Wintersteiger, the Austrian supplier best known for its ski service systems, claims to have done away with chemicals in sterilization. Sterex, as the new system is called, uses cold plasma to eliminate up to 99.9 percent of the microorganisms found in the air and on objects, including multi-resistant bacteria known as hospital germs and SARS-Cov-2.

Sterex uses an electronically controlled, high-voltage electrode to charge certain molecules in the air and create a plasma-air mixture. Instead of the usual chemicals, it is these airborne hydroxyl radicals that destroy the microorganisms. According to Wintersteiger, tests carried out by Dr. Ulrich-Friedrich Schmelz, head of the competence center for technical hygiene and applied microbiology at Dr. Schmelz GmbH in Germany, show that the radicals do not harm cells, flora, textile fibers or other objects. Instead, they decompose catalytically into water on contact with living cells.

The process will be available as an option on all newly produced drying equipment developed by Wintersteiger for its clients at skiing depots, hotels, rental shops, sports shops, ski lift stations and for users of workwear and winter sportswear – in short, any businesses that need to strip germs and odors from textiles.

Sterex also has the benefit of requiring no maintenance. According to Franz Gangl, the company’s head of corporate marketing and communication, Wintersteiger believes that Sterex will prove to be a “revolutionary development in the field of ski service” come January and will also boost the launch of its new bike service products.