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Archive for April, 2010

Clinical Trial Results Presented at the Fifth-Decennial Conference on Healthcare-Acquired Infections (Part 2 of 2)

April 30th, 2010 No comments

By Wilton Moran, Copper Development Association Project Engineer, Material Sciences 

Last month, CDA and a team of researchers presented clinical trial results in a poster session at the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections. These trials, which are funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, assessed the ability of Antimicrobial Copper to reduce the amount of bacteria on surfaces commonly found in hospital rooms. More than 3,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, infection preventionists and other health care decision-makers attended the conference. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc. (APIC) and the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) sponsored the conference.

It was important for us to create a buzz at the conference because people just don’t know enough yet about the work we’re doing. We got the EPA registration in 2008 and currently have clinical trials going on at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, the Medical University of South Carolina and the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, both of which are in Charleston, S.C.

The first phase of the study showed that the most heavily contaminated objects are those closest to patients, such as bed rails, nurse’s call buttons and visitor chair arms. The study found high levels of Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) on those common objects. We know these bacteria can survive for long periods of time, so these contaminated surfaces can spread bacteria to people – patients, visitors and health care workers.

On the poster, findings from the second phase of the trial were presented. This phase involved replacing stainless steel and plastic versions of bed rails, tray tables, chair arms, nurse’s call buttons, monitors and IV poles with copper in the ICU rooms of the three hospitals participating in the study. The results attracted a lot of attention.

Researchers, who are specialists in infectious diseases, were very interested in our work. Many stopped by our booth, provided their contact information and requested periodic updates on the progress of the program. People from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) were also interested in what we had to say. We also had several visitors from the CDC. When we first started this work, we learned that CDC needed to see a large body of published research papers in the public domain. At the conference we saw their interest and at this point, we know we’re getting their attention and they’re taking us more seriously.

 There’s much more recognition now of the role of surface contamination in hospital-acquired infections. That’s a huge plus for us because obviously if they think that’s a problem, health care decision-makers may consider antimicrobial surfaces in the future.

 If you’d like more information on the antimicrobial properties of copper, check out our brand website, Antimicrobial Copper.

Categories: antimicrobial, Health & Science Tags:

Antimicrobial Research Excites Infectious Disease Conference Participants (Part 1 of 2)

April 22nd, 2010 No comments

Wilton MoranBy Wilton Moran, Copper Development Association Project Engineer, Material Sciences

Wilton Moran is a member of CDA’s Technical Services Team, which manages the Public Health Initiative. Wilton, Harold Michels, the CDA’s Senior Vice President of Technology and Technical Services, and other members of the team last month attended the Fifth Decennial International Conference on Healthcare-Associated Infections in Atlanta. The CDA spearheaded the effort to get EPA registration of copper alloys as antimicrobial public health products in 2008. The CDA presented findings from the second phase of a clinical trial at the conference.

Attending this conference has been one of the goals of the CDA. It’s a conference that happens once every 10 years and infectious disease experts from all over come to the meeting. There were many important people to reach and we had a story to tell. Two things were happening. We were presenting the results of the second phase of our clinical trials and we had a booth in the exhibit area that allowed us to talk to people about what we were doing and to show our new brand – Antimicrobial Copper.  

ICAtm_txt_cmyk_CoatedThe results from the second phase of the hospital trials were presented by the clinical research team in a poster session. They attracted a lot of attention. Many of the people that saw the poster subsequently visited the booth to see Antimicrobial Copper components. Many provided us with their contact information and asked to be updated on the progress of the program. People would ask us about antimicrobial copper surfaces and how they were made – if there was a coating or something applied to the surfaces. We explained that the metals are intrinsically antimicrobial. They were curious and wanted to know more. Our goal was to create awareness and from that perspective our booth was a big success. We were busy throughout the convention talking to people and explaining what Antimicrobial Copper has to offer.

We also had questions about what type of organisms copper can kill. Companies that make infection control products also wanted information from us. This also gave us an opportunity to debunk some of the misconceptions about copper. People were concerned about the cost of copper and how they might incorporate it into their products. We were able to tell them that copper alloys have very good fabrication properties and are very easy to work with, so the fabrication process is much less energy intensive than for many other metals, including steels.  They may pay a little bit more for the materials, but they also have a product with an added value. We also explained that the cost of materials is only a small fraction of the final cost of a product. We want potential customers to know that working with copper is not prohibitively expensive.

At times, we were overwhelmed by the number of visitors at our booth. The conference was an incredible experience and it tells us our work is important and infectious disease specialists are excited about the potential of antimicrobial copper once they learn about it. Our hope is to inspire people to see what copper alloys can do and how they can benefit from what we’re doing.

Categories: antimicrobial, Health & Science Tags:

Benefits of the Copper Rotor Motor (Part 2 of 2)

April 18th, 2010 No comments

By Richard deFay, Copper Development Association Inc. Project Manager, Electrical Applications Specialist

Prior to joining CDA three years ago, Richard deFay spent five years working for Applied Proactive Technologies in the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) Premium Efficient Motor Program.

