What differentiates us from other antimicrobial suppliers is what we can do for you.
Our in-house facilities include comprehensive technical testing equipment and plastics processing machinery, allowing us to offer a complete solution. The only operation we don’t carry out in-house is antimicrobial laboratory testing – we firmly believe this should be genuinely independent, to give you total faith in your test results.
Extrusion & injection moulding
We will take a sample of your material and mould test swatches with one of our additives, using our Boy injection moulder. For most materials and grades we’ve already got proven results; for known problematic materials or unusual grades, we’ll carry out development work until we achieve the high level of efficacy we expect from our products.
Our extrusion capabilities take the pressure off, running trials with your material without any disruption to your manufacturing. We are able to develop custom masterbatch using our twin-screw extruder, specifically for your material and intended use. It may be imperative that your products are effective against algae, but MRSA isn’t so much of a problem – our technical abilities and modern equipment allow us to achieve this for you.
Mechanical & Environmental testing
We have a range of technical testing equipment, including tensile and impact testers, QUV and Atlas Xenon weather stations. We use these to prove our additives are up to the job; not just from an antimicrobial perspective, but in other real-life situations. For products which are going to be under stress, our tensile and impact testers will determine breaking points or weaknesses. For products which will be exposed to sunlight for extended periods, our weather station will perform accelerated UV testing.
We can test the capabilities of your current products and potentially offer you a more effective alternative. Many detectable products will fail under stress; we can thoroughly test all products which use our detectable additives and carry out comparison tests on competing products to make sure they perform in the way you would expect.
Independent laboratory testing
SteriTouch uses only established laboratories specialising in antimicrobial testing, ensuring consistent and repeatable results. Initial testing of products containing SteriTouch additives is provided free of charge in many instances, and we will often continue this service for batch testing as the products enter volume production. The standard test for evaluating the performance of antimicrobial surfaces is the JIS Z 2801:2000 or ISO 22196 method.
Testing is conducted according to these globally recognised standards, although for certain product types, such as fabrics, more appropriate methods may be adopted. All products are routinely tested against MRSA and E.Coli, although testing can be carried out against a range of other organisms, including streptococcus, salmonella, pseudomonas, legionella, aspergillus and candida.
SteriTouch only uses truly independent laboratories to carry out its antimicrobial testing. If the testing isn’t independent, how do you know your products are effective? Or if they’ve ever been? Unfortunately we’re seeing it more and more often, where we’re approached to test an ‘antimicrobial’ product which has never worked. We use different laboratories depending on the test required. For the standard JIS test, invented in Japan, we generally use a Japanese lab – http://www.kyobiken.or.jp/
We also use IMSL, Microtech and Express Microbiology, all genuinely independent test laboratories. You are encouraged to do your own research and make an informed decision. We won’t offer you an additive with any less than 99.9% efficacy proven through independent testing at one of these labs.
Material compatibility testing
One of the most important requirements in the evaluation of an antimicrobial additive is the compatibility with the material into which it is being incorporated. This is a straightforward process, yet it is often overlooked.
Incompatibilities can manifest over varying timescales. Some are very evident within minutes of mixing the additive into the host material, whereas others will take weeks or months to become apparent. We have developed a number of techniques for establishing the likelihood of such problems occuring, from simple small batch mixing to more sophisticated accelerated ageing and environmental exposure.
The most common incompatibilities result in discolouration, ranging from subtle to extreme, such as turning white injection moulded nylon dark brown, or causing a white decorative paint to turn grey/green.
The majority of our products are robust, proven solutions which have consistently demonstrated excellent compatibility in the materials for which they were developed. However, occasionally we are presented with a material which behaves uncharacteristically and in these instances we will develop a bespoke product to mitigate any unwanted effects.