As we begin to go back out to our favorite stores, restaurants, gyms and public places we are looking for reassurance about cleanliness. It’s never been more important for retail and services business to be transparent about their hygiene protocols to protect the safety and health of customers and employees*.
Is it clean?
Long before COVID, my father held and still holds, the distinction of biggest germaphobe in our family. He had hand sanitizer and wipes long before the grandkids arrived 20 years ago. Like many, I have upped my game and often pause before touching many surfaces in public places. I now use my sleeve covered forearm to push open doors rather than touch them. I even bought a brass no-contact tools to use on touch pads, elevator buttons and the like. And I make sure my table is cleaned before sitting down at a restaurant.
Cleaner Surfaces For Years
Cleanliness concerns in public places are here for the foreseeable future. Luckily, a new product is providing better protections against germs spread by contact on surfaces. I recently spoke with Martin Aalsma, the COO of AM Solutions, about the launch of their new antimicrobial product NANOLAMTM. It is a breakthrough laminate for printed products that provides years of antimicrobial protection. The product was in development prior to the pandemic and launched at the end of 2020. Aalsma has over 25 years of experience in printing. In 2016, he started the development company, Cre8dev to provide technology and innovative solutions to customers. His vision was to add value to clients with a focus on people over profits. NANOLAMTM started as an idea to address a client need for eliminating germs on surfaces with high touch frequency. The client need was for a product that would retain its antimicrobial properties for long periods of time with constant use.
Polyester (PET) is a popular film choice for printing labels and other applications that require lamination – especially those that require cleaning. Polyester features excellent scuff and scratch resistance, durability, and folding characteristics. There are a few PET substrates that use a spray-on process to add antimicrobial properties to the finished laminated product. Depending on usage, the antimicrobial properties often have a very short shelf life.
Aalsma teamed up with scientists in Japan to develop the product with antimicrobial properties embedded in the PET substrate. Their mission was to develop a product with long term use and antimicrobial safety. COVID brought a flood of new products to the markets. Most were spray on technology that provide a relatively short shelf life. Aalsma’s team continued testing through 2020 until they were confident that had a superior product with durability and a 5 -7 year shelf life.
NANOLAM™ is comprised of a silver Ion additive. It is infused into the laminate during the actual manufacturing process with a unique, patented delivery system. The unique but simple structure is what enables it to control the release of silver ions, maximizing its effectiveness and longevity which offers safe, effective and long-lasting protection for the life of the actual laminate.
COVID Driven Demand
Retail and service business want to assure customers and employees that their stores and establishments are safe to visit. The demand for antimicrobial surfaces has exploded. AM Solutions has car dealers, restaurants, hospitals, commercial interiors, casinos, stadiums, and other establishments inquiring and ordering a wide range of products. Customers want NANOLAMTM protective surfaces for: door handles, tabletops, counters, toilet seats, flushing handles, elevators, hand holds on gym equipment, railings and beyond.
If door handles, tabletops and the like are going to be covered with a product whose purpose is to demonstrate protection against germs, the surface can also be printed with branding, logos and marketing messages. The manufacturing process includes inkjet printing onto an adhesive substrate and then applying NANOLAMTM film onto a carrier for lamination. Commercial grade pressure sensitive adhesives extend the shelf life of the final product.
Nanolam is selling direct and through AM Solutions. They are printing on a 4 x 8 foot Fujifilm Acuity UV flatbed. This printer was in production for 6 years before the launch of NANOLAMTM. Martin hopes to expand production capabilities on other OEM inkjet platforms soon.
Aalsma expects rapid growth and demand for the product. The Cre8dev team was patient with product development and testing. Despite huge demand knew they had to have a superior and consistent product. Additional testing was needed, and they waited to launch, until they had product integrity. They are already conducting installations to replace competitive products that deteriorated or de-laminated. Expansion will likely require strategic partners in different regions of the country.
Coming soon to your local restaurants and gyms, peace of mind, and more marketing messages when you grab the door handle.