ARTICLE

An extra layer of protection

25 January 2013

Antimicrobial technology can prevent the spread of everything from pathogens to mildew and has been used in a wide range of products for decades.Here, Microban explains how can it be applied to provide hygiene benefits to

Antimicrobial technology can prevent the spread of everything from pathogens to mildew and has been used in a wide range of products for decades.Here, Microban explains how can it be applied to provide hygiene benefits to users of industrial plant and equipment

Microban employs more than 20 different organic, inorganic and organometallic antimicrobial technologies including zinc and silver to meet the needs of a broad range of product applications.

Additives such as these are designed to be incorporated into products during manufacture, so they cannot wash off or wear away and typically kill 99% of bacteria on the surface of treated materials within 24h by disrupting their biological functioning.

The direct benefits of these antimicrobial treatments in different industrial environments vary. In a food preparation facility, for example, the accent would be on limiting the danger of crosscontamination and minimising the chances of a build up of bacteria that could cause illness to employees and end consumers, therefore protection would be built into food contact surfaces. In a mainstream manufacturing, there might a general accent on enhanced cleanliness, as well as a need to halt growth of mould and mildew in sections of floor, wall and ceiling that are difficult to access with ordinary cleaning methods, and antimicrobial treatment can be built into these.

Built-in protection At a more fundamental level, protection can be built into both the tools used for cleaning ? such as buckets and mops ? and cleaning products themselves.

Paul McDonnell, managing director at Microban Europe, explains the thinking behind the use of antibacterial protection: "In no way are antimicrobially treated products designed to replace conventional cleaning in industrial environments. Rather, they are an extra layer of protection that adds to the efficacy of your existing cleaning regime and provide greater peace of mind in all kinds of different applications." Microban licences its technology for many different product applications that are likely to be found in an industrial environment, from interior panels and flooring to racking, trolleys, storage containers and handrails. It can even be found in paints, grouts and sealants.

Additional support McDonnel comments: "Antimicrobial protection can be engineered into a very wide range of end applications and the solutions we provide are carefully engineered, brand endorsed and regularly audited for effectiveness by our laboratories.

"The partner manufacturers we work with employ antimicrobial protection because of the additional support this brings to their cleaning and hygiene processes.

Ultimately, there is a strong financial argument ? an industrial environment which is as clean as possible is one where there are less likely to be all kinds of problems arising from cross contamination of product to staff illness." A new Microban licensee is Italian cleaning products manufacturer VDM, which has just introduced two new lines of trolleys and janitorial products that incorporate Microban protection. Initially, sales are being aimed at professional cleaning of bacterially sensitive environments, but wider industrial applications are also seen as a strong potential market.

McDonnell continues: "Our research findings and market experience are that where products with antibacterial treatment are on offer and customers are made aware of the benefits, they respond strongly. VDM is a good example and is already reporting a high degree of interest in its new product lines."
 
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