Disinfecting Point of Sale Touchscreens with UVC LEDs


James Peterson

By James Peterson

Market Development Manager

Commercial touchscreens used for Point of Sale (POS), self-ordering, or ticketing are among the highest touched surfaces in businesses by consumers, making them a critical vector for surface transmission of pathogens. As businesses find reliable ways to earn consumer trust through the effectiveness of their cleaning procedures, the disinfection of touchscreen surfaces for each transaction can serve a noticeable procedure to reduce the spread of pathogens like coronavirus. Businesses can use chemical disinfectants or ultraviolet solutions to achieve touchscreen disinfection for each user, and select the best option for how their business operates.

No chemicals, no uncertainty

Chemical disinfectants can serve as a reliable treatment of surfaces but become progressively challenging to employ on touchscreens as the number of daily users increases. The labor time and cost of cleaning chemicals becomes associated with every visitor, so with more customers comes more cleaning costs and time. Chemical disinfectants also must remain wet on the surface for their specified dwell time, with products like Chlorox brand Disinfecting Wipes requiring that the surface must “remain visibly wet for 4 minutes”. While this procedure is effective, businesses should also consult their equipment manufacturers guidance on disinfection, many manufacturers official guidelines require units to be powered down before cleaning and limit the types of chemical disinfectants that can be used safely without damaging the touchscreen.

Increasing equipment uptime and managing labor costs

For businesses with a small number of visitors and infrequently used touchscreens, chemical disinfectant procedures can have their labor needs fit into the day at a low cost per disinfection cycle. But in businesses that experience busy points of the day, or a high number of daily visitors, the speed of transactions become critical to reducing customer wait times and increasing revenue during peak hours.

A business with 100 daily visitors to a Point Of Sale that is being disinfected by wipes would need almost a half hour in labor time and over six hours of equipment down time each day to be able to meet dwell time instructions and to protect each new guest from the last user of the device.

Businesses that encounter this frequency and number of uses per day may find a better solution in automating and speeding up the disinfection of touchscreens using ultraviolet systems. Automating touchscreen disinfection with ultraviolet allows both daily labor and increased wait times between customers to be virtually eliminated.

LEDS shine in this application

Both UV lamp systems and UVC LED systems can provide this kind of automated disinfection to touchscreens, but UVC LEDs provide a level of speed, safety, and total lifetime which makes UV lamps challenging to use in a commercial or public environment.

Klaran has developed an optimized UVC LED dosage design for 15” and 22” touch screen systems which accomplishes a 99.9 percent reduction of viruses like H1N1 influenza in under 10 seconds using Klaran LE (a UVC LED strip). In comparison, many cold cathode fluorescent lamps for UV can take up to 60 seconds to even reach their full UV output.

For commercial locations with hundreds of visitors per day or small businesses prioritizing productivity, automated disinfection solutions for touchscreens, POS, and payment terminals using Klaran UVC LEDs or UVC LED strips can provide over 100,000 rapid disinfection cycles safely and without disruptive equipment downtime.

New cleaning protocols with the use of UV light is a significant step in assuring visitors and employees of the safety steps taken an establishment, while also reducing exposure to cleaning chemicals and residues. Managing UV exposure is also a critical requirement to maintain that promise. UV lamps emit light in all directions so they require appropriately designed reflectors and baffles to control the light, but UVC LEDs emit from a smaller angle, allowing for smaller, better guided systems that manage exposure risks.

UV systems can demonstrate hygiene directly to customers and be used safely in the presence of visitors, though it is critical that the design of these systems match to the systems they are used on.

Conclusion

Our experience in this application can help OEMs achieve products that match the speed, safety, and total disinfection cycles for their customer applications. By contacting Crystal IS with your touchscreen size and frequency of device use, our Applications Engineering team will guide OEM designers through UVC LED implementation on standard 15” to 22” widescreen, 10” tablets, mobile devices, or custom terminals to help automate touchscreen disinfection on your devices.