As with all major global events impacting the world, this moment in history will enlighten us on certain areas of operations where sanitizing and cleanliness will become more of a requirement vs. a mere suggestion. In 2018, before the outbreak of COVID-19, the global market for antimicrobial coatings was projected to reach around $3.8 billion by 2021. In February 2020, that figure jumped to $7.5 billion by 2026. As this pandemic continues to spread, one can only imagine where those numbers will peak. Why is this projection relevant? Because the recent heightened awareness of the lack of sanitizing and regulatory guidelines for consumer goods product packaging and labeling processes are playing a role in the COVID-19 frenzy. Future actions must be taken and guidelines created to address these areas to be better prepared should another catastrophic outbreak occur.
Most would assume government and environmental organizations will be paving new paths for more sanitized, cleaner product packaging and labeling requirements throughout the manufacturing and supply chain processes safeguarding citizens. With OSHA’s Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 and the EPA’s suggested Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, actions are already being taken to address how to handle the current situation and anticipate how to be better prepared in the future. With options already in the works supporting antibacterial solutions, a new norm throughout manufacturing and supply chains across the world is sure to be implemented once we claim victory over COVID-19.
What Can You Do Now as a Manufacturer?
Product packaging is one of the leading causes of cross-contamination across multiple industries ranging from production to supply chains to end-users. As product packaging manufacturers working with label suppliers, you should be asking yourself what can be done to prevent the future spread of bacteria or fungus. Step one would be to begin researching and initiating conversations with suppliers who have the same futuristic vision of sanitation goals. These conversations could include types of products currently being used in ways of sprays or coatings during the manufacturing and final packaging processes to ensure shipments won’t spread germs and bacteria. Also, understanding the overall scope of what an “antimicrobial” product packaging and labeling process would look like as well as any additional costs incurred to current processes is pivotal. This can include understanding how antimicrobial/antifungal technology works as well as the efficacy of the antimicrobial/antifungal products.
What Antimicrobial/Antifungal Technologies Exist Today?
For centuries, silver and copper ions have been proven to suffocate bacteria and viruses, inhibiting growth and cross-contamination. Silver nanoparticles are effective bactericides, destroying gram-negative species immune to conventional antibacterial agents. In the early 1900’s, silver gained regulatory approval as an antimicrobial agent. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics, colloidal silver was used as a germicide and disinfectant.
As with silver, copper has been scientifically proven to be effective in the fight against spreading bacteria and fungi. Copper effectively deactivates a broad spectrum of viruses and fungi specifically through the exposure to copper ions. The copper ions interfere with their biological defense mechanisms.
Since COVID-19 is a “newer” virus, the silver and copper technologies have not been officially proven as to their effectiveness in preventing cross-contamination and elimination of viruses and bacteria. However, our partners; AgentPlus and Interactive Inks and Coatings have designed a solution proven effective against shielding consumers against cross-contamination of MRSA, Staph, E. Coli, Mold, Germs and more.
What Solutions are Available Now?
Agent+®, Interactive Inks and Coatings, and PrimeSourceOPC have a current solution to address cross-contamination and the spread of certain viruses through applications of certain coatings applied during the label manufacturing process. The label acts as an antimicrobial product helping to shield against germs and reduce possible cross-contamination. The active ingredients are EPA registered for surface treatment. This process allows the label to provide antimicrobial/antifungal fighting elements. At this time, three baseline products are available.
- Paper Series OPHG-811
- Film Series OPHG-812
- UV Series OPHG-813
With these ready-to-use primers, inks, and coatings, these specially manufactured labels decrease the growth and migration of bacteria and fungi on the label through the silver and copper nanoparticles in the products proven with clerical evidence to help eliminate viruses.
There is no doubt the COVID-19 outbreak will change our perspective on a number of factors throughout manufacturing, and beyond. However, it’s what we learn from these challenges that will make us stronger as a nation. We can begin pulling resources and innovating technologies to protect the human race and our processes as we engage with each other on a global level!
To learn more about our upcoming “Antimicrobial/Antifungal Coatings Webinar” and how your operations can become a trailblazer in the fight against a future outbreak, fill out the below form. We look forward to playing a role in the movement towards a safer, more sanitized world!