Over the next decades developers such as the experts at Freudenberg carried out research on suitable materials and gathered experience in applications such as the treatment of chronic wounds. Today, advanced wound care is used in all industrialized nations and in a growing number of emerging economies.
The benefits of this form of treatment are that no scab is formed and new tissue is encouraged to grow. In many instances, the moist wound environment halves the healing time compared with the traditional dry therapy. Antimicrobial products reduce the risk of infection for the patient. Moist wound care has great potential. The global market volume in the next ten to fifteen years is estimated at three billion euros.
The latest product developments in advanced wound care mark a further milestone in medical nonwovens for Freudenberg Nonwovens. The company has developed nonwovens made of chitosan fibers that accelerate the healing process in the treatment of chronic wounds.
Today, the product portfolio focuses on developments in advanced wound care. As Dr. Oliver Heneric, who heads the medical segment at Freudenberg Nonwovens, explains, “One goal for us is to stimulate the human body’s capacity to heal itself following an acute injury. And another is to help make life easier for people with chronic wounds, like diabetics.”
This leads to challenging specifications for wound dressings used for vein and arterial disease. Over the last few years, the company has developed new, highly complex products such as solutions featuring chitosan fibers and won new customers for these innovations. In combination with a hydroactive nonwoven, these fibers bring new perspectives for the healing process and are already proving their worth in practice. Chitosan is a biopolymer derived from the shells of sea crustaceans, which stops bleeding and helps wounds heal more quickly.
Freudenberg began manufacturing medical nonwovens back in the 1970s, building a facility especially for the production of activated carbon filters in Littleborough, UK. Today, this unit produces these filters for integration in stoma pouches to remove malodors. Nonwovens for stoma pouch covers and flanges round off the stoma care product portfolio.
Both back then and now, a highly specialized development department could be relied on to come up with a steady stream of innovations. New product applications that improve the quality of life for patients and accelerate healing are the outcome of individual customer projects. From the very beginning, in-house developers have nurtured product ideas all the way to market maturity.
Wound pads for traditional dry wound care were one of the stepping stones on the path from the first medical nonwovens to today’s advanced wound care. The company triggered a “gentle revolution” in the 1980s when it launched wound pads made of nonwovens instead of knitted products for use in plasters. An antimicrobial finish was added from the 1990s. Due to the untiring efforts of the in-house development team, the present-day product range includes all commonly used active ingredients.
The most recent additions to the product program include nonwovens and composite fibrous films approved in the U.S. by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for transdermal applications. These products are manufactured in Japan by the long-standing joint-venture partner JVC (Japan Vilene Company). The transdermal approach to the delivery of medication is more beneficial to the human body because it bypasses the body’s metabolism. n