This has been a particularly brutal cold and flu season, but hope is on the horizon. There is one relatively new Michigan-made product that can really help us protect ourselves from the spread of germs and disease. It’s the Extreme Air CPC from Livonia-based American Dryer.

The Extreme Air CPC is an automated hand dryer like you see in many public restrooms. What sets this one apart is the Cold Plasma Clean™  technology it contains. CPC technology breaks down harmful pathogens into simple, safe, naturally occurring molecules. The warm air that blows out is highly ionized, killing germs in the ten seconds it takes to dry your hands, without the use of any chemicals.

This innovative process has me wondering how soon can these dryers be in every school, food establishment, and medical facility?

To learn more about what makes this product so unique, I visited American Dryer in Livonia, where the dryers are designed and assembled. The company has a long history of applying innovation and creativity to the fairly mundane concept of drying a person’s hands, some of which is detailed on a wall of products past and present.

According to Vice President of Technology, Michael Robert, innovation is a core contributor to American Dryer’s longevity. Their team of engineers is constantly working toward new technologies, products, and applications. “If you’re innovating, your company is always going to grow,” Roberts said.

American Dryer was originally part of Taylor-based Masco Corporation, although the products were assembled in a plant in Indiana.  Donald Rabahy began working at Masco in 1967. Then in 1985 he pursued his dream of owning his own business. He purchased American Dryer, Inc with his son, Daniel, who is now the President.

All in all, the company has been around for an impressive sixty two years, the last thirty of which have been in Michigan.

You might be asking yourself, wait, how long have electric hand dryers even been around? The answer is pretty close to that same amount of time. The first one was invented in 1948 by Chicago native, George S. Clemens. His hand dryer was reportedly inspired by a shortage of wood after World War II. The wood shortage meant a paper shortage, which meant no paper towels in public washrooms.

No paper towels in public restrooms is just how the folks at American Dryer like it. Their products are designed to replace that need, creating a tidier restroom environment and eliminating the cost of constantly replenishing the paper towels. The company estimates that the savings on paper products typically pays for the cost of the dryers in approximately three to six months.

Roberts contends that a neater facility can also protect a company’s reputation, especially restaurants. “People see your restroom is a mess and they wonder what your kitchen looks like,” Roberts said.

Perception of cleanliness is certainly not the only factor. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) emphasizes that regular hand-washing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. The CDC recommends people wash their hands for at least 20 seconds to reduce the spread of germs.

Unfortunately a recent study by Michigan State University researchers found that only 5 percent of people who used the bathroom washed their hands long enough to kill the germs that can cause infections.  The study was focused on a collegiate environment, so that really makes me wonder how low that number might be in an elementary school.

Kids may not be eager to wash their hands, but drying them under a high-speed automatic dryer can be fun, and with American Dryer’s new technology, their hands could be sanitized in half the time it takes to properly wash them.

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.