Stronger demand for additives

International Plastic Guide, a partner of SIBUR, has been included on the list of strategically important companies that continued operating throughout the pandemic.

Against the backdrop of COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown measures, International Plastic Guide needed to ensure undisrupted shipments of materials for the manufacturing of syringes, blood transfusion systems, and medical and protective equipment such as surgical masks, scrubs, overalls, drapes, etc.

The pandemic highlighted the need for the use of materials with antimicrobial and antifungal properties. This translated into stronger demand for Finaguard AM, an additive by International Plastic Guide for polymer production. Organic-based, it contains no heavy metals or other hazardous substances and provides extra protection and a hygiene barrier. The additive can be used by companies manufacturing nonwoven materials employed in surgical masks and other medical products. When added to PVC food films, Finaguard AM acts not only against bacteria but protects against fungi as well, which is relevant in any contact with food products.

The key purpose of antimicrobial additives is to reduce the number of microbes on a product's surface. The food industry is one of those that have the strongest demand for this type of additive. However, any polymer that comes into any contact with food (product packaging or food wrapping) is required to have a regulatory clearance. Most of the antimicrobial additives contain heavy metals not suitable for food packaging, with silver-based additives as the only exception. Still, while cleared for use in the food industry, those additives have a number of limitations: they are expensive, which results in higher prices of the end product, require strict compliance with the dosage because of the heavy metal nature of silver, and affects the transparency of the end product.

Executive Order of the Russian President No. 206 dated 25 March 2020 added International Plastic Guide to the list of strategically important companies

Finaguard AM was successfully tested for antimicrobial activity under the Japanese standard JIS Z 2801:2010 Antibacterial Products – Test For Antibacterial Activity and Efficacy, proving effective against Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538, Gram-positive) and Escherichia coli (ATCC 8739, Gram-negative).

As part of its cooperation with International Plastic Guide over the past six months, SIBUR has been paying special attention to maintaining ongoing shipments to its partner to make sure its production process is never disrupted. The supply range includes a variety of products such as polyethylene and polypropylene of different grades. Those are important for many of the company’s projects, including the ones related to the production of antimicrobial additives, a lifeline in the pandemic era.

Anton Sirotkin, an expert with SIBUR’s branch in St Petersburg, said: “During the lockdown, a lot of people both at SIBUR and our customer transitioned to partly remote working without compromising the work flow. Even in these challenging times, International Plastic Guide and SIBUR continued honouring their contractual obligations in full and on time. Employees responsible for delivering products or unloading them from warehouses were provided with personal protective equipment and adhered to all the safety requirements. We have been able to prevent any adverse impact of the pandemic on our operation and have been really confident navigating the storm together with International Plastic Guide.”

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