Integrated Contamination Management

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Humidity regulated Warm Air Insect Eradication Treatment

The humidity regulated warm air treatment used by ICM® is a 100% effective and eco-friendly method for treating a wide variety of materials which have been attacked by insect pests. All life-cycle stages of insects which inhabit any organic material will die when exposed to warm temperatures over a defined period of time during our ICM® humidity regulated treatment.

In the ICM® treatment the humidity is controlled – and so there are no risks of harm to the objects.  Because there are no chemicals or noxious gases involved in the treatment, there is no risk to your health or the environment. The machinery and materials have been developed to require a low energy intake for each treatment. The carbon footprint of the technology is therefore very low.

For all kinds of objects

The warm air treatment of moveable heritage and art works is perfectly suitable for objects in paper, fabric, carpets, leather, fur, ethnographic pieces but also furniture and musical instruments, polychromatic sculptures and paintings.

For all kinds of insects

The treatment can be used in the fight against heritage eating insects, including clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella and Tinea pellionella), varied carpet beetles (Anthrenus verbasci), silverfish (Lepisma saccharina), the grey silverfish or so called ‘paperfish’ (Ctenolepisma longicaudata), common woodworm (Anobium punctatum), powder post beetle (Lyctus brunneus), death watch beetle (Xestobium rufovillosum), house longhorn beetle (Hylotrupes bajulus), tobacco beetle (Lasioderma serricorne) and biscuit beetle (Stegobium paniceum).

Warm air process

The ICM® process is based on the fact that insect proteins denature irreversibly at temperatures between 42-52°C, dependent on the species. The method was established more than 30 years ago and is 100% effective, quick and presents no risks to materials.

Next-generation treatment chambers

A second generation of treatment chambers have now been developed under the ICM® brand, which outperforms other methods in terms of speed, ecological impact and capability. Ultrasonic, and hence very evenly spread, humidification and a sophisticated filtering technology (active carbon filters, HEPA) as well as 24/7 data mirroring and remote-control monitoring provide a managed and safe environment for the treatment of valuable and unique objects.

From a conservation perspective the key to using warm air to eradicate insect pests is to maintain the equilibrium moisture content of the material during the warming-up, holding and cooling phases.

This is achieved by using tailor made proprietary software to control the relative humidity (RH) and temperature of the atmosphere within the chamber, thereby preventing any physical or structural change in the object through loss or absorption of moisture.

Treatment options

IPARC provides treatments in its own ICM service centres in London and Brussels. Private individuals, foundations and institutions are regular clients. To book your object or collection for pest eradication – whether it is textile, sculpture, framed painting, panel paintings, polychromic and ethnographic objects or archive materials, our conservators are available to assess the objects for treatment.

We typically require this type of information:

  • What the object is made of
  • If possible, how and where it has been stored and for how long
  • The full dimensions (H x W x D) of the object
  • When you would like to have it treated
  • Any other details or description regarding the general condition of the object
  • Photographs are always appreciated.

An average treatment cycle in our service centre takes 24 hours. As such it is a valuable option for loans and quarantines. We recommend that you have your object treated by ICM® before commencing any conservation or consolidation work. Any infested object admitted into the IPARC studio will be treated prior to conservation. However, depending on the type of conservation, recently restored objects can be treated as well. We will be able to advise you on a case-by-case basis.

The mobile chamber system is integrated in a truck. It evolved from the static chambers that have operated since the mid 1980’s on the continent and in London since 1994. The owners or keepers of large collections of valuable works of art and antiques can treat their infested pieces on site. An on-site treatment in the mobile chamber minimizes the handling and movement of objects, avoids creating unnecessary security risks and obviates additional insurance cover.

The site should be equipped with the following infrastructure:

  • Accessibility for the 3,9 metres high, 9 metres long and 2,6 metres wide vehicle
  • Even and level surface to park the truck
  • 24/7 access to the truck for our staff
  • 380V/32A electrical connection, within 20m of the treatment
  • Running water/regular tap, within 20m of the treatment site
  • Preferably WIFI connection for remote access to the treatment control PC.

A typical treatment cycle in the mobile unit including loading and unloading takes 20 – 30 hours.

Following treatment, a report is provided with the graphs, pictures before and after treatment and relevant data (temperature, RH, length of holding phase). A Guarantee and Certificate of 100% success in eradiation of all stages in the life cycle of an insect is presented on payment of invoice.

Collection owners who require their own chamber on the premises have the option to lease or purchase a static chamber. Chambers are built to order, and sizes may vary according to the available space on site. Contracts include all costs of rental, installation, insurance of the chamber, programming, assessment by our staff and reporting and exclude energy costs. We deliver, install and operate worldwide. Our staff will assess the objects to be treated, will program the treatment cycle and will provide the reporting. Our maintenance network also spans across all continents.

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