Sustainability in Medical Adhesives Manufacturing for OEMs

Adhesives are used extensively within current medical device technologies. Derived from polymers found in petroleum or extracted from natural sources, adhesives offer a significant opportunity for OEMs in medical manufacturing to achieve more sustainable practices. By prioritizing the development and adoption of environmentally friendly and high-performance options, OEMs can contribute to a cleaner environment, optimize their production processes, and create innovative medical devices with improved sustainability profiles. 

Polymer Science is at the forefront of the sustainable medical manufacturing industry, centering environmentally friendly in the production of our P-DERM® line of medical adhesives.

Reduced Environmental Impact

Modern manufacturing is at the center of debates surrounding sustainability. Increasingly, consumers and producers alike are concerned about the way that a product impacts the world around us. Luckily, you don’t need to sacrifice quality in the name of sustainability thanks to eco-friendly adhesives like Polymer Science’s P-DERM® line of products. 

Here’s why:

Lower VOC Emissions

Many traditional medical adhesives rely on solvent-based systems, releasing harmful VOCs during application and cure. Switching to emulsions or 100% solid adhesives with low or no VOC content significantly reduces air pollution and improves worker safety.

Bio-based and Renewable Materials

Increasingly, adhesives are formulated with bio-based materials like cornstarch, plant resins, or even recycled plastics. This reduces dependence on fossil fuels and promotes the use of renewable resources, contributing to a circular economy.

Minimized Waste

Some bio-based or biodegradable polymer adhesives can be composted or broken down naturally, diverting waste from landfills and reducing the burden on disposal infrastructure.

Improved Energy Efficiency

Certain high-performance adhesives require less energy for curing compared to traditional methods, contributing to a lower environmental footprint throughout their lifecycle.

Enhanced Manufacturing Sustainability

Sustainable Adhesives like the P-DERM® acrylic and silicone adhesives help your environmental footprint in other ways too, giving you more flexibility in your manufacturing process. You’ll find that even as you create a more environmentally friendly product, you’re also creating a more efficient one.

  • Faster Assembly: Pressure-sensitive adhesives often offer near-instantaneous tack and adhesion, reducing the need for prolonged drying or heating processes, leading to faster production cycles and reduced energy consumption.
  • Simplified Processes: Some adhesives eliminate the need for additional pre-treatments or surface preparation, streamlining manufacturing processes and potentially reducing waste generation.
  • Versatility and Improved Bond Strength: High-performance polymer adhesives can effectively bond a wide range of medical materials, from plastics and textiles to metals and ceramics.

Examples of Sustainable Medical Manufacturing with Polymer Adhesives

  • Biodegradable patches for wound healing: Bio-based adhesives can be used to create patches that adhere to skin but degrade naturally after healing, minimizing waste and potential infections. 
  • Lightweight medical devices: High-performance adhesives can enable the use of lighter, biocompatible materials like bioplastics in medical devices, reducing their environmental impact and potentially improving patient comfort.
  • Drug-delivery devices: Polymer adhesives with controlled release properties, such as our hydrogels or silicone gels, can be used to create drug-delivery patches and other vehicles that minimize waste by delivering precise dosages over extended periods.

Challenges and Considerations

Manufacturing adhesives are vital to the creation of many products. With that comes a devotion to quality and performance that doesn’t allow the cutting of corners. As such, there are some things to consider beyond environmental impact when choosing an adhesive for your product. 

Performance and Availability

While high-performance polymer adhesives exist, not all options match the performance of traditional counterparts in every medical application. Additionally, the availability of some bio-based or high-performance options can be limited. However, Polymer Science has recently launched its new line of medical acrylic adhesives, PS-3080 and PS-3090, which are sustainably produced and environmentally friendly.

Cost and Testing

The initial cost of some advanced polymer adhesives might be higher than traditional options. Additionally, medical adhesives require rigorous testing and regulatory compliance, which can be a challenge for new materials. 

Infrastructure and Training

Switching to new adhesives might necessitate modifications to existing manufacturing processes and training for employees to ensure proper application. The streamlined manufacturing process that these adhesives create means your employees will need to change how they approach their jobs. 

Make Your Products Sustainable With Polymer Science

If you’re looking to enhance the sustainability of your manufacturing process, then Polymer Science offers state-of-the-art products that are as effective as they are environmentally friendly. Our P-DERM® product line includes acrylics, hot melts and polyurethane adhesives, non-adhesive films, and Polymer Science’s innovative atraumatic, pain-free removal silicone gel and hydrogel adhesives. All P-DERM® skin contact adhesives are made in the USA.

Contact us today to see how Polymer Science can help your company with custom solutions for your medical adhesive needs.