In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many questions as to how we will move forward once the spread of the virus is reduced. While no one knows for sure what the future will hold, it’s safe to say that everyday life will not be the same for some time. The “new normal” may likely include wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, reducing travel, and other precautions.
There may also be a new expectation for OEMs to produce products with an elevated focus on consumer health and safety.
Where and Why Hygienic Products Matter
While there has already been a push for safer products in medical facilities to curb hospital-acquired infections, it’s clear that these aren’t the only environments where hygienic surfaces are a public health concern.
We have seen how virtually any object that is touched or exposed to exhaled droplets can harbor and spread harmful germs. That means improved products are needed in all areas of daily life, including:
- Eldercare facilities
- Retail stores and supermarkets
- Hotels and cruise ships
- Government buildings and prisons
- Schools and childcare facilities
- Public transportation
- Entertainment venues and attractions
- Veterinary offices
- Vending machines, ATMs, self-checkout kiosks, etc.
Benefits of Antimicrobial Films
One technology that can help a range of products be more hygienic and safer is antimicrobial film. These innovative materials, such as Autotex® AM, are hard-coated polyester films that have antimicrobial agents built into the textured surface. The film reduces the spread of infection by inhibiting the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, and other contaminants. While this doesn’t eliminate the need for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces, the film does provide around-the-clock protection for users.
In addition to the health benefits, these films are flexible, durable, scratch-resistant, and designed to withstand harsh chemicals without losing their antimicrobial properties.
Making Products with Antimicrobial Films
Antimicrobial films can be incorporated in a wide variety of products that use graphic overlays, membrane switches, or other control panels. They can also be used on non-interactive surfaces that frequently incur hand contact such as doors, work surfaces, or other equipment.
The raw material is available in sheets and rolls, which can be converted to fit your exact specifications. Popular antimicrobial films also feature ink adhesion primers, so they can be further customized or branded with screen printing.
In the fight against illnesses, we need every weapon at our disposal. We foresee antimicrobial devices and products being a necessity for public health as well as an opportunity for manufacturers.