In an interview Vikram Rao, Managing Director, N9 Technologies with Chemical Today magazine opens up about how silver can play a vital role in modern day textile and other daily use products to make it safe and hygienic.
By Debarati Das
Elaborate on the silver antimicrobial technology.
N9 Pure Silver, along with its variants N9 Plastix and N9 Claro CT, is a family of silver-based antibacterial and hygiene solutions. It is based on a revolutionary silver-based technology that, on contact, neutralises odour causing bacteria, keeping the treated product fresher for longer. It is a finish that can be applied to fabrics or garments. This breakthrough technology delivers outstanding odour control performance, combined with impeccable environmental credentials and safety profile.
Potential of the technology to revolutionise the textile industry.
Textile materials do not have any inherent antimicrobial properties. The natural properties of textile fibres provide room for the growth of microorganisms due to sweat. Humid and warm environments further aggravate the problem.
Staining and the loss of performance of textile substrates is a result of a microbial attack. An antimicrobial finish is applied to textiles with the intention to protect the wearer from malodour and the textile substrate from degradation.
Many prominent textile brands and manufacturers use antimicrobials to value add to their existing range of textiles or garments and to pass on this value to their end customers.
Hygiene for textiles is emerging as a priority in functionality as garments are closest to human skin, touching it all day, every day, in one form or the other. Garments are a second skin, protecting humans from the elements.
Applications of the silver antimicrobial technology.
The potential presented by N9 Pure Silver is immense. From articles of daily use, such as clothing, and bed linen, to food packaging and hair care — the opportunities are vast, making it an ideal solution for several industries.
N9 Pure Silver also finds interesting consumer applications on textiles as well as other non-textile substrates. Plastic packaging materials can be made more hygienic. Water storage systems made out of plastics can control bacterial growth thereby improving the quality of water and preventing bacterial and algal growth. Cosmetics can be preserved and their antimicrobial properties can be enhanced. Shoes and leather articles can be made odour free and safe to touch using N9 Pure Silver.
Mal-odour arising from industrial processes can be controlled effectively using this technology. Disinfectant cleaners, personal care products, sanitizers can be enhanced with the disinfectant properties associated with N9 Pure Silver. Healthcare and hospitality industries greatly benefit from such applications as they improve safety levels for people using their facilities. Medical instruments can be made cleaner between cleanings.
Compare N9 Pure Silver with similar odour neutralising technologies.
Silver based products of our competitors are predominantly silver salts and therefore leaching in nature. Not only do they require a higher amount of silver to deliver the required results, they also leach extensively during washing, affecting the environment and aquatic life.
N9 Pure Silver is highly effective and provides long-lasting freshness: 30 + washes
• Tested against a wide range of bacteria following internationally recognised test protocols
• Compatible with multiple substrates: cotton, synthetics and blends
N9 Pure Silver is compatible with the existing set-up at a mail — no special equipment is required. Its non-ionic nature ensures that it is very stable at the time of application. It can even be applied in combination with other finishes, saving costs and valuable resources such as manpower, water and energy.
• N9 Pure Silver can be applied in classical textile finishing processes — through padding, spray, coating and exhaust
• No effect on standard process conditions
• Can be applied in combination with other textile finishes
• Compatible with other technologies to deliver unmatched sensory benefits including ultimate freshness
• Stable in application conditions
• Negligible yellowing of whites
N9 Pure Silver is extremely safe for humans:
• Safe on skin
• Does not leach as it is strongly bound
• Gently defensive
• OEKO-TEX listed
Gentle on the environment:
Non-leaching chemistry (It remains intact on the treated textile and works to protect it from bacteria and other microbes this means that there is minimal loss of silver into the environment or onto the skin.) Minimal silver loading Low release through wash Zero VOC
Acceptance of the technology among textile manufacturers.
The Indian textile industry has responded very well — the market is rapidly evolving to understand the benefits offered by garments that promote hygiene and freshness. An antimicrobial finish is among the most desired of functional finishes based on our understanding of the Indian and global markets, alike. This technology we believe has immense potential across the globe.
Future applications (except textile) for the technology.
Plastics: N9 Plastix is used for plastics such as LDPE, PP, HDPE, PES and PVC. They can be incorporated either directly or during the masterbatch stage for applications ranging from food packaging to water tanks. Plastics are prone to the development of bacteria and algae, which causes odour, degradation, discoloration and staining. This leads to cross-contamination. With the advantage of Silver, N9 Plastix additive provides malodour- control and long-lasting freshness, making it a must-have for all plastic articles.
Personal Care: N9 Claro CT is a colourless product that can be added to a variety of personal care and cosmetic formulations for skin care, hair care, body care and home care applications. N9 Claro CT is a silver ion-based antimicrobial technology that can be incorporated into cosmetics and personal care products as a preservative. It is a highly effective product of natural origin, making it completely safe. It is recommended for use in deodorants, anti-perspirants, hand creams, anti-acne face washes, hand washes, foot creams, body lotions, body washes, and shampoos as a safe alternative to carcinogenic preservatives like Triclosan.
Focus on other technologies.
Coolit is a sustainable cooling technology that responds dynamically to body temperature and perspiration keeping people cool even when on the move. For cotton clothes, Coolit facilitates an endothermic reaction that absorbs body heat, generating a cooling effect of up to 30C when in contact with sweat and moisture leaving the wearer feeling cool and comfortable.
NeuDri was developed as a dynamic drying technology that rapidly wicks perspiration from the skin and transfers moisture to the fabric’s surface, leaving the wearer dry, comfortable, cool and confident. In addition to evaporation, NeuDri has excellent soil release, softening, and anti-static properties that ensure that sportswear is not only comfortable but also supple and functional.
Soladel uses the power of the sunlight to peel off any kind of organic dirt on textiles, easing the washing process, and preventing one’s favourite clothes from getting ruined. This textile treatment acts in a manner similar to photosynthesis, effectively breaking down organic dirt molecules and releasing them from the surface of the fabric.
These technologies are completely safe for garments and the environment; the quality of the fabric is not altered in any way, and washing them becomes easy. Resil Chemicals has spent a lot of time and effort into the research and development of these innovative and intelligent fabric technology products, and extensive testing has proven them to highly effective. These top-notch products will define the future of textile finishing in India and across the world.
Commercial collaborations and go-to- market strategy.
Today we have more than 75 brands in India alone that have already adopted this technology on their apparel and have used the N9 Pure Silver logo as an ingredient brand within their articles to communicate the power of Silver to the end consumer. This communication programme (mainly through the use of hang tags) helps brands and consumers to understand the benefits of Silver.
The brand is synonymous with freshness, hygiene and protection and has been accepted and used by renowned global manufacturers as an ingredient brand in their products to communicate the use of a premium, safe and novel Silver technology, thereby acting as a value-added differentiator.
Future growth and strategy plans.
We are engaging actively with brands to provide them with extensive technical and marketing support in order to take this finish forward through their products. We also partner with brands to market the concept further to the end user so it is well understood.
We collaborate with prominent mills in their offerings to brands on various substrates and application segments. This goes a long way to ensuring that N9 Pure Silver’s concept of hygiene and freshness is made available across a multitude of product segments. We also help deliver product combinations with other functional finishes such as moisture management, water repellency etc to provide added value to brands and their end consumers.