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New healthcare product introduced by K-C subsidiary.

ultrasonic bonding technology helps Avent bring medical product to market in record time

Avent, a subsidiary of Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, recently faced a tough manufacturing challenge when it was contracted by Infection Control Products, Inc. (ICPI) of Alabama to manufacture several million of its newly developed 4/1 "Armboard" intravenous (IV) catheterization products. The new 4/1 Armboard, introduced last August, is highly attractive to the healthcare industry because it simplifies the IV catheterization procedure.

According to ICPI, compared to the traditional IV procedure, the 4/1 Armboard method costs less, cuts down on the hospital staff required to hook up an IV and cuts the time required to complete the procedure in half. The innovative system is actually one device that takes the place of four separate products used in the traditional procedure: the armboard/splint, the gauze or self-adherent bandage, gauze pads and tape.

Three key improvements make the 4/1 Armboard more comfortable for the patient and easier to use for healthcare professionals. A padded, three-layer absorbent nonwoven sleeve has been added to the one-piece extruded board. The fluid-impervious inner film barrier acts as an infection-control agent. The middle layer absorbs and contains fluids and the soft one-way directional outside liner keeps fluids in.

Stretchable straps gently secure the tube and armboard while minimizing any tourniquet effect. Repeated inspection of the IV site is simple and can be performed without cutting or removing the armboard. The hook style fastener at the end of each strap is easily adjustable and eliminates the need for tape.

Avent's manufacturing expertise was needed to bring the product to market as quickly as possible to meet the high demand. Emma Ramirez, manufacturing engineer at Avent, faced the challenge of assembling the optimum production line to fabricate the 4/1 Armboard.

The manufacturing procedure for the armboard involved several steps that were slow and cumbersome using traditional sewing methods. First, stretchable fastening strips that would be attached to the armboard and used to hold the board securely to the patient's arm had to be fabricated. This involved attaching hook-type strips to Kimberly-Clark's "Stretch Bond Laminate" (SBL) fabric and trimming the strips to size.

Next, the 4/1 Armboard had to be assembled. Kimberly-Clark's "Co-form," three layers of nonwoven material laminated together - a liner, padding and an inner film barrier - had to be folded over an extruded flexible plastic board. Then, the stretchable fastening strips had to be inserted and secured along with the edges of the folded layer. Last, the excess material at each end of the plastic board had to be trimmed and sealed.

Because the manufacturing process was complicated, Ms. Ramirez searched for a faster and more efficient production alternative to traditional sewing and gluing. Ultrasonic fabric bonding equipment was ideally suited for this nonwoven product, since it eliminated the need for glues, threads and stitch holes. The ultrasonic system converts electrical energy to high frequency ultrasonic vibrations that are transferred to overlapped pieces of fabric under controlled pressure. Frictional heat causes the materials to fuse together instantaneously without generating heat in the surrounding fabric.

Avent equipped their production facility with ultrasonic equipment manufactured by Sonobond Ultrasonics, West Chester, PA. Sonobond "Seammaster" fabric bonders are used to attach the hook and loop strips to the stretch material. Sonobond "SureWeld" plunge welders are used to cut and seal the fabric layers around the board with special cut and stitch anvil patterns.

Working closely in coordination with Sonobond Ultrasonics and ICPI, Avent was able to set up production for the 4/1 Armboard IV securement system in less than eight weeks. The ultrasonic bonding technique allowed this useful product to get to the market in record time.
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Title Annotation:Kimberley-Clark Corp. subsidiary, Avent, develops 'Armboard' intravenous catheterization products
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Oct 1, 1992
Previous Article:Medical nonwovens: better safety through better products.
Next Article:Bonding technologies: chemical bonding.

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