Medical nonwoven products to reduce healthcare acquired infections in future
About one in every 20 patients picks up an infection while hospitalised. This unnecessary expense costs the United States of America billions of dollars. So, plans are afoot to develop more medical nonwoven and technical textile products to prevent or reduce healthcare acquired infection, says Mohammad Hassan of Biax Fiberfilm.
As a research engineer, I am focusing on filtration application, acoustic and thermal insulation, elastic nonwoven and mass production of fabrication of nanofibres. All these areas show strong signs of potential growth due to several reasons such as urbanisation, emerging markets, rising population and the great need for clean air and water. Growth rate of most of these markets is about 5-10 per cent which is very promising for the nonwoven industry specifically, and to the technical textiles in general.
The biggest markets for us are still the United States of America and Europe, but we see a lot of enquiries coming from the Asian countries. Emerging markets such as India and China represent a good opportunity for growth for many companies, because of the huge population and the fact that their quality of life is improving at much higher rates than anywhere else. The countries that are still seeking more technical textiles are United States of America, European countries and Japan.
In the last two years, we saw a lot of enquires about our technology and a majority of the companies were beginning to develop good faith in the economy after the recession of 2008. Companies are willing to take the risk of investing to buy new equipment to support continuous demand for their products now. In the last two years, Biax-Fiberfilm was able to sell many pilot equipment and three turn-key spun-blown (Multirow meltblowing) lines, plus tens of upgrade orders that resulted in a growth rate of approximately 15 per cent compared to 2013. In the next two years, we are targeting approximately 20 per cent growth rate.
As a company that believes in research and development as an important tool to stay ahead of the curve, we invest roughly 5-10 per cent of our revenue on R&D to make sure that we are delivering cutting edge technology that puts our customers ahead of their peers. We are continuously improving our spinnerette design and investigating new nonwoven products using high molecular weight polymers and new bio-engineered resins, besides our effort to provide mass production of nanofibres to the market.
In the coming few years, we will see many medical nonwoven products developed to prevent or reduce healthcare acquired infections (HAIs). After the Obama-care provisions, by putting the burden on the healthcare providers and by financially penalising hospitals that see high rates of readmission of patients within 30 days due to HAIs, hospitals started taking extreme measures and seeking all possible solutions to reduce and prevent HAIs. Another area that will see good growth rate for nonwovens will be in industrial wipes. After almost 30 years, the EPA published Solvent-Contaminated Wipes Rule. With wide adoption of such a rule by many states, nonwoven industrial wipes will experience rapid growth and many products will be developed for the market. As a result of the continuous effort to cut down the price of carbon fibres, we might see some carbon fibre-based products penetrating the commodity market, such as automotive sector.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.