Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cold-Seal Adhesives - Ushering In A Better World for Medical and Dental Packaging

The packaging pros are continuously working on new ways to package medical and dental products, and this has been a continuing challenge for them. Although they don’t have a problem rolling out carton sealers and taping machines for the consumer industry, the unique nature of medical and dental products and applications keep the packaging design engineers on their feet. One specific area they’ve had a tough time with is finding the right material and adhesive combination.
Cold Seal Adhesives – Medical and Dental Packaging’s Best Option
But now, design engineers are veering towards cold-seal adhesives. The cold seal technology has so far been known for its low cost, high bonding rate, and low temperature – three factors that make it a promising alternative to traditional sealing technologies. But engineers also found that this new technology solves several design problems in medical and dental packaging.
Cold-seal adhesives are made using a combination of synthetic rubber and a variety of adhesive components. In the past, natural latex rubber was used for this process, but this was banned from medical packaging back in 1999 due to the allergens commonly found in natural latex.
These adhesives feature a special type of pressure-sensitive adhesive that can form a very strong bond despite requiring very slight pressure at normal room temperature. But what’s unique about them is that the base polymer they use bonds only to itself. This means they will not bond with other substrates, which eliminates several problems in storage and assembly. Thus, they can be used without liners and without causing damage to the sensitive medical and dental products they house.
Cold seal adhesives come in different types. They are currently available in paper film, transparent carrier film, transparent plastic film, and other paper and plastic combinations. They also differ based on sealing forces, which range from 0.5N/15mm to 4.0N/15mm.
Assembly and Labeling – Other Important Considerations
After the design, however, comes another challenge: assembly. This is another common challenge for the medical and dental packaging industry, where factors such as antimicrobial protection come into play. The common assembly process used in cold seal adhesive packaging is ultrasonic welding, which provides a strong effective seal without using heat. Ultrasonic welding is also a top option for antimicrobial packaging as it minimizes seal contamination, minimizes rejects, and streamlines production.
Ultrasonic welding is a process that uses high-frequency, low-amplitude vibration to heat the area between the materials that need to be joined. The process is fast, clean, and can be used even for small objects.
After assembly, important considerations have to be made when it comes to labeling medical and dental products. It is crucial that the labels be tamper-evident and pressure-sensitive.The packaging design process is challenging enough as it is, with common concerns such as production efficiency and cost effectiveness, but the stakes are even higher in the medical and dental industry. Thankfully, design engineers continue to strive for new developments that help enhance production and eliminate the common challenges in packaging. 

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