In an unclean world, plastics play a crucial role in the ongoing war against dirt, bacteria, and other harmful pathogens and unclean substances that can cause serious harm — and even death. Plastic polymers infused with protective elements are frequently utilized in the composition of products designed to protect against potentially dangerous contamination. Plastics Color Corporation has developed a powerful antimicrobial technology called MicroBlok® to help protect consumers against the harmful germs and microorganisms that lurk everywhere.
Suitable for various applications in a host of industries, MicroBlok® is most commonly used in appliances, medical devices, and other consumer contact applications. MicroBlok works by impeding and inhibiting the growth of bacteria on treated surfaces, significantly reducing stains, odors, and product deterioration. It has been tested rigorously under ISO 22196:2011, which measures the growth of bacteria within a 24-hour period on plastic substrates.
The antimicrobial technologies incorporated in the product are engineered and integrated into resin during the compounding process to form a masterbatch, eliminating the need for secondary mixing steps for the manufacturer. Using MicroBlok is a safe, controlled way to manufacture microbe-fighting products that don't require additional material modifications by the manufacturer — MicroBlok arrives ready-to-use, right out of the shipping containers. Plastics Color offers two types of MicroBlok technology: silver based (MicroBlok S®) and zinc based (MicroBlok Z®).
Silver ions added into the chemical composition of MicroBlok S are dispersed uniformly throughout the polymer matrix. These silver ions create large internal-specific surfaces within the polymer, resulting in extremely efficient antimicrobial properties.
Stable at any temperature, MicroBlok S embedded products developed by Plastics Color are custom-blended into an extensive variety of resins. While MicroBlok S can be used in any resin, the most common usage is in thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), polycarbonate (PC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene (PE). It is appropriate for virtually any molding or extrusion application and can be custom-formulated for special manufacturing processes.
Plastic Color's other antimicrobial product is MicroBlok Z, a zinc compound whose anti-fungal effect comes from its ability to disrupt membrane transport by blocking the proton pump that energizes a pathogen's transport mechanism. This creates an exceptionally high efficiency antimicrobial action. The zinc compounds within MicroBlok Z are not eliminated during the inhibition process, so the antimicrobial effect of MicroBlok Z is not reduced over time. MicroBlok Z is stable below 240°C, so appropriate resins for MicroBlok Z include those with lower melting temperatures, such as thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), TPU, and olyfins.
Protection From Harmful Intruders in Demanding Environments
Products incorporating MicroBlok can inhibit the growth of bacteria, fungi, molds, yeasts, and other microbes. Designed for tenacity, it is an ideal inhibitor for use in products subject to high humidity like kitchen and bath environments, as well as outdoor applications including furniture and decking. Additional product uses include sponges, bath mats, wire and cable insulation, plastic gloves, scrub brushes, construction, and footwear.
A Medical Match
While beneficial in many market sectors, MicroBlok's antimicrobial properties make it a natural fit for medical applications and products used in hospitals, laboratories, compounding facilities, and similar environments that demand cleanliness. Because of its ability to help prevent unwanted microbial growth on treated surfaces, MicroBlok is regularly used in medical devices and packaging, surgical tools, and implants. With the increase of microbes, the need for innovative ammunition in the ongoing antimicrobial battle makes MicroBlok a wise choice.
Custom MicroBlok Blends for Custom Color Needs
Both MicroBlok S and Z can be incorporated into customized color concentrates to create a color and additive package. This provides an opportunity to manufacturers to merge their additive needs and color needs into one vehicle, a masterbatch, for single-step integration in their manufacturing process. The Plastics Color team can assist customers in determining which of these antimicrobial technologies is the best fit for their individual product needs and how to best color the end application.
Plastics Color Corporation is an industry leader in colorants, compounds, additive masterbatches, and custom polymer technologies. With an enduring commitment to innovation, they pioneer state-of-the-art products that go on to lead an extensive range of markets. For more information, visit www.PlasticsColor.com.