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Region: The Americas

Carrier launches OptiClean Negative Air Machine

Device can help hospitals slow the spread of COVID-19, company says

In the words of Carrier:

  • Device cleans contaminated air and prevents it from spreading to different sections of a hospital
  • Potential future uses include homes, businesses, and assisted living facilities

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida, 18 April 2020: Carrier Global Corporation on April 16 launched the OptiClean portable negative air machine, which the company described in a Press release as a device that can help hospitals treating patients with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The device, the company said, cleans and removes air potentially contaminated by the virus. In a closed room, the company said, the machine uses high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, an air management system to significantly reduce the presence of coronavirus and other contaminants in the air, and flexible ducting to exhaust the filtered air.

According to Carrier, the machine creates negative pressure, so that when the hospital room door is opened, air is pulled into the room from outside instead of letting potentially contaminated air out from the room. If negative pressure is not required, Carrier said, such as in an open-air, temporary hospital, the machine can be used as an air “scrubber,” pulling air in, removing many contaminants, and discharging cleaner air back into the room.

“During this global pandemic, it is essential that companies like Carrier do what we can to help stem the spread of the disease and protect caregivers, hospital workers and patients,” said Dave Gitlin, President & CEO, Carrier. “Carrier’s strength lies in the expertise, creativity and passion of our employees to solve some of society’s most challenging problems. I am so proud of our team for identifying a need and quickly developing an innovative solution that will have an immediate impact for hospitals throughout the country.”

While hospitals generally have air filtration systems that reduce the spread of infectious diseases, those systems might only be available in certain sections of the hospital, Carrier said, adding that the rate at which COVID-19 spreads has put inordinate strain on hospitals in the most affected cities, where there are more COVID-19 patients than there are infectious isolation rooms. As a result, the company said, hospitals have had to convert rooms that were not intended for patients with infectious diseases, and new field hospitals have been established that are not equipped with hospital-level air filtration.

“The Carrier negative air machine fills a significant need in these critical situations, when it is necessary to create a negative offset in temporary facilities,” said Mark Schwartz, Director of Facilities, University of Rochester Medical Center, which trialed the machine. “As the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow, facilities must expand their capacity to treat patients in spaces that typically do not have the same air-handling capabilities as hospital rooms, which are specifically designed for treating airborne infectious diseases. Solutions from Carrier like the OptiClean are necessary to effectively remove contaminants from the air, create negative pressure within the patient-care space while protecting the adjacent areas, and slowing the spread of the disease.”

Carrier said it began developing the OptiClean in late March 2020. After quickly and successfully testing prototypes in Carrier facilities, the company began field trials in hospitals across the country and expects to begin shipping units shortly, it said. The machines, Carrier added, are portable, plug into a normal wall outlet, and sit on wheels that enable hospitals to move them to rooms as needed.

“Using existing Carrier fan-coil technology and working with suppliers to quickly secure additional raw materials, we’ve thrown away the playbook to ramp up testing and production to get machines deployed as fast as possible,” said Chris Kmetz, Vice President of Engineering, Carrier. “Going forward, with professional installation, OptiClean could be used in homes, businesses, assisted-living facilities and elsewhere to provide cleaner air and protect vulnerable populations and communities.”

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