In the current economic climate, there’s a substantial push toward more efficiency, especially in reducing consumption.  CDA has been invited by the U.S. Department of Energy to act as a Save Energy Now ALLY Partner in promoting energy efficiency to American industry across the country.  ALLY Partners are trade associations, suppliers, utilities, state organizations, universities, and non-profit organizations who promote and assist corporations, manufacturing plants, and other companies in reducing their energy consumption.  Anything we can do to maintain energy independence is critical.  This is such a fragile environment we’re in, both politically and economically, that it behooves all of us to seek out opportunities to reduce our energy consumption.  And the most cost-effective way is through energy efficiency.  At $.04 per kilowatt hour compared to other technologies noted below it is our first and best line of defense.

Motors consume 63-65% of the energy used in industrial settings and between 30-50% in settings such as schools and universities.  Nationwide, including residential usage, motors account for 23% of all electric utilization. At CDA, we strongly encourage the use of the new high-efficiency copper rotor motors, operating above NEMA Premium efficiency levels.  They can make a tremendous impact and save a lot of money each year.  Selecting energy-efficient motors, like the copper rotor motor, is something companies can do right now to make a difference.  If you look at other energy avenues – wind, solar, nuclear, offshore, natural gas, and coal – those efforts to reduce consumption and make a cleaner product are magnitudes higher in cost and time than just reducing consumption through more efficient means.  Energy efficiency is the first line of defense and the least expensive avenue we have, while we at the same time work on all these other energy reduction avenues, many of which are years down the road. 

People are starting to get the message.  When I show them the graph illustrating the difference in efficiency of the NEMA Premium motor or the copper rotor motor (which is even more efficient than the NEMA Premium motor), over other options, they’re amazed.  And when they take this information back to their companies and actually make these changes, they not only improve efficiency but perhaps even improve their jobs as well, because of the cost savings they’re helping their companies realize.

Categories: Transportation and Industry Tags:

Benefits of the Copper Rotor Motor (Part 1 of 2)

April 9th, 2010 No comments

Richard deFay6By Richard deFay, Copper Development Association Inc. Project Manager, Electrical Applications Specialist

Prior to joining CDA three years ago, Richard deFay spent five years working for Applied Proactive Technologies in the NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) Premium Efficient Motor Program.

If you’re a facility manager, plant electrician or anyone who purchases motors, I encourage you to save your organization money and boost efficiency many times over by factoring in life cycle cost in addition to the initial cost of the motors you’re considering.  Since about 2000, manufacturers have been making more efficient motors which are called NEMA Premium (NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association), and they can reduce your operating costs significantly, depending on three things:

  1. How many hours you run the motor.
  2. Cost of electricity.
  3. Efficiency of the existing motor compared to the new one being considered.

NEMA Premium motors are almost always vastly superior when it comes to overall lifecycle cost.

copper rotor motor1A tool I use for comparing options (number 3 above) is MotorMaster+ software, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy.  It’s a database of 25,000-plus motors that enables easier industrial motor energy audits.  I have used it to assist companies and organizations, from Kodak, AMF Bowling, Roswell Cancer Center and Corning to high schools and universities in looking at their inventory of motors to determine whether it’s more beneficial to repair old ones or replace them with new, more efficient motors.  A second opportunity to replace older, running motors with newer improved efficiency motors also exists. When you run the numbers, it’s clear that NEMA Premium motors offer significant savings, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars a year.

There are less expensive motors, but less efficient motors currently available, but starting in December, NEMA Premium becomes the minimum standard efficiency for covered motors sold within the U.S. and with good reason.   Initial cost represents only 2% or so of the total cost of ownership.  Energy costs, maintenance, etc. make up the other 98% of the cost over the lifetime of the motor.  And that’s where high-efficiency NEMA Premium motors make a significant difference.

Another area where copper helps increase motor efficiency is in the rotors, which are traditionally made of aluminum.  Copper is a better conductor of electricity by 60% over aluminum, but in the past, it wasn’t possible to make copper rotors because of copper’s high melting point of 1083C compared to 660C for aluminum.  In 2001, CDA metallurgists developed the technology to enable casting of the copper rotor motor, making it possible to make them commercially viable.  Copper reduces the rotor I2 R losses, improving efficiency dramatically.  CDA patented the technology and gives it away free to any motor manufacturer who wants to use it.  Siemens was an early adopter in the U.S. market, as are others across the globe, some using their own proprietary technology. As energy costs continue to rise, companies such as NYCO Minerals in upstate New York, have learned the advantages of NEMA Premium also.  I urge anyone who purchases motors commercially to consider joining them.  CDA features detailed information on its Web site about the cost savings and annual payback of different kinds of motors.  Have a look, and contact CDA so we can assist you in making the smartest, most cost-effective choices.