Hygiene testing kit to improve the passenger experience

20 July 2019

TBM has invested in specialist hygiene testing equipment to assist other areas of its rail fleet cleaning services that improve the passenger experience on trains.  

TBM already deep-cleans toilet CET tanks, and also freshwater tanks to ensure that equipment is safe to use in customer settings. The new testing devices allow TBM technicians to assess surfaces for dangerous build-ups of bacteria.

The portable testing kits, from Hygiena, enable rapid microbial detection.

For rail carriages, this will help to identify problem areas in washrooms, food preparation areas, shared passenger tables, freshwater storage tanks and also on equipment that is handled by the public – such as grab poles and seat backs.

How does the testing kit work?

Here’s the technical bit. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) can be found in all organic material. ATP is the universal unit of energy used in living cells. It is produced and/or broken down in metabolic processes that exist in all living systems.

ATP swab test kits use something called bioluminescence to identify residual ATP, effectively determining the surface cleanliness. It gives an RLU reading (this is the Relative Light Unit). If ATP is found on a surface, this indicates insufficient cleaning and that contamination is present. This could be food residue, allergens and/or bacteria.

What this means is that there is a potential for the table surface, water tank or grab pole to support bacterial growth.

There is a simple equation that sums this up. High contamination (usually because of improper cleaning) = a large amount of ATP = more light produced in the reaction = a higher RLU reading.

Using the testing kit means that TBM can advise, take action and recommend products that can help to reduce the levels of germs on surfaces.

Can protective coatings stop germs?

TBM partners AddMaster to incorporate their antimicrobial products into nylon coatings for grab poles, dado panels and seat handles. The additives mean that the surfaces are more resistant to germs – no matter how many people touch them.

At this year’s Railtex event, TBM showcased the tough properties of Nylon R-Ag coatings. We invited visitors to the stand to give the sections of grab poles a good bashing. We also made sure plenty of people handled the exhibits.

After the show, we tested the grab poles with the Hygiena kits. The results were amazing. Although hundreds of people had handled the poles, the RLU score was only 29. We checked some other pieces of equipment, not visibly dirty, but they recorded scores of 1400!

So the antimicrobial coatings work. Germs, disease and infections are held back and not allowed to run riot.

Let TBM help manage your cleanliness

TBM supports transport fleet operators with a range of cleaning and servicing options. With the new Hygiena testing kits, we can identify problem areas and recommend appropriate actions.

Get in touch if you’d like to know more about this and other services.

Call us on 0844 800 8577, or email [email protected] for details of how we can support your business with a range of quality passenger comfort services.    

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