Not all antimicrobial coatings and products are created equal

Users need to choose carefully in order to achieve maximum protection

91
Drytac
Not all antimicrobial coatings and products are created equal

The global pandemic has changed our world and society in significant ways. Covid-19 has drastically changed our perception of hygiene and cleanliness, spurring the development of films and coatings with antimicrobial performance.

Previously, these coatings and products struggled to find widespread adoption due to difficulties in qualifying their effectiveness on human health and justifying any additional costs. However, the pandemic has drawn attention to measures that can provide additional protection and reassurance to the general public and this has created a new need for antimicrobial surface protection.

It should be noted, however, not all antimicrobial coatings and products are created equal. Some are only effective against bacteria (antibacterial) while some are effective against a wider range of microbes – such as algae and fungus – offering antimicrobial protection. However, this performance does not necessarily protect against viruses, so users need to choose carefully.

When considering products for use as a preventative measure and increasing hygiene performance, it is important to understand the limitations of the three main antimicrobial technologies – zinc, silver and copper. All can provide protection against bacteria, but only some can offer antimicrobial protection. As damage or cuts on the film can harbor bacteria, it is important for the additive to be imbued in the film rather than in a top-coating which can be easily scuffed, scratched and worn.

Perhaps most important when seeking out antimicrobial protection is to be extremely wary of some of the claims currently being made in the marketplace. New disinfectant and additives used within antimicrobial solutions must have ECHA (European Chemicals Agency), EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval to make valid effectiveness claims; all biocides and pesticides have to be registered.

All governments promote a test, test, test attitude when it comes to infection control and protection films are no different. Third-party testing needs to be done to determine any effectiveness on any microbial activity. This simply cannot be a one-off; these need to be part of the quality control and batch-to batch-testing of the product to ensure the desired performance for all locations.

Where products claim to have effectiveness against viruses they must be registered as a virucide. A simple ISO 21702 Coronavirus test on one viral strain such as FCoV (feline coronavirus) or 229E (Human Coronavirus) does not qualify something to be anti-viral or effective for other strains/diseases, like Covid-19.

In addition, the claims of the effectiveness and protection of the product cannot extend outside of the classification of the product itself. This means that any marketing information surrounding potential health benefits are a no-no: they can lead to Advertising Standards Authority investigations and create public confusion.

There is no doubt that there will be major growth over the coming years in the requirement for antimicrobial technologies within many market sectors including medical, healthcare and general public spaces. This means that marketing and product information needs to be clear, concise and most importantly factual.

Drytac is the manufacturer of Protac AMP Film.

Drytac is an international manufacturer of adhesive-coated products, including graphic films, window films, double-sided tapes, self-adhesive print media, label stock, industrial adhesives, and heat-activated and pressure-sensitive laminates and mounting adhesives. The company also creates unique customized adhesive products to customer specifications.

Drytac operates in the following areas: Laminating Films & Mounting Adhesives; Window, Wall & Floor Graphic Media; Product Development Services; Custom and Pattern Coating; High-Performance Tapes; Industrial Adhesives; and Durable Labels.

Its products include ReTac Textures, Polar Chrome, Protac Anti-Scratch Gloss, ViziPrint Illuminate and ViziPrint Deco SR, winners in the SGIA 2019 product of the year competition; and Protac AMP, Polar Street FX and SpotOn SynTac, winners in the 2020 Printing united product of the year awards.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here