Antimicrobial resins are used in a range of industries and applications including water-treatment systems, food packaging, plumbing and HVAC, medical/diagnostic equipment, dental implants and personal care products. They are also utilized in clean room sensitive electronics testing and assembly, sterile packaging, conveyers, public transportation, and office equipment to inhibit bacterial growth and unappealing discoloration or bio-slime.
Chances are if the production environment has moisture, heat, and organic material, bacteria will be lurking there too, which could be problematic for operations. Antimicrobial resins could help you keep bacteria and related issues at bay. Here's how.
Antimicrobial Resin vs. Antimicrobial Coating
Bacteria can be eliminated from surfaces manufactured from antimicrobial resins. New advanced polymers are being made with an antimicrobial agent embedded in the resin itself, so the exposed surface is always a deadly place for bacteria. The antimicrobial compound is added during the manufacture of the resin and does not alter the physical or thermal properties of the resin—which still remains highly suitable for injection molding.
Antimicrobial agents are always present in the resins, which is a key differentiator between them and antimicrobial coatings that are sprayed onto devices such as hip implants that erode by joint action and abrade over time.
What is Ionic Silver?
There is quite a variety of antimicrobial agents to choose from, depending on product use and the polymer family selected. Ionic silver is one of the most popular, and is highly effective as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent in medical and dental applications. Silver is known to kill 99.99% of bacteria within 24 hours of contact and remains effective over the lifetime of the product. The silver ions short-circuit the bacteria’s ability to reproduce and they die quickly; better yet, silver does not harm human tissue. Antimicrobial resins have been developed that can kill the most potent infections, including MRSA, an especially resistant and potentially lethal bacterial infection often found in hospitals.
Antimicrobial resins can be formulated for all standard injection-molding materials, including standard polymers, engineered polymers, and thermoset materials. Part of the challenge in engineering antimicrobial resins is finding the right “carrier” for the antimicrobial agent that offers homogenous integration into the resin without altering its physical or thermal properties. Further, chemical concentrations must be carefully calculated to provide a steady release of ions at a pre-determined rate. Having a molding partner that has experience with applications that necessitate this type of consideration can make all the difference, especially when that experience is backed by MedAccred Plastics accreditation — such as the partnership offered by Kaysun.
Learn more about the importance of aligning resins with your project needs and how an injection molder can help by reading Resin Selections for Industrial Applications. Click the button below to access your copy now!