NEWS: Adhesive Film Will Be Antimicrobial

19-07-2017

An EU project FLEXPOL brings together a consortium of research and industry partners from Italy, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom and Germany to develop a pilot line for cost-efficient antimicrobial adhesive film manufacturing.

Currently these films are applied to large-area surfaces around hospital patients in order to reduce the risk of contamination. The synergic action of material and surface structure is able to kill various germs and inhibit bacterial growth with an efficiency of 99.9%, it is claimed. This will not only ensure the health protection of both patients and medical staff but also yield a considerable economic benefit due to reduced expenditure for detergents and sanitizers.

While the present applications relate to large areas such as walls and floors and thus extensively minimize a contamination with microbes in hospitals there would certainly be a ready use for such film in food production areas for both manufacturers and food service industries too. A spokesman also added,  “Certainly the ambition to expand the market to food packaging is already on-going - aiming to preserve and extend the shelf life of fruit, meat and processed food, among others.”

This antimicrobial effect is achieved by specially developed nanostructures and polymer materials containing antimicrobial oil blends. Applying these structures to adhesive films in a roll-to-roll process makes it difficult for bacteria and fungal spores to cling to them, as the structures mechanically damage the cell envelope and thus kill the pathogen.

Within the project, the Italian SME Propagroup spA will deal with the high-volume film production, implementing a dedicated blow extrusion line and supporting the consortium in material design and formulation. Scientific input is provided by the University of Alicante, University of Minho and the company Naturality, in conjunction with research centres  Fraunhofer IPT and IK4-Tekniker, which are dedicating their effort on active substance development and efficiency enhancement, both from a chemical and technological point of view. 

The 3 year project, starting in January 2017 is part of the funding program Horizon 2020, with a budget of 5.17million.