PlastikCity on Tour – BioCote®

Our next stop was in Coventry to meet Josela Rendardson, Head of Marketing at BioCote®. A supplier of premium antimicrobial additives, BioCote® serves brands, manufacturers and innovators worldwide by incorporating long-lasting antimicrobial protection into any polymer material.

BioCote® is an international leader in antimicrobial technology, supplying additives for polymers, silicones, paints, coatings, and more, to provide permanent surface protection against microbes (bacteria, mould, and fungi) which can multiply and cause odours, staining, and early product failure.

For over 25 years, BioCote® has successfully integrated antimicrobial technology into a broad range of products, helping businesses and brands deliver high-quality products with an added layer of protection for both the end user and the product itself.

Exporting additives worldwide, BioCote® is based in Coventry, England, and it was the company’s Coventry HQ where we met with Josela Renardson, Head of Marketing. We discussed her first year in the role, the growing importance of the antimicrobial market, and plans for the year ahead.

But before that, what is antimicrobial technology? How does it work? Should you be incorporating antimicrobial additives into your plastic products? Read on; we’ve got you covered!

What is Antimicrobial Technology?

An antimicrobial agent is something that resists, inhibits or prevents the growth of microbes. Using active ingredients (usually Silver or Zinc compounds), BioCote® harnesses these antimicrobial properties into functional formulations: concentrated powders, liquid suspensions, or masterbatch pellets, which are incorporated into the base material of a product during the manufacturing process.

Once infused with the antimicrobial additive, the resulting product will be more hygienic and resist the growth of bacteria and moulds for its entire life cycle. The integrated properties benefit both the end users of the product and for extending the functional life of the product itself.

In most cases, BioCote® additives are incorporated directly into the plastic material during the manufacturing process, with no need to change any existing processing parameters. However, for certain applications, antimicrobial properties can instead be added to a product after it has been manufactured in the form of a coating or surface treatment.

As the properties are integrated into the surface of products, protection is 24/7 and permanent. BioCote® additives are effective against all significant microbes, including common concerns such as E.coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and MRSA.

How does Antimicrobial Technology work?

Take a look at the short animation below to see how antimicrobial technology works in practice. By utilising the antimicrobial properties of Silver ions, Zinc compounds, and other agents, products containing BioCote® technology resist the growth and replication of microorganisms.

Compared side-by-side, it’s plain to see that on the surfaces protected with BioCote®, the microbes cannot survive and reproduce. BioCote® reduces the number of bacteria on a surface by up to 86% within 15 minutes and up to 99% in two hours compared to a non-treated product.

Microbes that contaminate BioCote®-treated surfaces are impacted in several ways: protein damage, cell membrane damage, oxidative damage and DNA interference. By altering the biological systems of microbes, processes such as energy production and cell replication are disrupted; therefore, the ability of the microbe to survive and proliferate is drastically reduced. For more detailed information about these mechanisms, you can learn more on the BioCote® website.

What are the benefits of Antimicrobial Technology?

The benefits of using antimicrobial products are twofold. Firstly, the benefits to the product itself are increased hygiene, a reduction of microbes by up to 99.99%, minimised bad odours, and an increased product lifetime due to less material degradation. This is particularly important for products destined for sensitive environments, such as healthcare, education or food contact, or for products intended as high touchpoints, such as door handles, mobile phone cases or shared equipment and devices.

Secondly, an increasingly contamination-conscious world means that incorporating antimicrobial technology into your plastic products can benefit your business. You could increase product demand, secure greater customer confidence, differentiate your existing products, or penetrate new markets, with your newly protected, superior product.

BioCote Technology Graphic

The integration of built-in BioCote® antimicrobial technology into plastics does not change the mechanical or physical properties of the plastic, so it can be used in a wide range of applications without the need for any modifications. The technology is versatile, allowing the treatment of a whole host of engineering and commodity polymers, as the antimicrobial technology can be processed at temperatures of up to 600°C.

Customer service and partnerships also became a recurring theme when we sat down with Josela to discuss plans for the year ahead.

To get started, we asked Josela to summarise BioCote®’s key products and offerings:

Josela: BioCote® is a supplier of antimicrobial additives, supplied either as a masterbatch or powder directly into your polymer process. Our scientifically proven technology provides built-in lasting protection for your product against bacteria, mould, and fungi by up to 99.99%.

Our products aren’t ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions, each customer and each application is different, and we work closely with our customers to provide the most effective antimicrobial agent and dosage for their application.

