AutoProtect is an Interreg V A crossborder projects between Germany and The Netherlands, funded by the EU. In this cooperation between research institutes and companies, anti-bacterial coatings are developed that can be regenerated by multi stimuli.
To provide you information on topics such as new developments, research results, future challenges, use cases and so on, we organize free webinars with different themes.  Participation in one single webinar is possible, but off course we welcome you to all!


Below an overview of planned webinars in a series of free online events, with theme and additional information about the speakers, topics, date and time. When you would like to participate, please click the register button or banner to be forwarded to our registration site. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. Note: the webinars will be held in English.

WEBINAR#4 - Innovative Solutions for Hygiene and Cleanliness

Disinfection is usually achieved using chemical disinfectants like e.g. alcohols, quaternary ammonium compounds, aldehydes or heat treatment, which impairs the properties of products and can result in damage or destruction of the products.

Atmospheric pressure plasma procedures allow the application of chemically reactive gas constituents, which can be used for the inactivation of microorganisms under gentle conditions. Plasma-based disinfection processes excel by fast process times and an effective range against a broad range of microorganisms.

Another way to provide hygiene on a permanent level is the use of newly developed Multi-Stimulus-System (MSS)-coatings. These coatings are effective against a broad range of pathogenic microorganisms and provide a decomposition of various soil residues on surfaces too. The properties of such new MSS-coatings are discussed in detail.

If surfaces are soiled heavily by organic or inorganic residues the vast majority of conventional chemical or chemo-thermal disinfection procedures fail but also the efficacy of MSS-coatings drops off. The previous removal of coarse soilings is a prerequisite before disinfection and a large variety of cleaner products is available. But with respect to specific surface / object properties only certain products can be used and selection of suitable cleaner products is still a challenge.

The webinar will last round about 2 h, including a Q & A session. If you have a specific issue or question, please send your question to Dr. Markus Wehrl, wfk (m.wehrl@wfk.de) prior to the webinar so we can include it in the program.




Theme: Innovative Solutions for Hygiene and Cleanliness
Date/time: 23rd of September 2021, 2 PM - 4 PM CEST (12 PM UTC)

Plasma-based disinfection
Prof. Thomas Schmitt-John, Plasmatreat GmbH - Steinhagen (Germany)
Deep into the Coating: Novel features of MSS-Coatings
Dr. Joachim Meeßen, Dr. Markus Wehrl, wfk - Krefeld (Germany)
Cleaning and Disinfection – Marriage for life
Guus Ploeger, Militex - IJmuiden (Netherlands)


Plasma-based disinfection

The technical generation and application of plasma, ionized gas, under atmospheric pressure has reached routine surface treatment in many industrial production processes. However, plasma is not restricted to surface treatment, it has an antibacterial effect and thus, can be used for the disinfection of rooms and surfaces and has been introduced in the medical treatment of wounds. Especially the use of dielectric barrier discharge plasma in combination with water vapor creates a highly effective gas (plasma vapor) that rapidly inactivates bacteria and virus and thus is capable for sterilization of a wide variety of materials, even highly temperature sensitive materials. When water is treated with plasma plasma-activated water or simply plasma water is generated, which has a strong antibacterial effect. Plasma water is easy to produce, can be stored and can be used for washing and rinsing and can be sprayed or vaporized. Plasmatreat develops technical solutions for the production and application of plasma vapor and plasma water for cleaning and disinfection purpose with minimal running costs.   

Deep into the Coating: Novel features of MSS-Coatings

Within INTERREG project AutoProtect amongst other things Multi-Stimulus-System (MSS) coatings have been developed. MSS coatings surpass other conventional coatings systems in that way, that the catalytic activity can be excited by various stimuli, resulting in a higher activity over time under practical application conditions. MSS coatings show a high antimicrobial activity due to excessive generation of radicals. Performance data of the developed coatings against practice relevant human pathogenic bacteria and test viruses will be presented together with new experimental results on investigations on the decomposition of various organic soilings deposited on the coatings. The data demonstrate that MSS coatings are a not only useful in providing permanently hygienic surface properties, but also advantageous in keeping a surface free of contaminations that might interfere with products and processes in areas with exceptionally high requirements on cleanliness and purity.


