Armacell®, the world-leading provider of flexible technical insulation materials, has partnered with Microban® to develop its insulation product lines – AP Armaflex, Coilflex and SpiralFlex™ – with built-in antimicrobial protection to help prevent the growth of mold. Shawn Dunahue, General Marketing Manager at Armacell, explains how Microban technology sets the company ahead of its competitors.
The Company: Armacell
Armacell is a leading manufacturer of high-performance and fiber-free engineered foams, delivering energy-saving insulation for commercial and residential buildings, industrial applications and the oil and gas industry. The company has over 24 production plants across the globe, employing more than 3,100 employees in 16 countries. In North America alone, Armacell operates six facilities producing ranges of thermoplastic insulation materials, covering systems, fire protection, noise control products, and foam cores for composite material production. Developed in 1954, Armaflex® is the company’s leading brand of proprietary elastomeric technical foam insulation for HVAC, plumbing and refrigerators.
The Challenge: If walls could talk
Thermal insulation is an important energy-saving strategy that can cut the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building by around 25 %. However, some fibrous materials used for insulation can create dust and debris, and, when in contact with moisture, microorganisms can thrive on this material, resulting in premature product degradation and mold. These microbes create spores and grow in the form of multicellular filaments that can be carried by the airflow – along with other bioaerosols, such as live or dead bacteria, viruses or mycotoxins – playing a significant role in indoor air pollution. The WHO Regional Office for Europe has issued specific guidelines on indoor air quality, placing the responsibility on building owners to provide a healthy workplace free of excess moisture and air pollution,1 and the CDC declared that “all molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks.”2 When an outbreak of mold does occur in insulation, it is extremely difficult and costly to replace, so preventive methods prove most effective.
The Solution: A level above the rest
In 2006, Armacell became the first and only leading company to offer foam insulation infused with antimicrobial technology from Microban. Shawn explained: “At Armacell, we’re always looking for a differentiator, something that separates our products from others, and our non-fibrous foam material treated with Microban does just that. Our product line is tailored to provide an energy-saving strategy in environments that are typically used by vulnerable people, such as the medical or educational world, from the moment of installation right through the lifetime of the product. Our closed cell elastomeric or polyethylene materials don’t rely on any other elements to satisfy the needs of the system, so installation is straightforward, brings very little dust or debris, and has a good energy rating. The antimicrobial technology from Microban really drives home this differentiation by preventing the growth of mold or mildew for the lifetime of the material, and the more we can eliminate or deter microbes from living on our products, the better.”
Shawn continued: “Manufacturing our products is a fine-tuned chemical process, with lots of different foaming and curing agents, and other components, and Microban’s additives slot into the process nicely. The team at Microban worked with us initially to ensure that the formulation was universal and easy to ship and apply at our multiple locations across with world, and now we consider the technology as a part of our recipe, so to speak.”
Added value, same great cost
“It is really important to the team at Armacell that we can emphasize the value of our products and connect with our customers to identify what is important to them. Competitive issues in materials manufacturing constantly waiver, but product durability will always be important. By adding Microban technology, consumers feel comforted to know that we’ve incorporated a different element into our insulation that pertains to the safety and longevity of the material, and it helps that users are often already aware of the brand’s reputation too. We are also able to add this to our product lines without any additional cost to the end users, which we feel is extremely valuable,” Shawn concluded.
The Benefits: Enhanced durability + cleanliness
- Armacell customers benefit from the assurance of insulation that is protected from the growth of mold, mildew and degrading microorganisms, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Preventing early product degradation will extend the lifetime of the insulation, and help to avoid costly and unwanted mold removal or insulation replacement.
- Incorporating Microban antimicrobial additives into the manufacturing of foam insulation ensures that it becomes an inherent feature that doesn’t fade over time, to last the expected lifetime of the product. With the Microban trademark, consumers can be reassured that the technology continues to work behind the walls.
- Microban's in-house regulatory department and marketing team have a comprehensive knowledge of the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other global regulatory policies. This allows them to guide partners with their antimicrobial claims across the world, and ensure treated product are promoted confidently and compliantly.
Learn more about Microban solutions for building materials at https://www.microban.com/antimicrobial-solutions/environments/building-materials
1. WHO Regional Office for Europe. (2009). WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: dampness and mould. Retrieved from www.who.int/airpollution/guidelines/dampness-mould/en/
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Facts about Stachybotrys chartarum. [online] CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm#:~:text=Stachybotrys%20chartarum%20and%20other%20molds,potential%20health%20risks%20and%20removal. [Accessed: 25th May 2021]