We support our partners by providing technical support, regulatory support, as well as sales and marketing assistance once the product hits the market. We are more than just an additives supplier; our customers benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of a team that become your dedicated antimicrobial department!

What is your target market?

Josela: The plastics industry is one of our key markets. However, our additives are application-specific rather than market-sector-specific. Incorporating antimicrobial properties into a product is beneficial to any component which could harbour bacteria or which is destined to spend its life in a sensitive environment. This means that the healthcare sector is an important area, with items like touch pads, door handles or medical devices seeing huge benefits with reduced microbial growth and cross-contamination due to their functionality.

However, applications go further than healthcare. We have customers in the building and construction sector for products like antimicrobial water pipes and fittings, antimicrobial cladding, electrical sockets, and office equipment. Education is another important area, with antimicrobial products such as classroom furniture, door handles and light switches reducing cross-contamination in schools. Steering wheels, door handles, and HVAC systems in cars, planes, and trains are also common multi-touchpoint applications.

Other environments, such as gyms, hotels, shopping centres, cafes, kitchens, food preparation areas, or consumer products like water bottles, coffee cups, and baby toys, are ideally suited to antimicrobial protection.

Any plastic product that can harbour bacteria is a potential application!

What sets BioCote® apart from its competitors?

Josela: Our experience, customer support and making it easy for our customers to do business with us.

We have incredible knowledge throughout our team to support our customers from initial enquiry to post-product launch, marketing and sales assistance. Our team has decades of experience that has helped shape and launch countless products. This, along with the flexibility we extend to our customers and our complete range of antimicrobial additives, helps set us apart.

BioCote® can be formulated into a concentrated powder or polymer masterbatch, allowing the successful integration into any polymer material or polymer blend. As such, our antimicrobial technology is suitable for incorporating into every production process, whether that’s polymer compounding, injection moulding, film extrusion, roto-moulding, or 3D printing, to name but a few.

Dependent upon the type of polymer in the chosen application, BioCote® may recommend a polymer-specific or universal masterbatch, delivering optimal compatibility. This is where our in-house regulatory and chemistry teams come in – they can help identify the most compatible additive for the specific product needs, ensuring the best possible results every time, removing any need to change any of the existing processing parameters or have any negative effect on production cycle times. All the while, there will be no difference in the shrinkage level or any change in the colour or gloss level of your final product, as the addition rate can be as low as 1%. Our chemists optimise formulations and dosages for every application to reach the most effective and economical solution possible.

BioCote® works with an independent UK-based microbiology laboratory to ensure the test results and performance data provided to our clients are credible and bulletproof. The test method used is ISO 22196, which is an Antimicrobial surface test that measures antibacterial activity on plastics and other non-porous products. We only validate samples that see a reduction in bacteria of >95%, while our aim is to always achieve levels of around >99% reduction, providing peace of mind that your products are working to the highest possible standard.

BioCote® technology also carries food approval status and is safe for drinking water applications. We are the first and remain the only antimicrobial additive supplier in the world to be HACCP International certified. Our continued commitment to quality control means we are part of a vast network of successful organisations that supply products endorsed by HACCP International.

What lies ahead for BioCote®?

Josela: As products, manufacturing processes and technologies evolve – our roadmap takes us to an innovative path. We are exploring new, more sustainable technologies whilst also continually investing in testing the efficacy of our technology against other known pathogens.

We serve our valued customers and partners throughout 50+ countries, and our geographical reach and range continue to expand.

We will be visiting and exhibiting at lots of exhibitions throughout 2023 and are proud to be supporting the UK’s plastic industry at Interplas in September, so please drop by stand H15 in Hall 4 to say hello!

Do you have an official or unofficial company philosophy or mantra?

Josela: Something that comes from our Managing Director David Hall is our OHLA culture. OHLA stands for Open, Honest, Listen and Accountable, and this reflects in the way the BioCote team interacts with each other and how we work with our customers every day!

 

Thank you, Josela, for your hospitality and a fascinating insight into the world of antimicrobial additives. If you’re interested in learning more, please check out the BioCote® website, or get in touch with the BioCote® team today!

Look out for the next edition of ‘PlastikCity on Tour’ to learn more about our excellent UK-based partners.

There are now well over 260 active partners represented on the PlastikCity site, many of which offer highly specialised products or services to our sector.

During our everyday course of business, we’ll be making a point of visiting as many of these partners as we can and using the time to better understand what they offer the market. We’ll then showcase them through this ongoing series of articles.

Maybe you can benefit from their services!

Read more news from BioCote here.

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