 About prof. Dr. Thomas Schmitt-John

Thomas Schmitt-John studied biology from 1982 to 1987 in Frankfurt am Main, received his doctorate in 1992 at the Institute of Organic Chemistry (Goethe University, Frankfurt) and worked as post-doc at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (GSF) from 1992 to 1995.

Between 1995 to 2005, Dr. Schmitt-John worked as research group leader in the field of biomedical basic research at the University of Bielefeld.

In 2005, Dr. Schmitt-John was appointed associate professor at the Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics at Aarhus University (Denmark), where he headed the Neurogenetics Working Group. Dr. Schmitt-John returned to Germany and joined Plasmatreat GmbH in 2016, leading the Plasma Life Science section. 


 About Dr. Joachim Meeßen & Dr. Markus Wehrl

Dr. Joachim Meeßen, born 1978, studied biology at the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, Germany. In 2006 he started his PhD research in the fields of lichenology and microbiology and received his PhD degree in biology from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in 2011. Afterwards he changed his subject of research and worked on several post-doc projects in the fields of
extremotolerant organisms, symbiotic associations and astrobiology, often in collaboration with national and international science as well as space agencies.

Since Oktober 2016 he has been working on several research projects as scientist and project manager at the department of hygiene and microbiology at the wfk - Cleaning Technology Institute. Among other projects, he is also involved in several work packages of the AutoProtect project."

Dr. Markus Wehrl is head of the department Hygiene and Microbiology at wfk and is engaged in various research projects aiming better approaches for cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation procedures. Scope of the research work is the development of new procedures that allow disinfection or sterilisation of fragile objects/products, especially in the field of medical devices. Another field of interest is the development of fast methods to assess the success of cleaning, disinfection or sterilisation or to address the hygiene quality of objects, fluids or gases.

Beside his role at wfk, Dr. Wehrl is also head of the section „Cleaning, Disinfection, Sterilisation“ of the DGKH e.V. and amongst others coordinator of 2 guidelines for DGKH e.V. and active in several working groups engaged in the field of medical device reprocessing.


About Guus Ploeger

Guus Ploeger is Commercial Director of Militex. This Dutch SME is founded in 1948  and focusses on development, application and sales of innovative cleaners.




Theme: Innovative Solutions for Hygiene and Cleanliness
Date/time: 18th of November 2021, 2 PM - 4 PM CET (1 PM UTC)

How clean is clean and can we achieve total cleanliness
Cees van Duijn, Omneo Systems B.V. (The Netherlands)
Test methods for antimicrobial surfaces 
wfk – Cleaning Technology Institute e.V. (Germany)
Quantitative Detection of Residuals on Surfaces
Ludger Schnieder, SMP GmbH (Germany)



Characterization and validation of cleanliness

The degree of cleanliness required for a product or a process is highly variable. For a wide variety of applications, the acceptance criteria “free of visual detectable residues/soil” is sufficient. For other technically or hygienically demanding applications, more challenging acceptance criteria are required. The detection of unwanted particle deposition plays an important role for numerous applications. For other applications, residues of film-forming contaminations must be detected. Requirements in e.g. high-tech semiconductor manufacturing, photonics and in the field of medical devices manufacturing may necessitate even the reliable detection of mono- or oligo-molecular depositions. Beside the quantitative determination of unwanted contaminations, the qualitative identification of the chemical nature of the contamination may be important, to elucidate where contaminations result of in a complex process. In the case of functionalized surfaces, even other newly developed test methods might be required to monitor the quality and performance of such surfaces.

Quantitative Detection of Residuals on Surfaces

The aim of this presentation to explain the basics of quantitative detection of film like chemical residues on surfaces using vacuum induced desorption-analysis measurements and to demonstrate the potential of this method.

The basic idea of evaluation of the results of continuous measurement of mass spectra during the evacuation in a high-vacuum system  will be explained. The idea of comparing unknown mass spectra to “fingerprints” of well-known substances, such as production aids or residuals of cleaning detergents, adhesives or packaging materials  will be introduced and demonstrated on examples. The combination of this kind of measurements covering the complete surface of a sample with others methods will be discussed.



