Understanding Antimicrobial Coatings

At Advanced Finishing USA (AFUSA), we have developed a finishing that creates safer, healthier and cleaner environments. Antimicrobial coatings are coatings that have zeolite containers dispersed evenly through the coating. These zeolite containers are filled with a small amount of silver nitrate, copper, or silver-copper. Microbes, as described in an interview with AFUSA President Greg Yahn, are, “living bacteria, and like all living organisms, they produce waste, and that waste is what makes us sick from bacteria.” When there is a high concentration of bacteria on a surface, there is a high concentration of waste produced by the bacteria which makes the surface dangerous and harmful when transferred from the surface to a person’s face or wound, allowing the harmful bacteria and waste to get into the body and begin overwhelming the immune system.

Yahn shared that, “Naturally, silver affects bacteria by penetrating their cell walls and interrupting metabolism and reproduction. If the bacteria are unable to metabolize, they are unable to produce the harmful waste, and the silver’s effect of reproduction denies the bacteria from increasing their population, further reducing the bacteria’s ability to spread and harm. Every time moisture is present, and friction is applied, the silver ions are released all around the container and any bacteria nearby will absorb those ions and will disrupt their metabolism and reproduction, eliminating their danger.”

“The idea is to keep the concentrations of bacteria down so that there are not enough bacteria on the surface to transfer enough bacteria into your body. Keeping lower levels of bacteria on surfaces touched in high traffic areas lowers the chance of spreading harmful amounts of bacteria from one person to another because once the bacteria are deposited on the surface, the silver ions begin to work on eliminating the bacteria.”

One example of an antimicrobial treated product from AFUSA are hospital bed lights mounted above pillows in hospital rooms to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria throughout the hospital to reduce risk to immuno-compromised patients and the spread of hospital-acquired infections. Additionally, AFUSA has coated door handles for a handful of customers. Yahn shared that sample testing by students at local universities concluded that the antimicrobial handles showed less cultural production of bacteria than other uncoated handles.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow in the United States, places like school campuses and hospitals can use any support they can get when it comes to controlling the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. AFUSA’s commitment to quality and care for our customers and antimicrobial coating technology can help create a safer, cleaner, and healthier environment for the world now, in its current pandemic state, and for whatever the future may hold.

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