MacDermid Enthone Inc., a global leader in film coating technology, is partnered with Microban® International to offer innovative antimicrobial-treated films for surface applications in the restaurant sector. Anna Harris, R&D Project Manager at MacDermid Enthone, explains how scientific brainstorming and collaboration catalyzed the birth of innovative antimicrobial films for the hospitality industry.
The Company: MacDermid Enthone
MacDermid Enthone Inc. is a subsidiary of Elements Solutions Inc that provides chemical process solutions and materials for a variety of industries, including the automotive, aerospace, construction, oil and gas, and electronics sectors. Based in Wantage in the UK, the company is a trusted market leader in the manufacture of flexible polyester and polycarbonate films for a range of high-touch surface applications. It is renowned for driving innovation in the development of chemical compounds for complex hard coating functions and, in 2005, launched its first antimicrobial product, initially designed with the healthcare sector in mind.
More recently, the heightened awareness of cleanliness driven by the COVID-19 pandemic has boosted the demand for antimicrobial products in other application areas, such as the hospitality industry, and MacDermid has now expanded its antimicrobial range to include films for restaurant surfaces and quick self-service electronic devices.
The Challenge: Perils of a High-touch Digital Era
Even before the pandemic hit, there has been a slow shift in the way the hospitality and food sectors operate, using smart technology – including contactless payments and self-service kiosks – for more efficient check-out options.
Today, more than ever, there is an increased awareness of how microorganisms are unwittingly transferred between surfaces at the touch of a button, and businesses have started introducing more robust cleaning routines to reassure consumers that their high-touch screens are clean and trustworthy. However, regular harsh scrubbing can damage equipment surfaces and leave residues that give an aged, tired-looking appearance, that does not line up with users’ expectations of cleanliness. Replacing grubby equipment on a regular basis is simply not economically viable.
The Solution: Touching New Opportunities
MacDermid partnered with Microban to develop antimicrobial-treated hard coated films specifically for the hospitality industry that provide continuous surface protection against product degrading microorganisms. Combining Microban’s expertise in antimicrobial chemistry with MacDermid’s long-standing knowledge of film coating technologies and chemical processes has delivered a solution that reflects the demands of today’s high-tech world.
Anna Harris commented: “Quick service equipment such as counters and touch screens are prone to bacterial build-up, degradation and damage caused by high-touch traffic and harsh cleaning chemicals. Adding Microban technology to our Autotex film range has helped us create a durable and high performing antimicrobial treated surface for quick-service restaurants.”
As the global leader of antimicrobial additives, Microban has incorporated a lasting built-in protection into the films that has improved their durability and functionality, reducing bacterial proliferation and keeping surfaces cleaner even between conventional surface disinfection. These additives are seamlessly integrated into the films during their manufacturing process and do not impact on thickness, or structural integrity of the product.
There are countless applications aside from user-machine interfaces – ranging from restaurant counters and tables to computer touchpads – and this technology is slowly but surely being adopted across the high-touch surface market. Anna added: “With the global food industry transitioning to self-service applications, and consumer awareness of cleanliness an all-time high in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is so important to offer solutions that complement existing cleaning protocols and deliver peace of mind.”
The Benefits: Redefining Cleanliness Confidence for Consumers
- MacDermid’s customers benefit from complete surface protection, with a technology that works 24/7, helping to keep microbial-induced degradation and damage at bay, and extending the durability of equipment.
- Microban’s antimicrobial chemistries seamlessly blend into the manufacturing processes, retaining those all-important qualities and characteristics of MacDermid’s hard coated films.
- The partnership brings an ingenious solution to the challenges of the food industry, keeping high-touch surfaces clean for longer, and effortlessly complementing cleaning protocols, for a better consumer experience.
- Microban’s regulatory department and marketing team ensure that all partners are educated and guided on antimicrobial claims, with their extensive knowledge of both the EU Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies.