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New Fabrics Comfort and ProtectHealthcare Workers 

Originally Published MPMN September 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

New Fabrics Comfort and Protect Healthcare Workers 

Corinne Litchfield

By combining softness and barrier properties in a new line of fabrics, Polymer Group Inc. (PGI) (Mooresville, NC; www.polymergroupinc.com) aims to provide healthcare workers with more comfort on the job, as well as high levels of protection. "MediSoft fabrics provide the high barrier protection of spun-melt materials combined with the softness, drapability, and breathability the industry demands," says CEO James L. Schaeffer. 

Concerns surrounding the potential of cross-infection have propelled the medical industry to develop fabrics with improved fluid barriers. This can be achieved by means of the spun-melt process, but garments made with these fabrics tend to be stiff and uncomfortable, particularly after extended use. "MediSoft fabrics give PGI the ability to offer the comfort and convenience of spun-lace fabrics with the protection and cost advantages of spun-melt 
technology," adds Schaeffer.

The company used two tests to evaluate fabric softness: Handle-O-Meter testing to measure the fabric's drapability by evaluating the combined effects of flexibility and surface friction, and the coefficient of friction to measure its softness. MediSoft fabrics exhibited a 50% increase in drapability and a 40% increase in softness over standard spun-melt fabrics used in medical applications, according to the company. The fabrics also exceeded the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) standards for Level III garments of 50 cm in hydroheads, a measurement of barrier properties. 

Introduced at the 2004 International Engineered Fabrics Conference and Expo (IDEA04), the fabrics are being evaluated by key global suppliers. The material is manufactured at the company's facility in Nanhai, China.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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