Demonstrating the importance of antimicrobial agents in plastic materials, several companies launched related products during recent trade shows in Anaheim.
Porex Corp. of Fairburn, Ga., introduced its antimicrobial Barrier Technology-brand alloy containing a porous base polymer and the chemical antiseptic chlorhexidine. Porex intends to start performance testing with a medical-device maker en route to commercial sales, said William Midgette, president and CEO.
The microbicidal media kills microbes in liquid and gas streams on contact and can be integrated into porous media for venting, filtrating, wicking and diffusing applications.
Barrier Technology addresses increasingly more-specific demands posed by infections, and questions about the level of effectiveness of current technologies including silver ion-based antimicrobial agents, said Rusty Martin, Porex global manager of advanced solutions.
Hospitals want an alternative to antibiotics in treating infections. Since 2010, Porex has invested several hundred thousand dollars and the time of a dozen employees in pursuing the Barrier Technology concept.
Barrier Technology has the potential to deal with airborne infections, particularly in drug-delivery inhalers, suction canisters and central-vacuum-line systems, as well as blood- or fluid-contact infections in intravenous-therapy components, safety-syringe vents and catheters.
Porex developed antimicrobial porous media and patented the technology in 2003. Now, Porex makes about 8.5 billion components per year for more than 1,300 health-care, industrial and consumer-product customers in 65 countries.
Research, product development and manufacturing are done in Fairburn, with other production in Shah Alam, Malaysia; Alness, Scotland; and Obergurig, Germany.
Porex buys specialty plastics from a dozen resin makers, Midgette said. “Everything we do is plastics as alternatives to metals or ceramics.”
Clariant Masterbatches in Holden, Mass., reported Mevopur-brand masterbatches now incorporate the MexX silver product series from longtime antimicrobial additives supplier Sanitized AG of Burgdorf, Switzerland.
Mevopur antimicrobial options for medical devices can avoid secondary coating operations and the costs of related validation processes. Also, the technology supports productivity efforts in the manufacturing of catheters, endoscopes, surgical instruments and preservative-free pharmaceutical packaging solutions.
The series extends Clariant's antimicrobial products for the medical-device market and facilitates streamlined product development, according to the company. Depending on the application, Clariant can combine pigments into a masterbatch or maintain transparency levels.
Clariant has developed information packages to help customers with regulatory notifications and filings.
A medical product containing a BASF SE antimicrobial compound was submitted in early 2012 to U.S. and European agencies for regulatory clearance, with hopes for midyear approvals.
The HyGentic 6025 ST 656C antimicrobial compound was developed at a BASF lab in Tarrytown, N.Y., in late 2010 at a European customer's request. A BASF site in Grenzach-Wyhlen, Germany, undertook end-use simulations.
The compound consists of injection molding-grade styrene butadiene block copolymer that incorporates silver-ion antimicrobial technology for protecting surfaces from bacterial colonization. Compounding is done at a BASF facility in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
In non-health-care applications, Bonar Plastics said customers have expressed interest in its Sani-Box bulk handling container and materials-handling Sani-Pallet incorporating antimicrobial protection from Microban International Ltd.
Microban made the antimicrobial additive available commercially in November 2011 for food processing and manufacturing, said Jim Peterson, national accounts manager with custom rotational molder Bonar Plastics of West Chicago, Ill. “We started looking in July 2010” for a way to improve plant hygienics, he said.
Use of the Microban additive can increase a product's cost by 5 percent, Peterson said.
The Sani-Box design eliminates bacteria-trapping sidewall seams, gaps and holes and has a self-draining bottom that avoids a need to tilt, tip or dump the container during the cleaning process.
A Sani-Pallet has impact-resistant, double-wall, high density polyethylene construction and is seen as an alternative to wood pallets, which struggle to comply with phytosanitary standards.
Bonar Plastics is a unit of Snyder Industries Inc., which acquired Bonar in 2010.
W.M. Barr & Co. Inc. of Memphis, Tenn., acquired Microban of Huntersville, N.C., on Dec. 30.
LTL Color Compounders Inc. has expanded its ColorRx line with grades containing a silver-ion antimicrobial additive in masterbatch and ready-to-use-product forms. The firm worked closely with a key supplier of additives to develop the AM line using proven silver-ion technology, said Philip Dix, medical marketing and development manager.
In non-medical-device applications regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, the AM line protects molded or extruded plastic articles from discoloration and degradation, and keeps them from developing odor caused by the growth of microorganisms, according to LTL. In Food and Drug Administration-regulated medical devices, the AM line provides added protection from pathogenic bacteria that can cause hospital-acquired infections, according to the firm.
LTL invested more than $750,000 in auxiliary equipment in targeting new materials and markets, higher quality and energy efficiency. It added its second and third Econ GmbH underwater pelletizers in October to increase flexibility, particularly in running softer materials such as thermoplastic elastomers, according to Jon Troy, operations manager. LTL has 11 production lines, with strand pelletizers on eight.
Since October, LTL acquired four K-Tron loss-in-weight feeders, a 25-ton Thermal Care chiller, a portable Matsui America desiccant dryer and a Choice Bagging Equipment system.
Founded in 1990, the supplier of custom colored and compounded engineering resins has a 70,000-square-foot headquarters, manufacturing, research and testing operation in Morrisville, Pa., and 82,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space in Dongguan, China.
Dix said LTL projects global 2012 growth of 15 percent above 2011 sales of about $23 million.
UBM Canon produced and managed the various trade shows, held Feb. 14-16 in Anaheim.