Inventive approach to computing risk

Ron Foster with a water filtration pipe used in pools and spas that kills diseases

Ron Foster with a water filtration pipe used in pools and spas that kills diseases

A Wigan businessman has invented a computer mat that is so clean, you can eat your dinner off it.

Chemist Ron Foster has dedicated the last 20 years of his life to killing deadly bacteria through his company Hibond.

Chris Barker with some of the other products they produce at Copper Safe, HiBond Ltd, Ince

Chris Barker with some of the other products they produce at Copper Safe, HiBond Ltd, Ince

He began his career developing oils for Polaris submarines, but set up his own business 20 years ago.

His many achievements include mosquito netting that will kill the Zika virus, a Water-Safe machine which combats cholera in third world countries, and a purification unit for swimming pools which eradicates harmful bacteria and viruses without using harmful chemicals. His products have been approved by Environment Protection Agency in the US.

A more recent invention - copper alloy-coated keyboard pads - could see his firm expand considerably, as he is looking to take on more staff.

The 72-year-old, who also runs sister firm Copper Safe, said: “I want to set up a manufacturing line and take on more people, as I aim to make 100,000 copper alloy-coated keyboard pads. It is fit enough to eat your dinner off. It will kill any bacteria.

“The products are made non-conducting to electricity but keeping their efficacy in killing bacteria and viruses. Around 80 per cent of infections are caused by touching surfaces and most plastic surfaces are breeding grounds for pathogens like E.coli

“The Environment Protection Agency in the US has confirmed copper alloy is the best surface where bacteria and viruses cannot survive on. The products vary from keyboard pads, self-adhesive crackback, and mosquito netting, to kits for self-application.”

Ron’s discoveries have also led to creating a water purification machine which uses sheets of cupronickel to kill off bacteria.

“It delivers 1,000l of safe drinking water, free of pathogens, every 48 hours. The system can be used for rain water harvesting and in remote and disaster areas.

Ron said: “We donated the machine to a community in Pakistan, because they were having a lot of trouble with people getting infected with cholera.

“Three little girls had died before we visited. We had feedback and even three or four years later, no-one has been getting cholera.”

Ron is also harvesting another invention: a kettle which uses only 60 per cent of electrical energy normally used - which is already in high demand as four entrepreneurs are after his patent.