Paul Jackson, above ground drainage product manager at Polypipe, provides the inside track on additives provider BioCote and its product development with Polypipe.
As consumers become increasingly hygiene-conscious, products with advanced hygiene attributes are more desirable. The products that are being introduced through an exclusive partnership between Polypipe and BioCote will offer the eventual end user – homeowners across the UK – with a proven and trusted antimicrobial technology that permanently protects against odour and staining causing bacteria, by reducing build-up by up to 99.99 per cent.
For more than twenty years BioCote has been synonymous with improved hygiene and antimicrobial performance. The silver ion additives at the core of the technology have been introduced to a wide range of common materials with the aim of minimising microbial colonisation, providing a reduction in surface staining and the build-up of unpleasant odours. This approach offers protected products with an increased functional life cycle, and the ability to stay cleaner for longer.
BioCote has previously partnered with international manufacturers to provide antimicrobial product integration in a diverse range of applications from paints to ceramics and fabrics to papers. In these applications, the products have demonstrated a proven ability to reduce the spread of bacteria, mould and even some viruses.
Polypipe is constantly introducing new features to its tried and tested products, with an emphasis on improving the whole-life value of drainage systems long after installation. There was a clear opportunity for collaboration to further develop one of the UK’s biggest ranges of domestic drainage systems.
Polypipe’s highly experienced drainage technical team has been working with BioCote at its research and development laboratory to develop an exclusive range of antimicrobial traps, connectors and waste pipes with bacteria-combatting properties available for the domestic drainage market.
The benefits of using antimicrobial additives in plastic piping have already been established in many hygiene critical environments, particularly in healthcare and hospitality settings, but their use within domestic systems required exploring as there are a number of common problems that antimicrobial plastic plumbing could alleviate.
It is highly likely that traps installed in an average kitchen are likely to have food and drink remnants pass through them. U-bends offer an ideal environment for bacteria and mould including Aspergillus brasiliensis to accumulate. These build-ups can reduce water flow and cause damage to pipework to the point of causing material degradation and system failure.
The partnership has established that even by using high quality additives at low addition rates to the polymers during manufacturing, this will produce finished components that have superior antimicrobial performance against a wide variety of common microbes including bacteria, mould, fungi and viruses including microbes such as MRSA, E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and those most often found in domestic systems.
By implementing the use of BioCote during the manufacturing process through incorporation at source rather than coating a finished component, the accumulation of bacteria can be managed more effectively in an extensive range of traps. The products that integrate BioCote have been independently proven to reduce more than 99 per cent of microbes.
This ensures that the waste trap allows water to flow through at its optimum velocity without the need for ongoing treatment or repairs. Systems stay fresh and unstained for longer, reducing odours, increasing the functional lifetime of the product.
As well as conducting tests in factory-controlled conditions the company also simulated a real-life scenario within an independent testing facility in order to ensure that all testing was relevant to its application, allowing contractors to be confident that the products they stake their reputation on are fit-for-purpose.
In these tests two near-identical waste traps were selected in a study designed to simulate real life conditions. One trap was made by Polypipe and protected by BioCote with the other generic trap left unprotected.
The traps were placed in situ and subject to contamination for a period of time. As the selected images show, the results from swabbing each trap demonstrated remarkable differences, with the treated trap showing visible efficacy in microbe reduction.
Testing shows that products including this new technology can reduce microbes on the surface by over 80 per cent in as little as 15 minutes, as well as providing the range of domestic above ground drainage products with lasting, proven protection for up to 25 years.
What this level of detail means for the builder on site is added assurance and confidence that, if they are using Polypipe, they are using products that not only meet all British Standards and hold BSI Kitemarks, but have been developed to include active ingredients that resist, inhibit and prevent the growth of bacteria and mould long after the installation has been completed.
Use of protective additives are not the only developments in above ground drainage products. Polypipe has also introduced features such as finned seals and Fit-Rite technology across its domestic trap ranges, aiding the insertion and removal of system components, keeping installation for builders and contractors simple and reliable.