Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras-incubated startup AirOK launched India’s first indigenously developed Smart Air purifier ‘Vistar’ at Chennai today, 28th July 2018. Powered by an EGAPA (Efficient Granular Adsorbent Particulate Arrester), Vistar can filter a variety of pollutants such as particulate matter, microbes, fungus and gaseous substances.
The purifiers have Wi-Fi and touch interface and the functioning of the purifier, in terms of the quantum of pollutants in the air, can be ascertained in real-time. The company will target institutional segment which includes hospitals, hospitality, commercial real estate, food processing and manufacturing in the initial phase.
Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Faculty in charge, IIT Madras Research park, launched the product at a function held here. Vistar 550 has coverage area of 550 square feet. The filter will have a life of about one year, which is twice that of the air purifiers currently available in the market.
Addressing the launch function, Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala said, “Ever increasing air-pollution in Indian cities is having severe impact on health of its people. We need a war on pollution causing elements. But in the meanwhile, we need to minimise its impact, by cleaning air, wherever it is possible. AirOK has come up with something which will make great an immediate difference to our lives.”
The air purifier will be priced at around ₹20,000, almost half that of those in the market now as affordability is a key area for AirOK. The Startup can manufacture up to 30 units per day currently and can increase the production capacity to 1,000 without any major additional investment.
Delivering a video message on the occasion, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “I’ve seen this product evolve over the months in the Institute workshop. The product is as good as any other product that’s made anywhere in the world. It looks fabulous and I hope it gets very good acceptance in the market.”
AirOK’s technology caught the interest of SAR Group, makers of water purifiers under Livpure brand, which has invested about ₹ 12 crore in AirOK late last year and will be the distribution partner for AirOK’s retail air-purifier product.
Speaking on necessity for such technology, Mr. Deekshith Vara Prasad, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AirOK, said, “Breathing air is a basic necessity and I do not think that we need to compromise on that. Our rule is very simple, it is to make air clean. We, at AirOk, do not count time in seconds but on the number of clean breaths we provided.”
The product’s superior technology has been validated by laboratory and field tests. The positive results of the laboratory tests were conducted by Shriram Institute for Industrial Research, Bengaluru and field trials by a leading Children specialty hospital in Chennai. They stand as a testimony to the AirOK team’s ability to develop first-in-class solutions.
The company is also working on an exciting pipeline of products in the air pollution space in association with one of the country’s oldest and largest conglomerate The pipeline includes purifiers for cars and kitchens. It is also indigenously working on solutions for issues such as ambient air pollution.
While many hospitals have laminar flow cabinets, they may not effective enough in filtering microbes such as bacteria and fungus. This is where AirOK’s Vistar is different from the existing solutions – it can effectively remove microbes. Similarly, in the IT campuses where workforce concentration is high, the levels of gases such as carbon dioxide can become high. Vistar can not only help reduce that but also filter microbes, which will go a long way in improving productivity. Likewise, the product can help remove pollutants such as Sulphur vapors in server rooms.
Even before they were ready for commercial launch, the company was approached by Doordarshan Kendra, Chennai, which required a solution for a pollution problem in its server room, because of which the mother boards were getting corroded.
“We successfully gave them a solution and they were happy. They have given us repeat orders and that gave us a boost,” added Mr. Deekshith Vara Prasad. Besides that, AirOK already has orders lined up from clients in the Healthcare, hospitality and commercial real estate space.