Webasto North America, an automotive, commercial vehicle and aftermarket equipment manufacturer, announced the introduction of its HFT 300 and HFT 600 high efficiency air cleaners. The lightweight, compact, cylindrical units use medical-grade HEPA-14 filtration media and can be installed almost anywhere inside vehicles and in other confined spaces where people may be sharing interior air.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it an increased awareness of human respiration and its role in the transmission of disease. The enclosed environments of vehicles used to transport people now pose a health risk to operators and passengers alike. Emergency personnel in ambulances, commuters using public transportation, children riding on school buses, work crews in transit to jobsites and their respective drivers, all face an elevated risk of infection simply by breathing in close physical proximity to one another.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) face a far greater hazard due to their direct exposure to aerosolized viruses and bacteria emitted by patients during ambulance-based treatment. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) all recommend HEPA-14 filtration and 60 air-changes-per-hour for infection control in ambulances.
Until now, HEPA-14 filtration systems have been large and unwieldy, and there were no retrofit units on the market that would universally fit existing ambulances, transit vehicles, school buses and crewed work trucks. With their high-velocity, twin-axial fan motors, Webasto’s new air cleaners have rapid air exchange rates that can meet or exceed WHO, CDC and ECDC guidelines for ambulances. The HFT 300 delivers up to 5 cubic meters of purified air per minute or 300 cubic meters per hour. The HFT 600 can process and clean up to 10 cubic meters of air per minute or 600 cubic meters per hour.
“Webasto’s HFT 300 and HFT 600 high-efficiency air cleaners provide fleet operators with a practical, immediate and reliable solution for vehicles in service and on the road today,” said Matt Wheeler, head of HVAC Light & Medium Duty for Webasto North America. “Our HFT units don’t impact a vehicle’s existing HVAC system and can complement other pathogen mitigation systems that come up short in meeting CDC, WHO and ECDC air-change recommendations. Their compact size, quiet operation, robust design and ease of installation enables them to be rapidly deployed, providing prophylactic air purification protection for large populations of vehicles—today.”
With their high-efficiency HEPA-14 filters, the HFT 300 and HFT 600 remove 99.995 percent of airborne particles equal to or greater than 0.3 microns. A single intake port is located on one end of the unit and decontaminated air is released in all directions, around its circumference. Each unit’s filter monitoring feature senses when its filter needs to be changed and an LED light alerts users when it’s time for maintenance.
Most filters should be expected to last between six to 12 months.
Filter changes are fast, simple and safe; and a filter-handling tool provided with each replacement filter, helps isolate and contain contaminants during filter replacement and disposal. Both HFT 300 and HFT 600 systems use commercially available, cylindrical H14 filters. Their rugged design, leak-free operation and two-part seal, make the HFT 300 and HFT 600 suitable for a wide variety of applications.
The lightweight HFT 300 and HFT 600 high-efficiency air cleaners have integrated mounting brackets and were designed for easy of retrofitting. Both models are compatible with 12- and 24-volt electrical systems and optional wire harness kits, including mating connectors, fuse, fuse holder and ring terminals are also available.
“Our HEPA-14 air cleaners provide the medical-grade atmospheric filtration that is universally accepted as a key to eliminating pathogens from interior environments,” Wheeler said. “And although they can’t replace appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing in the fight against the coronavirus and other infectious agents, they can provide a vital means of risk reduction in the battle.