The recent Coronavirus pandemic has focussed the attention of companies throughout industry on the need to offer their customers or end-users enhanced protection from bacteria and viruses.
This is being achieved in different ways. In some instances, it may be most effective to use ultraviolet disinfection, especially at UV-C wavelengths, to disrupt the DNA of viruses and bacteria and prevent cell replication. UV-C is, however, extremely harmful to humans, so its use can be impractical for many products or equipment where surfaces regularly come into contact with human skin, and which are in constant use.
The alternative is to use special additives, which are blended with the plastics and polymers used for the injection moulding process. These additives are based on specific antimicrobial active components, such as silver, copper or zinc, creating an environment that is hostile to bacteria and viruses.
Silver is widely used as an anti-microbial component and its properties have been recognised for many years. It functions at several levels. Silver cations have the ability to puncture bacterial cell walls. Once inside the cell, they bind to the proteins that are responsible for moving substances across each cell, inhibiting respiration and disrupting metabolic pathways. Silver ions effectively disrupt the cell DNA and subsequently prevent the cell from dividing or replicating.
Injection moulding additives
We use antimicrobial additives from specialised suppliers to create the optimum combination of quality and performance. Additives are blended with each masterbatch, with an even distribution of active components. This ensures that antimicrobial properties on the surface of each part remain consistent throughout its lifetime, allowing silver ions to attack bacteria and viruses that come into contact with the material.
Typically, the additives we use start to work as soon as they come into contact with bacteria and viruses, reducing the presence of bacteria by 99.99% and viruses by around 90% within two hours. In turn, this protects users, minimises the risk of cross contamination and prevents the growth of mould or fungi.
These additives can be used with a wide range of injection moulded plastics, such as:
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
- Ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA)
- High impact polystyrene (HIPS)
- Polyethylene (PE)
- Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- Polystyrene (PS)
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
- Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)