NanoSeptic Self-Cleaning Surfaces Opens Center for Innovation in Smart Materials
NanoTouch Materials, creators of NanoSeptic Self-Cleaning Surfaces, has finished construction of their new facility, the Center for Innovation in Smart Materials. After three years of research and development funded by a $2 million grant, NanoTouch decided to foster development of other types of smart materials that improve people's lives and reduce environmental impact.
"While NanoTouch is focused on continued development of self-cleaning surfaces for healthcare, education, travel and commercial cleaning, we are excited about the prospect of partnering with scientists and innovative companies to expand the role of smart materials in our society," says co-founder Dennis Hackemeyer.
NanoTouch has moved their research, product development and manufacturing operations to the new facility, located in the New London Technology Park in Forest, Virginia. And, in the short amount of time their team has been in the new Center for Innovation in Smart Materials, they have already come up with a new self-cleaning surface, a clear film for touchscreens.
"We had already developed self-cleaning portable mats for travelers and a self-cleaning liner for TSA security bins," says co-founder Mark Sisson. "But the latest news about airport check-in kiosk touchscreens being the dirtiest places in airports drove our team to come up with a solution. These screens, which in one study were shown to be 1,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat, can now become continuously self-cleaning with the addition of our new clear film."
Smart materials can positively disrupt various industries in terms of improving health and reducing environmental impact and energy usage. NanoSeptic self-cleaning skins for high traffic touch points, like door handles, are already disrupting the commercial cleaning and facility management industries. Not only do they create cleaner places for people to touch, but their visibility creates a "Halo" effect. People assume the rest of the facility is cleaner when they see these surfaces. Commercial cleaners even view the installation and maintenance of these surfaces as a new value-added service which brings a much-needed boost to the perceived value of their services.
"The interesting thing about this new service model is that consumers who had seen NanoSeptic surfaces in one facility were then asking their school system, doctor's office, and employer to install these surfaces because it made them feel more confident about the cleanliness of these facilities," says Hackemeyer. "Fortunately, the cleaning companies and in-house janitorial teams cleaning these facilities were in a perfect position to install and maintain these products."
Cleaning companies and in-house janitorial departments are under increasing pressure from reduced budgets and outsourcing due to a lack of perceived value since the service is largely invisible. This leads to businesses squeezing cleaning budgets as a way to cut costs. Smart materials like self-cleaning surfaces provide a new way for these cleaners to provide value, increasing revenue and margins.
And industries like healthcare are a natural fit. Physicians and dentists benefit from these visibly cleaner surfaces through improved patient experience.
"Our patients love the NanoSeptic touch points and other self-cleaning products in our facilities," says Lauren Bennett, Director of Operations with Central Virginia Family Physicians.
Tightening margins in commercial real estate have Facility Management companies and property owners looking for new ways to add value to their properties. The visibility of these surfaces results in a feeling of safety and security that has real business value, positively impacting rental rates.
"One of the issues which we were sensitive to in this industry was the skill set of employees who provided the actual cleaning services," says Mark Sisson, VP of Product Development. "We designed these skins to be peel-and-stick for easy installation. We also made sure our products could hold up to regular cleaning cycles as well as cleaning chemicals and disinfectants, so cleaning staff can continue their normal routine with no special training."
With the positive impact they have already seen, NanoTouch is enthusiastic about new lines of revolutionary products that will be developed in the new Center for Innovation in Smart Materials, such as self-cleaning elevator buttons due out before the end of 2018.
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