Los Angeles, CA—Christian Tse first made his name creating fluid gold and platinum mesh in the 1990s. More recently, however, he’s become a fixture in the industry’s high-tech circles for his focus on manufacturing innovations. So when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he turned his attention to ways to keep employees at Christian Tse Design & Manufacturing safe, and shares some ideas here.
The hand craftsmanship of luxury goods like fine jewelry and watches faces its own unique challenges around the coronavirus, says Tse. Between the products and the tools required to make them, jewelry factories have many metallic surfaces on which a virus like COVID-19 can potentially survive for up to 72 hours.
Tse’s motivation to protect his employees is twofold, he says. One, he sees them like extended family, but from a business perspective, he also didn’t want to lose any talented diamond-setters, mold-makers, polishers, quality control engineers, etc.
Tse began researching safety options. The factory already has several UV ovens, the same kinds used in the health care industry. Even before the quarantine, staff began using them to sanitize items regularly touched by workers, such as towels, scissors, combs, pliers, wire cutters, and blades.
But surface contamination is only one aspect of COVID safety, especially now that more data is showing airborne transmission to be a serious issue in the spread of the virus.
Tse installed the Air Scrubber Plus, an American made, scientifically-proven air purifying system that also cleans surfaces.
First used in the International Space Station, the unit utilizes special technology to purify the air with special germicidal UV light waves while a proprietary catalytic process creates molecules of hydrogen and oxygen that remove 99.9% of harmful contaminants in the air and on surfaces. Using only 18 watts of electricity, it works within the existing air conditioning unit at the factory and, while it has not yet been tested against COVID-19, the system has been proven against bacteria, viruses, and pathogens such as H1N1, MRSA, staph, strep, black mold, and more, along with typical irritants like dust and pollen.
Its ability to purify surfaces is key for jewelry manufacturing, says Tse. The scrubber cleans air ducts, tables, counter tops, furniture, doorknobs, and more.
The team is also using the quarantine time to reconfigure the factory floor layout. Benches are farther apart, hand sanitizer is positioned around the factory, andthe team has instituted a practice of using the UV ovens to purify employee cell phones upon entry and exit and, more importantly, to sanitize finished jewelry pieces before shipping them to clients.
For more information see the firm’s website.