the WHO, 80 percent of infectious diseases are transmitted via the hands. One reason for this: 92 percent of the population do not wash their hands "properly", as an observational study by SRH Heidelberg showed. Therefore, handrails, handles and operating elements in lifts should also be treated with caution. The solution for germ-free use is the antimicrobial coating of these surfaces with TiTANO. This has an active effect against yeast, mould, bacteria and the corona virus and has a significant effect against noroviruses. Spraying the coating achieves a germ reduction of up to 99.99 percent. The coating lasts for about one year and should be refreshed afterwards.

A lot has happened in a relatively short time in the hygiene sector. What was once a "nice to have" is now a "must have". Old familiar things, such as regular hand washing, are being refreshed and many new developments are on the market. All industries are working hand in hand to make life safer for everyone in this time of uncertainty.

Published: 16. November 2020


“Large SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak Caused by Asymptomatic Traveler”, Emerging Infectious Diseases, Abrufbar unter: China

RKI – Robert Koch Institut:


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