About Ludger Schnieder

- Born in 1960
- Ph.D. and Habilitation in physics with specialization in atmospheric photochemistry and molecular reaction dynamics
- 10 years of research in technologies for minimally invasive surgery and diagnostics and experience in technology transfer at the university hospital in Tuebingen
- Co-founder of SMP GmbH in 2000
- Since 2009 CEO of SMP GmbH with focus on technical aspects, research & development and quality management




Theme: Antimicrobial coatings - novel technical approaches
Date/time: 16th of June 2021, 2 PM - 4 PM CEST (12 PM UTC)

Dynamic coatings
Prof. Dr. Albert Schenning - Technical University Eindhoven (TUe) - Eindhoven (Netherlands)
Taking dynamic coatings to the next level; challenges and obstacles
Kathleen Stout, PhD. - Zuyd Hogeschool & Cyriel Mentink, PhD. - CHILL - Geleen (Netherlands)
MSS-Coatings: Applications and Features
Robert Beckers - VeroMetal Holding B.V. - Landgraaf (Netherlands)


Webinar ended



Surfaces with antimicrobial properties are based on coatings with special metal- or metal oxide-layers or on immobilised biocides. The antimicrobial efficacy of such surfaces depends on the release of the active substances and can be exhausted (leach off) depending on the duration of use and conditions of use. New promising approaches from research are based on photodynamically switchable surface coatings that can change their topology in distinct microscale areas and thereby prevent the adhesion of microorganisms or, for example, also of dirt. Due to the changes in the surface topology, which can in principle be switched over an infinite number of cycles, the properties of such novel coating systems are available in unlimited quantities. In parallel, surface coatings using catalytically active Multi-Stimulus Systems also have a principally unlimited and inexhaustible effectiveness that is regenerated by each excitation cycle, which predisposes these coating systems to demanding applications.

About Prof. Dr. Albert Schenning


Albert Schenning studied chemistry at Radboud University Nijmegen, where he obtained his master's degree in 1992 and his doctorate in 1996. His PhD thesis on supramolecular architectures based on porphyrin and receptor molecules was supervised by Dr. Martin Feiters and Prof. Roeland Nolte. Between June and December 1996, Schenning was a post-doctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Bert Meijer at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), working on dendrimers. In 1997, he investigated pi-conjugated oligomers based on triacetylenes with Prof. François Diederich at the ETH in Zurich. From 1998 until 2003, Schenning was a fellow of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) at the TU/e, active in the field of supramolecular organization of pi-conjugated systems. He was appointed as full professor in 2014, and he currently heads the laboratory of Stimuli-responsive Functional materials and Devices at TU/e.

About Kathleen Stout, PhD. & Cyriel Mentink, PhD.



Kathleen Stout studied Chemistry at the Radboud University Nijmegen (2006-2013). Her master thesis, carried out on the department Molecular Materials under supervision of Hans Elemans and Alan Rowan, was titled: Stereo- and Substrate-Selectivity of Catalytic Manganese Porphyrin Trimers. After obtaining her master degree (cum laude), she continued in the groups of Prof. Dr. Alan Rowan (Molecular Materials) and of Prof. Dr. Roeland Nolte (Molecular Nanotechnology) with her PhD. She obtained her PhD in 2019 after defending her thesis titled: synthesis, binding and threading properties of double porphyrin cage compounds. From May 2018 on, she is working as a teacher/researcher at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences (Heerlen, the Netherlands).

Cyriel Mentink studied Chemical Engineering at Eindhoven University and obtained his PhD on advanced glycation end products in 2003 at the University of Maastricht after which he fulfilled the role of program manager at Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. Currently, he is the director of educational affairs at Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs. Here collaboration between innovation, business and education meet to find innovative solutions which benefits all involved partners.

About Robert Beckers







Theme: Regulatory requirements for antimicrobial surfaces
Date/time: 20th of May 2021, 2 PM - 4 PM CEST (12 PM UTC)

Coatings with antimicrobial activity provide new approaches to improve the hygienic status of surfaces on a long-term or on a permanent level. By inactivation of bacterial, fungal or viral pathogens they contribute to the hygiene of products at manufacturing sites or directly to human, animal or plant health and wellbeing. Due to the property to compromise survival or infectiousness of pathogens these coatings i.e. the contained biocidal agents underlay the requirements of the European Biocide Regulation (EU) No 528/2012 when the coatings are sold and made available on the market.


Within AutoProtect-Webinar #2 an overview about regulatory requirements is given and discussed. A sol-gel coating with intricate mechanism under the implementation of classical biocidal agents versatile for a broad range of applications, which is already on the market, is presented. In addition, a new class of plasma-generated surfaces coatings with catalytic activity against various pathogens as well as organic soilings is introduced.

