The emergency medical care units and semi-permanent hospitals of the type that were erected immediately after typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines were constructed from an innovative wood fiber composite developed by Netherlands-based Aviplast WFC/Deltawood (Rijssen). The product, which consists of 75% wood fibers from recycled waste or rest wood in combination with 25% plastic (PP) resin, is produced by means of an internationally patented pushtrusion technology. As part of the Deltawood Simple Housing program, it is available in a broad range of innovative units that are delivered in flat packs, including windows, doors and roofing systems.
Now, in collaboration with another Dutch company called Parx Plastics (Rotterdam), Aviplast WFC/Deltawood has enhanced the properties of its composite material with the help of Parx Plastics' antimicrobial technology. As a result, the walls of these semi-permanent hospitals now exhibit antimicrobial activity of up to 99% within 24 hours, which exceeds today's standards for regular hospital environments.
General Manager Wim Derksen of Aviplast WFC/Deltawood is very excited about this new development. "We have been an innovator in the market providing this semi-permanent hospital concept, but now we are taking a big lead with this permanent and safe antimicrobial technology," he said.
Parx Plastics, the company that developed the innovative technology used, was recently identified by the European Commission as one of Europe's top tech startups. The company's unique biocompatible technology does not make use of biocides or heavy metals, such as silver, or nanomaterials, but instead is based on one of the most abundant trace elements in the human body. By adding this to a material, an intrinsic change is achieved that makes the surface hostile to bacteria. The material acquires what almost could be described as an immune system against bacteria. The antimicrobial property of the material is intrinsic—it won't leach out. It is 100% safe for humans and the environment.
The material provides permanent antimicrobial protection with a high efficiency against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans, among others. Antimicrobial tests on the surface of the wood-fiber composite performed by the University of Ferrara, Italy, following the international standard ISO 22196 bear out the initial results of 95.73%.
"This is an excellent result coming from our initial tests on this material," says Michael van der Jagt of Parx Plastics. "We know now what to do to reach our target of 99% in our next round of tests."
This technology is currently being demonstrated at MEDTEC Europe, which runs from April 21 to 23 in Stuttgart, Germany.