What Antimicrobial Technologies Are Available?
An antimicrobial product will restrict the growth of bacteria, biofilm, fungi and mould. By harnessing the antimicrobial properties of numerous biocidal components, additives can be created for use in almost any material. From plastics and rubber to paints and fabrics, antimicrobial additives are introduced where hygiene, performance or aesthetics are important.
It all boils down to need vs want. We deal with customers who either need antimicrobial protection (due to stringent regulations) or want it to enable them to stand out from the competition. To say an already functional and aesthetically pleasing product now has added antimicrobial protection can be a fantastic marketing tool. We even have a Brand Trademark Agreement in place with anyone wanting to use SteriTouch as a brand. By signing our Agreement, they get access to a wealth of supporting collateral that can be used freely in any and all marketing material. This has been proven to stand typical ‘me too’ products apart from the competition, because it adds another USP not previously considered. In terms of what technologies are available, it all depends on what results you are trying to achieve. We pride ourselves on succeeding where others have failed.
Business Application & Potential.
The number of different applications for antimicrobial protection is staggering. Couple this with the claims you’re able to make about your newly protected product, and you have a formula for success. Below are just a few examples where a product has benefited greatly from antimicrobial protection:
Earphones - Prevents Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the bacteria responsible for ear infections.
Children’s Plastic Drinking Cup - Stops the build-up of slimy biofilm on difficult to clean products.
Chopping Board – Helps to eliminate the build-up of Campylobacter, which is especially problematic in the poultry industry.
Now imagine you’re painting a wall in your new house. The paint goes on great and everything looks perfect. However, it’s a new house and you’re unaware of the air circulation issues present in many of the rooms, including the one you just decorated. Over time, mould will develop and grow until your nice clean wall suddenly resembles something from a horror movie. The anti-mould properties in antimicrobial paint will eliminate this issue before you even realised there was a problem. Therefore the business potential with antimicrobial paint alone (as is the case with Crown Paint, a loyal customer of SteriTouch) is astounding.
We provide invisible protection. A barrier that protects you and those around you from harmful and sometimes fatal bacteria. It’s something you can’t see but something you know is there, doing its job behind the scenes in order to keep you safe. This is why SteriTouch have been involved with so many different projects over the years, and is the reason why our portfolio of customers and applications continues to grow and diversify.
Consideration For Choosing The Technology.
SteriTouch have streamlined our qualification process over many years, based on factors such as the different materials used in each project, reducing the testing time to around 2-3 weeks. This quick turnaround in validation, along with initial free of charge testing, means that considering this type of technology suddenly becomes a viable option. In less than a month, your product(s) can be tested - both on a scientific and mechanical level - while you prepare your marketing strategy and subsequent launch plan.
What’s more, the antimicrobial performance of the end product is confirmed by independent testing to the international standards (JIS and ISO), ensuring that all products meet the requirements for the use of the SteriTouch brand. You will receive a test certificate from us, incorporated into a full test report, giving you 100% confidence in your products. We are able to back up any claims you wish to make regarding the level of protection your products contain, due to our years of expertise and tireless need for perfection in everything we do.
We also carry out rigorous mechanical testing (including tensile, impact and environmental) to ensure that rigidity and functionality haven’t been compromised as a result.
It has already been documented that mould growth is responsible for costly redecoration cycles and respiratory complaints, especially in damp and humid environments where its prevention is otherwise difficult. Antimicrobial additives eradicate the bacteria which cause contamination and infection, as well as those responsible for odours and staining. The antimicrobial effect also protects the product against degradation, extending its use.
The purpose is not to create a sterile environment - we all know that being exposed to certain types of bacteria builds a healthy immune system. However, bacterial infections such as MRSA, E. coli and Listeria can be very serious and adding that extra layer of protection to your products acts as a complementary measure to routine cleaning.
The main function of an antimicrobial product is to offer continuous and permanent protection against microbes which can cause contamination, odours and degradation. Independent testing has proven SteriTouch additives to be effective against a huge range of bacteria including Salmonella, VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus), CPE (Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae) and Legionella.
The real question should be, what isn’t new? As you’ve already seen, the variety of applications of the technology continues to grow year upon year. New technologies and techniques are constantly being developed in order to keep up with demand, to help products stand out from the competition, and quite simply to drive innovation within this sector.
How it actually works:
Active antimicrobial components embedded in the material substrate are released via ambient moisture and enter the cell membrane. The technology destabilises the cell, stop respiration and inhibit cell division, whilst blocking the replication of DNA, killing the cell.
One of the active components SteriTouch use is ionic silver, which is non-leaching and non-sensitising. Silver has been used for centuries for its natural sterilising properties. Around 400BC, Hippocrates taught that silver healed wounds and controlled disease, while the American Pioneers would often put a silver dollar into containers of milk to keep it fresh without refrigeration.
Once an antimicrobial additive has been incorporated into a material, it is essentially there to stay. Recent independent testing of a new paint range demonstrated no loss in antimicrobial performance, even after 10 years of accelerated ageing. Ionic silver-based additives will not lose efficacy due to leaching or migration, and since they are evenly dispersed throughout the material, even scratches and abrasion do not affect performance.
Importantly, additives are unaffected by cleaning chemicals such as chlorine bleach, disinfectants and alcohol. Even harsh industrial products like MEK (methyl ethyl ketone) do not diminish the antimicrobial properties of products that have been protected.
Antimicrobial technology is not only here to stay, but is ever changing, growing and improving in order to keep you safe for longer. To find out more about the SteriTouch technology and how it can be of benefit, please visit our website at www.steritouch.com