Regulatory requirements for antimicrobial surfaces
Pete Askew - Industrial Microbiological Services Ltd. (IMSL) (United Kingdom)

A sol-gel-Coating for permanently antimicrobial surfaces
Dr. Hans-Joachim Weintz - Netwerk Oberfläche NRW (Germany)

Plasma-based antimicrobial coatings
Dr. Ben Dhia Salem - Plasmatreat GmbH. (Germany)





Webinar ended



Dr. Hans-Joachim Weintz (NRWO!)


This presentation describes the genesis of a highly resistant thin film coating with permanent anti microbial activity, derived from the joined Interreg funded research project "Sustainable Surface and Membranes (S2M)" of Netzwerk Oberfläche NRW e.V. from 2016 to 2018.
Basic idea was to include the biocidal function into the polymer as an intrinsic property. 2 different ways were pursued in the project. One of them leading to the subject of this presentation combined the benefits of a sol-gel hybrid thin film coating with the intelligence and findings of the development of medical devices like stents leading to bio-repulsive coating surfaces which can be used as base for anti-adhesive marine coatings as well as antibacterial and antiviral coatings – a highly actual topic!


Peter D Askew (IMSL)


Biocidal active substances are used to treat a wide range of materials and articles both to protect them from biodeterioration in use, extend their service life and to introduce new functions, especially hygienic ones.  Many countries regulate and license the use of biocides and impose restrictions on their applications to protect against unintended effects arising from their use.  While such regulation will have little direct impact on most end-users of biocides, their use to add new functionality to articles does.  This presentation will provide an overview of this impact and what this means to those developing articles intended to deliver hygienic benefits through their use.


Dr. Dhia Ben Salem (Plasmatreat)


Within Webinar No. 2, an introduction of plasma assisted modifications of surfaces and plasma thin film deposition will be presented as potential strategies to provide antibacterial and/or antifouling properties to different substrates such as glass, metals or even polymers. Different combinations of coatings have been considered in order to be as efficient as possible overtime by providing inner catalytic properties to the plasma deposited layer that should enable the antimicrobial properties to be regenerated using external stimuli such as thermal energy, mechanical energy or light radiation energy.In this session, Plasmatreat will present the latest results obtained within AutoProtect project and focused on the deposition of Anti-microbial coatings using atmospheric pressure plasma processes.

About Pete Askew

Peter Askew has been working as a microbiologist since 1977.  For the first 2 years he worked in the food industry before joining the microbial ecotoxicology unit of ICI’s agrochemicals business.  In 1988 he joined ICI’s surface coatings division as company microbiologist and became more focused on the microbiolgy of materials and industrial processes both for this and other divisions of ICI.  In 1996 he left ICI to form IMSL to pursue this further as an independent commercial enterprise.
IMSL is a specialised microbiological testing and consultancy service based in laboratories and offices near Fleet in the UK.  Work is confined to materials and industrial systems (eg coatings, adhesives, plastics, textiles, spin finishes, paper and disinfectants).  No standard food and water testing is undertaken.  IMSL is highly active in the development of testing methodologies for the determination of the performance of treated articles especially with regards to supporting claims made for them at a regulatory level.
Peter is a member of all of the major microbiological societies and is Vice President of the International Biodeterioration Research Group and is the chairman of its Treated Articles work group.  He is a member of a number of national and international standards committees related to antimicrobial performance as well as several industry think tanks.  As well as qualifications in microbiology, he is an Associate of the Oil and Colour Chemists Association and is the consultant to the OECD on treated articles.


About Dr. Hans-Joachim Weintz 


Born in 1957; Study of chemistry at the Univ. Kaiserslautern; Diploma and doctorate at the MPI für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr; Post-Doc stay as a Humboldt Fellow in the working group of Prof. Noyori, Univ. Nagoya, Japan (Noble Price winner in 2001).
Joined BASF AG with positions: Central Polymer Research, Assistant to the Executive Board, Head of R&D Center Coatings South America, Head of Development Industrial Coatings Technologies, BASF Coatings EU; after 14 years change to a large medium-sized company in the coating industry, where he was director of R&D and innovation management for almost 20 years. Self-employed since 2020. At the same time, he was a founding member of the Netzwerk Oberfläche NRW (today chairman) and co-founder of the company itCoating GmbH.

