We recently launched our highly innovative PPG COPPER ARMOR™ antibacterial and antiviral paint. For Brian Osterried, senior portfolio manager at our Cranberry office in the United States, this launch represents a major success for our company and customers. The product is not only able to deliver protection against most viruses and bacteria, it can also do so in just two hours!
Leveraging Nature, Protecting People
PPG Copper Armor paint is an innovative interior coating that uses Corning® Guardiant® copper technology to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on painted surfaces within two hours of exposure and then continuously for up to five years. It also provides a mold- and mildew-resistant coating and excellent durability, all while having zero VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
The active ingredient is the naturally-occurring element, copper, well known for its antimicrobial properties. It helps keep interior surfaces clean from disease-causing agents like Staph, MRSA, E. coli and SARS-CoV-2.
We actually started this project back in 2016 as a commercial project suitable for healthcare and school facilities or any institution wanting to limit the spread of well-known infections. When the pandemic hit and the product proved effective against SARS-CoV-2, we pushed the approvals as much as we could for an accelerated review of our application.
Tested to Perfection to Get EPA Approval
The team at our Harmar lab (a township of Pittsburgh) did incredible work to incorporate the copper-containing material and making it viable in a paint product. As we don't handle bacteria or viruses within our own labs, it then went through extensive external testing in labs equipped to handle dangerous bacteria and viruses to verify that it did indeed work.
We sent thousands of one-inch by one-inch painted squares to the lab where they were exposed to various bacteria and viruses and evaluated for how well they killed them.
Once the product was shown to successfully kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, it was time to put all that test data into a proposal for U.S. Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval. This meant Brian and the team had to go through a challenging and rigorous review process to obtain the agency’s green light.
The team was aided by an external consulting agency experienced in pursuing federal EPA registrations for such products. But as this was the first-ever paint product with anti-viral capabilities being registered in the U.S., many things were new for them as well.
Brian says that the development and registration process of Copper Armor paint was the most challenging and rewarding of his career. The team had a lot of help from their research and development (R&D) friends at our Harmar facility as well as from the product stewardship team.
The thing that makes me most #PPGProud
is the cross-functional collaboration work. We were a really great team all singularly focused on getting things done and getting the Copper Armor
paint across the finish line to its commercial launch.
Brian Focuses On Winning
Brian manages an extensive portfolio of our interior products, mainly serving our pro segments’ new commercial construction and commercial maintenance as well as new home construction and multifamily product lines.
A key part of my role is staying connected to the end-user, making sure that we know what they actually want and need from paint products.
One of the things he enjoys most is getting involved in new product development, like our new Copper Armor paint. Driven by success, he focuses on wins – big and small.
Each day, week, month, year, I try to win – to be successful at something. It could be converting a big customer, saving the company money by reducing complexity or launching a big project.
Being in Our Healthcare Element with Copper
Healthcare facilities and hospitals spend billions every year on treating infections their patients contract at the facility while being treated for something else. Therefore, when Brian and the team launched the Copper Armor paint, they knew they were helping to solve a problem in the healthcare industry.
We've had some of the biggest general contractors and architects in the country ask us how they can get their hands on it and how it works. The response in the market has been very positive.
The next chapter of the project is making the Copper Armor product a commercial success. With eggshell and semi-gloss sheens already on the U.S. market, we will soon start offering a satin sheen. While the initial launch focuses on light colors, the paint can be tinted to the 600+ colors of the PPG paint palette.
I think we'll start to see facilities paying more attention to products like Copper Armor paint that provide continuous and ongoing protection as opposed to relying on cleanings, which is episodic.
Pictured: Brian Osterried (third from right) with his team in PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh