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FEATURE SWITCHES, DISPLAYS & UIS COVID-19 safe coating technology


Mike Logan, senior product manager at Anders. explains how self-sanitising touchscreens could help organisations resume commercial activities and mitigate virus transmission


K


eeping things clean, in areas used by customers, has never been more


important for businesses. COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses and bacteria can remain active and pose a transmission risk if allowed to remain on surfaces that customers frequently touch. Suitable cleaning protocols need to be in place to qualify for schemes like the UK’s “Good to Go” mark, which aims to help restore customer confidence during COVID times. On the other hand, regularly sanitising


high-traffic areas is labour intensive and requires almost constant attention. Supermarket self-service checkouts are just one example, and cleaning can be even more difficult to maintain at places like ATM cash dispensers, ticketing machines in transport hubs, and door- entry points to office buildings. In many of these contexts, customers


are making payments or providing authentication credentials via touchscreen. Significant labour could be saved, and customer safety improved, if these screens could sanitise themselves. Anti-microbial glass now makes it


possible. A special antimicrobial and antiviral surface treatment, already successful in applications such as interior glass partitions and ceramic products such as sanitary ware and wall and floor tiles, can now be used to bring anti- bacterial and anti-viral properties to touchscreen applications. The coating is “baked into” the glass and is designed to last the life of the touchscreen. No specific design-in knowledge or additional engineering, such as building- in a dedicated power source, are required. The protection is “always on” and does not impair touch functionality or affect other surface treatments such as anti- reflective coating. Anders has partnered with Kastsus, a


developer of surface treatments and a winner of multiple innovation awards in the life sciences and healthcare sectors, to bring this important new safety feature to touchscreen projects. Kastus antimicrobial and antiviral coating can now be applied in new touchscreen coverglass products or deployed as a screen protector that can be easily retrofitted in an existing application to provide extra safety.


30 NOVEMBER 2020 | ELECTRONICS / ELECTRONICS


leading global test laboratory has confirmed its effectiveness against human Coronavirus on coated surfaces. First, the photocatalytic material is


applied to the glass as a liquid coating using an airless spray system or roller. Sintering then occurs, at 6-700°C. Unlike traditional technology, the formula is designed to retain its photocatalytic properties up to the high temperatures used in sintering. The resulting coating is extremely thin, durable and clear, with over 99% transmittance. It is also hydrophilic, making the surface easy to wipe clean for a smart appearance. For touchscreen applications, the


Figure 1:


Anders has partnered with Kastsus to bring this important new safety feature to touchscreens


PHOTOCATALYTIC TECHNOLOGY The photocatalytic coating, as described in the illustration below, is activated by visible light, whether indoors or outside. When activated, the coating reacts with moisture in the air to produce a continuous cloud of reactive oxygen species that attack the DNA of microbes such as viruses and bacteria present on the surface of the glass. This action works continuously, requiring no special power source or light source such as ultraviolet, and no recoating or replenishment is needed for the life of the application. The coating formula also contains a patented ingredient that blocks bacteria growth in the dark to maintain protection even when no light is present. The antimicrobial and antiviral coating


Figure 2:


The operating principle behind Kastus always-on coating (courtesy of Kastus)


has previously been proven to block up to 99.99 per cent of bacteria and fungi, a host of common viruses including Influenza A and Hepatitis A, and antibiotic-resistant superbugs such as MRSA and E. coli. Most recently, independent testing conducted by a


antimicrobial and antiviral glass is available as a screen protector that can be easily added to new or existing designs. These are made from super-thin tempered glass in sizes from 4” to 34” diagonal. The protector is adhered to the underlying screen, and so permits antimicrobial and antiviral protection to be conveniently retrofitted in applications such as touchscreen kiosks and self-service terminals. Alternatively, treated coverglass is


available in various thicknesses from 1.1mm to 5mm or more if needed. The coating has no effect on touch sensitivity or the performance of coatings such as anti-reflection and anti-glare. The prospects for self-sanitising


touchscreens are exciting, offering valuable extra safety for a relatively small impact on the bill of materials and minimal additional engineering effort. Virus-safety is set to become a vital aspect of user-interface design, just as important to the user experience as traditional criteria like readability, clarity, touch response time, and reliability.


Anders www.andersdx.com


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