About Dr. Dhia Ben Salem


Dhia Ben Salem, is a PhD in Plasma chemistry (Sorbonne University + Chemical engineering school in Paris, France). With more than five years of experience as research team leader at Plasmatreat, he has given great contribution to plasma thin film deposition and characterization of functional coatings. His most recent research work focused on adhesion promotion, anti-corrosion and superhydrophilic plasma deposited coatings for industrial applications. Another field of interest is focus on the development of innovative coatings that could provide new properties to the surface such as hydrophobic, photocatalytic or antibacterial properties that are considered most promising as they do not alter the bulk integrity and the mechanical properties of the material.    




Theme: Impact of surface hygiene on transmissions of infections
Date/time: 22nd of April 2021, 2 PM - 4 PM CEST (12 PM UTC)

Impact of surface hygiene on transmission of infections 
Prof. Dr. Walter Popp, DGKH e.V., HyKoMed GmbH (DE)

Classical approaches to provide hygiene of surfaces
Dr. Jürgen Gebel, VAH e.V., DGKH e.V., IHPH, Uni Bonn (DE)

Project AutoProtect: Multi-Stimulus-System Coatings – solving many problems with one coating
Dr. Markus Wehrl, DGKH e.V, wfk – Cleaning Techn. Inst. e.V., (DE)



Webinar ended



Pathogens deposited on surfaces present a potential infection risk as these pathogens can be transferred to susceptible persons by contact with hands, fabrics or objects and subsequently cause infections. Such infections that occur in health care facilities are well known as dreaded „hospital acquired infections“, harming vulnerable patients.

Within Webinar No. 1 the impact of surface hygiene on the prevention of infections in health care institution amongst others is discussed. Removal, or better inactivation of pathogens on surfaces can be provided by disinfection procedures. Therefore a large panel of different disinfectants for various purposes is available, however disinfectants used in health care facilities have to comply to highest requirements in effectiveness and reliability. But beside health care facilities with their special emphasis on infection risks also in technical areas with low or negligible infection risks the load with microorganisms or soilings is often unwanted and can compromise the product quality due to failure, malfunction or corrosion effects. New approaches to provide a better long-term hygiene and cleanliness of surfaces based on catalytically active surfaces coatings are discussed. 

About Prof. Dr. Walter Popp


Prof. Walter Popp earned his medical degree at the RWTH Aachen in 1981 and moved over for 10 years to the University Hospital Essen. He did his habilitation in occupational medicine on carcinogenic substances and became member in the MAK commission and the Senate commission for testing hazardous substances of the DFG for approx. 10 years. He became a medical specialist in occupational medicine, hygiene and medical quality management. Between 1999 and 2015 he was hospital hygienist at the University Hospital Essen. Since September 2015 he is medical director of HyKoMed GmbH, Lünen / Dortmund (Eberhard Laboratory). From 2006 to 2014 he was member of the board of the International Federation of Infection Control (IFIC). Since 2006 up to now he is member of the board of the German Society for Hospital Hygiene (DGKH e.V.), since 2010 he took over the vice-president position.

About Dr. Jürgen Gebel


Dr. rer. nat. Jürgen Gebel – 58 years - Microbiologist - since 1995 Head of the Department of Disinfectant Testing at the Institute for Hygiene and Public Health of the University Hospitals Bonn under the direction of Prof. Mutters. Management of the Disinfectant Commission in the Association for Applied Hygiene (VAH). Chairman of the DIN NAMed D7 committee. Collaboration in CEN, DIN, VDI, guideline groups of DGKH and OECD in projects of cleaning and disinfection in the medical field. Editor of the journal Hygiene und Medizin at mhp-Verlag Wiesbaden. Co-initiator of the initiative "Hygiene Tips for Kids" - training children on the subject of hygiene.

About Dr. Markus Wehrl


Dr. Wehrl is head of the department Hygiene and Microbiology at wfk and engaged in various research projects aiming better approaches for cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation procedures. Scope of the research work is the development of new procedures that allow disinfection or sterilisation of fragile objects/products, especially in the field of medical devices. Another field of interest is the development of fast methods to assess the success of cleaning, disinfection or sterilisation or to address the hygiene quality of objects, fluids or gases. He is head of the section „Cleaning, Disinfection, Sterilisation“ of the DGKH e.V. and amongst others coordinator of 2 guidelines for DGKH e.V. and active in several working groups engaged in the field of medical device reprocessing.