In our other life, Kellie is a co-owner of a family-owned machine shop, HTI. Kellie is my boss, and my job is to design, make, market, and sell new parts. Also, we are really good friends, and we love to tackle new projects. One segment of her business has been slow due to market changes and the COVID-19 pandemic. So, we have been looking to make something new to keep our guys working.
One random day, Kellie received an email from our metal foundry showing us their EPA-registered antimicrobial copper alloy. With the pandemic and shutdowns just starting, we liked the idea of making something antimicrobial. The big question was, what do we make? We thought the rest of the process would be quick and easy. Well, we were wrong!
Paperwork and Regulations
Anything that is labeled antimicrobial is regulated by the EPA, under U.S. Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). To make antimicrobial claims and to use EPA-registered materials, we had to register with the EPA, adhere to their marketing, and reporting standards. The marketing was a big concern for us, as violations could result in fines. In short, we can only use data and talking points that have been tested and submitted to the EPA on the antimicrobial coppers label. We can't infer that the properties will kill a virus that the EPA hasn't tested like COVID-19. There are some studies that may indicate it's possibility, but until the copper is tested in accordance with the EPA's good laboratory practices protocols.
Our First Product Launch
Kellie's grandfather used to hand-make wood pens from a wood lathe and gave them out as gifts. Kellie found some of these pens in her house while cleaning, and they gave her the inspiration to create a CNC pen! We looked into it all for a few weeks and then decided to pull the trigger and jump into the game. We chose our first product to be a bolt-action design because we could manufacture the whole pen body in-house with the current equipment that we already own. Using our CNC mills and lathes, we have a 100% machined a pen out of solid bar stock; EVEN THE CLIP!
Our core goals are to make everyday tools that kill harmful bacteria that are commonly not cleaned or in high-traffic areas. Build high-quality items in the USA with US materials. Use Eco-friendly materials that encourage responsible manufacturing and reduce our dependency on plastic products.
We know many healthcare workers, law enforcement professionals, and teachers in high-risk settings. They often have to touch many surfaces that have just been handled by many different people. When speaking with them, their biggest fear is getting sick and/or passing it to their families. Now, they have to decontaminate their cloths and EDC items every night before entering their home. Our antimicrobial products are a start to providing self-sanitizing tools to help kill harmful bacteria that ensures the surface is clean in-between routeing cleaning.
With the pandemic shutdowns disrupting overseas supply chains, we have seen many businesses suffer because of outsourcing. We need to build as much as we can in the US, to grow our economy and reduce running out of items because of supply chain issues with other countries.
We only have one planet. We need to use our resources responsibly and recycle as much as possible. Plastic is being overused and is causing many pollutant issues. Our copper is manufactured with recycled materials, and we recycle all the scraps produced by the machines. Our packaging is made from 100% recycled paper products. Re-usable pens are our start to creating everyday tools that reduce the amount of unneeded waste and our plastic dependency.
Our high-quality, Eco-friendly, antimicrobial products are self-sanitizing and continuously kill more than 99.9% of bacteria* left behind by dirty hands on all touchpoint surfaces even after repeated contamination. We have many more antimicrobial copper products in the pipeline. Our products made with antimicrobial copper will lead the way to working smarter, not harder.
*Laboratory testing shows that, when cleaned regularly, CuVerro surfaces kill greater than 99.9% of the following bacteria within 2 hours of exposure: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacter aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli O157:H7, and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis (VRE).