Michael Ruby, President, Microban InternationalMichael Ruby, President
With every passing day, the world is witnessing greater debates over the impact of plastics on human health and environmental hygiene. However, when it comes to the healthcare and public health sector, this versatile, cost-effective material holds an immense value owing to its capability of serving various purposes. But both industrial and consumer polymers are highly susceptible to microbial attacks, causing undesirable effects, including staining, odor, and physical degradation. Both bacteria and fungi feed on plastics and polymer additives, resulting in the potential loss of product integrity. In such a scenario, there is a growing demand for antimicrobial plastics in upcoming applications for packaging, automotive, consumer goods, medical and healthcare products, among others. The pandemic has further accelerated the need for greener, cleaner, and naturally occurring safe formulations of polymers that are more sustainable and safe.

Addressing this demand in the plastic technology space is Microban International. Since 1984, the company has been driven by the mission to become a pioneering global solution provider for antimicrobial additives for polymers along with odor control and sanitization solutions. The company’s groundbreaking technologies work on any substrates to offer lasting protection against degradation and odor-causing bacterial growth. “With a purpose to redefine clean both in products and on surfaces, we help control the surface populations of bacterium, fungus, and mildew. We utilize our aftermarket cleaning solutions, whether those are biostatic that can control microbial growth on a surface for up to 12 weeks or our Microban 24 products for home surface cleaning,” states Michael Ruby, the President of Microban International.

Microban offers a whole series of cleaner, greener, more viable, and durable technologies to improve coatings, plastics, and masterbatches that manufacturers can mold into end-products. “We are striving to transform the polymer additive space by replacing the current suite of toxic biocides with our cleaner alternatives,” Ruby adds.

Microban currently offers over 25 approved antimicrobial technologies that can be formulated into polymer pellets, powders, or liquids. The company’s customized chemistries are incorporated into plastic products to offer ongoing protection throughout a product’s lifespan. Microban’s technologies can be included in the least logistically impactful way without hindering the manufacturing process. It can be applied in plastics processing, injection molding, blow molding, films, and extrusions, to name a few. Depending on the manufacturing method and material, Microban can provide liquid-based or powder-based products for powder coating, reaction injection molding, cross-linked liquid applied coatings, roto-molding, and foaming. The company also delivers extensive specialized pellet-based masterbatches for injection molding and extruded thermoplastic polymer manufacturing.

“Our aim while partnering with clients is to start with the end in mind.” Based on this philosophy, Microban, from the very beginning,

With a purpose to redefine clean both in products and on surfaces, we help control the surface populations of bacterium, fungus, and mildew

undergoes a deep discovery process with a prospect to understand how the end-products will function and determine ways to create a treated item with antimicrobial performance. This ideology further helps the company choose the type of technology and functionality, identify the critical to quality (CTQ) end goal, and ultimately select the ‘right form and the right format’ that best fits the functionality of the endproduct.

Over the years, Microban has established over 300 global partnerships with leading brands, manufacturers, and OEMs, owing to its science, innovation, and world-class research and development team. One such collaboration was with GE Appliance, owned by the Haier Group. Microban’s first commercial launch with GE Appliances was an advantaged solution for frontload washers and dryers, an area that has been riddled with concerns around odor and mildew for over 40 years. The excessive moisture buildup and pooled water led to the formation of mildew and odor. Microban was brought in to help GE Appliances fulfill its’ drain, dry, and defend approach. With Microban’s assistance, GE Appliances successfully launched the laundry category’s first and only front load washing system with built-in Microban technology. With such groundbreaking results within the first year of commercializing the product, GE Appliances continues to partner with Microban to redefine other appliance arenas within its playbook.

For Microban, it has always been vital to foster successful partnerships, even at the employee level. Since 2011, the company has been employee-owned. Its employee-owners are truly honored to be a part of its almost 38-year history and are excited for innovating in both the near and long-term. The coming year will mark a significant milestone for Microban as the company will be launching at least six new product platforms within the antimicrobial plastic space. It is currently building longlasting relationships focusing on improved products, brand, and commercial success with its partners. Microban has also planned to develop a new registered range of antimicrobial technologies based on naturally occurring substances for a more sustainable and green solution. For transforming different substrates of polymer even more effectively, the company has recently launched antiviral treatments and will soon be offering nontoxic odor control technologies for use in textile processing and targeted apparel and home and hospitality textiles. “Innovation is the legacy and life blood of Microban. We will continue to invest in the development of breakthrough technologies and deliver on our mission to solve real-world problems of product degradation and odor-causing microbial growth,” concludes Ruby.