MTR Corp cleaning robotThe Vapourised Hydrogen Peroxide Robot can carry out automatic deep cleaning and disinfection on trains.

CHINA: Hong Kong’s MTR Corp has deployed an automated Vapourised Hydrogen Peroxide Robot to undertake deep cleaning and decontamination of its trains and stations.

The VHP Robot is the result of a joint project between MTR Corp and biotechnology company Avalon Biomedical.

It automatically sprays hydrogen peroxide solution atomised to a specific concentration, ensuring disinfectants penetrate small gaps that are difficult to reach during normal cleaning work.

MTR Corp, Avalon Biomedical (Management) Limited and Hong Kong Polytechnic University are working together on research and development projects.

MTR Corp, Avalon Biomedical (Management) Limited and HongKong Polytechnic University are working together on research and development projects.

The operator can set the robot to operate automatically by presetting the floor plan of the designated area, or can use a mobile device to control the robot from up to 20 m away. It takes about 4 h to clean an eight-car train in automatic mode.

If there is a special cleaning situation, such as a passenger vomiting on a train, MTR staff can deploy the VHP Robot to perform deep cleaning with diluted bleach water. The robot was also dispatched to disinfect the back-of-house area at Mong Kok East station, including staff changing rooms, toilets and the mess room as well as the passenger lifts, after a staff member was diagnosed with Covid-19.

The collaboration between MTR and Avalon also includes the introduction of a dedicated manufacturing facility which can produce surgical face masks capable of blocking PM 2·5 particles using nanofibre technology developed by Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The equipment has been delivered to MTR and setting up of a clean production room is underway. Production is expected to start in the second half of this year at the earliest, with manufacturing meeting the daily consumption rate of MTR staff.

MTR and Avalon are also testing the use of nano-air filtration technology to further improve the air quality of stations.

Operations Director Dr Tony Lee showcases MTR Corp's face mask manufacturing facility.

Operations Director Dr Tony Lee showcases MTR Corp’s face mask manufacturing facility.

‘We fully understand our passengers’ concerns about hygiene in their travelling environment, especially amid the current Covid-19 outbreak’, said MTR Corp Operations Director Dr Tony Lee on March 11.

‘While MTR has comprehensively strengthened cleaning and disinfection work in the railway network, we have also continued to actively explore feasible enhancements. We plan to deploy a total of 20 VHP robots for train cleaning in depots and hope this helps to ensure the comfort of passengers’ journeys by providing ever greater health protection for our colleagues and our customers alike.’