Anti-Microbial Acetals: 2006 News & Perspectives
-By Greg Martino-Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and acetal? Well, it may
not roll off the tongue but this giant in the world of
plastics continues to be, along with nylon, the standard
by which all other engineering materials are judged.
It is true that the world we live in is a dynamic environment,
full of new and exciting changes. Every day we hear
about technology that will change our lives and make our
current way of life obsolete. The world of plastics has long
been at the forefront of this technology curve. There seem
to be new polymers introduced every week and many of
these polymers have been instrumental in the continued
advances in almost every area of our lives. Our industry’s
firm commitment to new technologies has kept plastics a
key player in our nation’s economy.
Trying to keep up with this technology can disorient and
overwhelm even the most technically savvy among us. We
can easily be lulled into the notion that almost no technology
of today will be state-of-the-art in another 10 years
or so. We must, however, look at our future with a keen
awareness of our past. As an example, cooking over an
open flame is technology that is thousands of years old,
yet it persists, why? Two reasons; first, it works and it
works well and second, the technology has advanced over
time, without changing the original concept.
So goes the technology behind the new Anti-Microbial
Acetals. This combination offers the broad range of product
groups that acetal has historically served, with the newer
technology required by the medical and food processing
industries. The antimicrobial effect of this product is
achieved by a gradual release of silver ions homogeneously
distributed throughout the material. Silver is a well established
antimicrobial, has no known association with developed
bacterial resistance and is safe for human use.
Acetal is well known for its superior dimensional stability,
excellent resistance to moisture and chemicals and its excellent
wear properties. The antimicrobial addition to this product
gives the additional benefits of: reduced bacterial contamination;
reduced odor and biofilm on the material surface;
reduced discoloration caused by microbes and also provides
a backup in case of inadequate cleaning in difficult to reach
areas. Due to the gradual release mechanism of this additive,
you have the additional benefit of a continuously renewed
effect with every cleaning or minor abrasion of the surface.
Antimicrobial acetal can be used in applications with
maximum long term service temperatures of up to 212ºF,
with short term spikes of up to 280ºF. It is also a broadly
processable material and can be molded, extruded or
thermoformed into a wide variety of shapes. Current applications
include conveyor chains in the meat and poultry,
beverage/bottling, pharmaceutical, baking and packaging
industries, frequently used components in official buildings
(door handles, buttons on elevators, diaper changing
tables), buttons and handles in public transportation systems,
water dispensers, ice machines, filtration equipment
and handles for surgical equipment.
Don’t be fooled by the age of this product or by the continued
expansion of global manufacturing and distribution.
There are still innovative companies committed to
new processes and materials that, as BASF famously says
“make the products you already buy, better”.
For more information, about antimicrobial acetal products
contact Fran Alder, Medical Products Market Manager,
Ensinger, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org or 440-796-9029.