September 3, 2009

2 Min Read
Process Yields Uniform Dispersion of Antimicrobials


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AdvanSource Biomaterials incorporates its antimicrobial silver ions during polymer synthesis for uniform dispersion.

Material suppliers have traditionally incorporated antimicrobial additives into their products using prefabricated resin and secondary operations that can add cost and complexity to the manufacturing process. Because this technique can diminish the performance characteristics of the base polymer and does not always result in uniform dispersion of the antimicrobial additive, AdvanSource Biomaterials has created its own manufacturing process to produce antimicrobial versions of its core materials.

Antimicrobial agents are typically added to a finished resin through a secondary process such as compounding or kneading. This is accomplished using melt extrusion and pelletizing equipment, and requires the additive to be heat-stable for extended periods of time. But the antimicrobial characteristics of polymers produced in this manner are often inconsistent due to a lack of homogeneity, according to AdvanSource.
Instead, the company is producing polymers containing active silver ions, which are renowned for their antimicrobial properties and maintain heat stability during processing. In order to achieve uniform dispersion of the silver ions throughout the material, the company has created a process that allows for the incorporation of the antimicrobial additive during polymer synthesis, according to Khristine Carroll, vice president of sales and marketing.
"By adding the [antimicrobial] material during synthesis, we're able to maximize the mechanical properties of the polymer while maintaining the antimicrobial properties of the silver," says Andrew Reed, vice president of science and technology. And, because the antimicrobial characteristics are formulated into the chemistry of the material, secondary operations will not diminish the polymer's antimicrobial properties, he adds. Moreover, OEMs can easily transition to the antimicrobial version of a material they were previously using and still maintain consistency in the mechanical characteristics of their design. Using its proprietary processes also enables the company to achieve lot-to-lot consistency and tailor the material to the specific application requirements of its customers, adds Carroll.
"Various coatings, for example, are becoming more important to manufacturers of short-term implantables, guidewires, catheters, and drug-delivery devices," says Carroll. The company's HydroMed D series of hydrophilic polyether-based urethanes are designed for use as coatings of such products. They can be manufactured with various degrees of water absorption and offer kill rates of 99.99% of such bacteria as MRSA.

AdvanSource Biomaterials
Wilmington, MA
Copyright ©2009 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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