Nonwovens are replacing fabrics in many medical applications for wound care dressings. What are the advantages?

Popular in medical applications for their sterilization, anti-microbial, and stretchable properties, nonwovens are often used in surgical gowns and masks, wound care dressings, and surgical drapes. They can be made of natural materials like cotton, or man-made materials such as polyester, polypropylene, polyimide, rayon, and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).

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  • Craig McClenachan

    Craig McClenachan

    Vice President Fabrication and Assembly Business Unit FABRICO To read Craig's opening, click here
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    1. At Fabrico, we like synthetic nonwovens for wound dressings because they are lint-free and usually more cost effective than natural materials. They are also easy to sterilize, can be used with a range of different processes, like rotary die-cutting, and can be designed to be fluid absorbent or repellent. Chemical enhancement can improve properties for moisture transport, flame retardance, and abrasion resistance.

  • Tesfaye Leta

    Tesfaye Leta

    Product Development Engineer FABRICO To read Tesfaye's opening, click here
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    1. I like nonwovens for wound care dressings because special coatings and/or films can be added to the nonwovens. For example, an anti-microbial wound dressing can be manufactured by adding a bi-layer of silver-coated, high-density polyethylene mesh on a rayon adsorptive polyester core to include anti-microbial properties in the dressing.

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7 Responses Below

  1. Can nonwovens be made in any color other than white?

    by Mark on August 7, 2012 at: 11:37 am
    • Most medical and wound care applications require white, however we can consider other colors when necessary. Other colors are often available, with a dark grey being the most common after white. We can also print onto the non-woven to achieve the desired color. We need to make sure that we understand the application in order to verify that we are using the correct inks and printing methods, but we can customize the non-wovens to meet the needs of most customers.

      by Craig McClenachan on August 8, 2012 at: 2:52 pm
    • Nonwoven fabrics are available on the market in different colors, some common colors include baby blue and black. However, nonwoven also can be coated and printed in any color needed.

      by Tesfaye Leta on August 9, 2012 at: 9:07 am
  2. I’m producing a wound care product using a nonwoven and need to select an adhesive that will stick the dressing to skin but can be fairly easily removed . Any suggestions?

    by Frank M on August 7, 2012 at: 11:30 am
    • There is a group of double-coated medical tapes that can be for skin contact applications.
      Depending upon the porposity of the nonwoven adhesives such as 3M-1522 and 3M-1509 can be used for general application or as a starting point for skin release studies. Most medical tapes and adhesive are designed for properties such as hypoallergens, skin contact, fluid resistance, sterilization requirements, and so on. A guide may be available from the manufacturer to help you narrow down to fewer selections.
      Of course, a series of studies need to be conducted if a product is designed for a specific demographic group such as for infants and folks with sensitive skin as there may be separate release characteristics among similar adhesives.
      Adhesives can also be designed and formulated for custom applications and targeting a specific type of skin properties.

      by tesfaye leta on August 20, 2012 at: 4:10 pm
  3. Are there any converting issues that need to be considered when die-cutting a nonwoven?

    by Alice on August 7, 2012 at: 11:25 am
    • Most nonwoven fabric materials shear and crushcut very well under a controlled process. However, wrinkling and stretching are the common failure modes in processing nonwovens. Extra care is needed when diecutting nonwovens as they have no stiffness in any direction and dimensional stability. Furthermore, converting systems rely on tension to control and to hold webs in position which is the main cause of elongation of nonwovens and the challenge for keeping any level of diecutting dimensional accuracy. In general, dimensional variability is much higher in diecuting and converting nonwoven than any other flexible materials, such as films.
      If dimensional accuracy is critical when diecutting, lamainating the nonwoven with a substrate, such as a liner, to modifying in-process stiffness and elasticity is a common consideration.

      by Tesfaye Leta on September 6, 2012 at: 11:02 am