During Covid-19 outbreak, increased requirements of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will boost the consumption of standard plastics such as medical-grade polypropylene, polyethylene, and drive market demand. Other prominent medical-grade plastics include medical-grade PVC and HDPE medical grade. The overall global market for Medical Plastics is expected to reach US$28 billion in 2020.
Many of these plastics are in contact with a patient’s skin. These films can be cool to the touch, then retain heat when worn for a long period of time, causing the patient to sweat and possibly causing sores. Even breathable films can have this effect. The comfort of the patient is one of the most important factors in patient care.
One way to solve this is by adding a textile surface called flocking. Flocking is the process of coating short cut fibers to the surface of a material. Flock fibers are coated on the plastics surface and held there using an adhesive designed for the end application. In many applications ground cotton fibers are used to provide a natural comfort surface. Also, if needed, the fibers can be nylon, polyester, rayon, acrylic or specialty fibers. These fibers are precision cut from a length range from .4mm to 1mm. There is no lamination process.
Flock fibers can be applied all over the surface or in a pattern or texture. By directly flocking on a film you can reduce the weight when compared to the lamination of a fabric. Lamination includes the weight of the fabric, plus the bonding adhesive weight. The product is engineered to meet your end needs and specifications. Properties such as antimicrobial, anti-viral, water repellent, breathable and other features can be added cost effectively. The flocking can be durable and washable.
Flocking is commonly done on inflatable mattresses, inflatable casts, therapeutic cushions and pillows, blood pressure cuffs, helmets, and apparel and other applications. The flocked film will not interfere with ultrasonic or RF welding. The film can still be welded to retain air or liquids, or to keep them out.
Flocked films can be thermoformed into various shapes. The flock becomes part of the film once applied. It will flow with the material when formed, rather than restricting it like a laminated fabric. In a helmet, pockets can be created that not only are comfortable to wear, but also release air upon when impacted, reducing injuries.
A secondary benefit is that it will provide a non-slip surface. The fibers have a high surface area. When applied against itself the flock fibers “lock” into one another. The locking effect provides a high friction surface in the x-axis, while easily releasing in the y-axis. This works well put under a mattress. The mattress will not slide, but if it needs to be lifted, there is no resistance as in the case of a hook and loop system.
When flocking breathable or barrier films, the flock can provide comfort, design, and aesthetic appeal. Designs and colors can be created with ease. The flock can be applied in an open pattern. This allows the film to retain its breathability, but also provide the added comfort that flock can provide. The flock will also provide an air pocket between the film and the skin, increasing moisture management and comfort.
At Spectro Coating we work with you, to custom engineer the product that meets your needs. We will help identify the right fibers, and adhesive that will work for your application. All our adhesives are 100% water based and low VOC’s. Our lab can help vet our any issues before we start trials or production.
Today, Spectro Coating Corp. houses the world’s largest flocking operation under one roof. Our 110,000 square foot facility produces much of the world’s finest and most unique suede, velvet, and coated products. From commercial furnishings, to drapery and apparel, from automotive, to medical and industrial applications, Spectro Coating Corp. supplies coated products worldwide for almost every conceivable use.
Our team works as part of your team. With the most experience in the industry. There is not a challenge we cannot meet.
Please call us for samples and to discuss your needs at 978-534-1800.