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Article: Novamed Adult Incontinence Pads

Novamed Adult Incontinence Pads - Novamed (Europe) ltd

Novamed Adult Incontinence Pads

At Novamed, our products provide an excellent leakage and skin protection to the user.

We bring effective solutions because we believe that innovation and comfort are the way to better healthcare. With the aim to improve quality and accessibility of medical care we introduce our range of Adult Incontinence Pads.

We design and manufacture our products according to latest technology. All our products have top sheet, acquisition layer, SAP, fluff and the bottom sheet. All our products have laminated bottom sheet with breathable sides. The acquisition layer is the layer under the top sheet of the pad, which first comes into the contact with the urine. It supports the absorption of the urine, enabling it to be distributed quickly to the storage core (SAP + fluff) below. The acquisition layer distributes the urine to the front and back of the pad and provides improved leakage protection due to a reduced amount of urine of the surface of the pad. It has the ability to handle several gushes of urine without affecting its ability to absorb.

The dual core is composed of a top and bottom core which both contain fluff and super absorbent polymers. The top core has a higher amount of super absorbent and a lower amount of fluff which provides higher absorbency in the mind 50 area of the pad where it is really needed. The bottom core has a higher amount of fluff and less superabsorbent but still means that the product can absorb and lock away wetness throughout the whole of the core. 

How Adult Nappies are manufactured?

A disposable adult nappy consists of an absorbent pad sandwiched between two sheets of nonwoven fabric. The pad is specially designed to absorb and retain body fluids, and the nonwoven fabric gives the nappy a comfortable shape and helps prevent leakage. These nappies are made by a multi-step process in which the absorbent pad is first vacuum-formed, then attached to a permeable top sheet and impermeable bottom sheet. The components are sealed together by application of heat or ultrasonic vibrations. Elastic fibres are attached to the sheets to gather the edges of the nappy into the proper shape so it fits snugly around adult’s upper legs and pelvic area. When properly fitted, the disposable nappy will retain body fluids which pass through the permeable top sheet and are absorbed into the pad. 

  •  Raw Material

Absorbent Pad 

The single most important property of a nappy, is its ability to absorb and retain moisture. Cotton material used in cloth diapers is reasonably absorbent, but synthetic polymers far exceed the capacity of natural fibers. Today’s state-of-the-art disposable nappy will absorb 15 times its weight in water. This phenomenal absorption capacity is due to the absorbent pad found in the core of the nappy. This pad is composed of two essential elements, a hydrophilic, or water-loving, polymer and a fibrous material such a wood pulp. The polymer is made of fine particles of acrylic acid derivative, such as sodium acrylate, potassium acrylate, or an alkyl acrylate. 

The polymetric particles act as tiny sponges that retain many times their weight in water. Microscopically these polymer molecules resemble long chains or ropes. Portions of these chemical “ropes” are designed to interact with the water molecules. Other parts of the polymer have the ability to chemically link with different polymers molecules in a process known as cross linking. When a large number of these polymeric chains are cross linked, they form a gel network that is not water soluble but that can absorb vast amounts of water. Polymers with this ability are referred to as hydrogels, superabsorbent, or hydrocolloids. 

Depending on the degree of cross linking, the strength of the gel network can be varied. This is an important property because gel strength is related to the tendency of the polymer  to deform or flow under stress. If the strength is too high the polymer will not retain enough water. If it is too low the polymer will deform too easily, and the outermost participles in the pad will absorb water too quickly, forming a gel that blocks water from reaching the inner pad particles. This problem, known as gel blocking, can be overcome by dispersing wood pulp fibers throughout the thousands of tiny straw which suck up water faster and disperse it through the matrix more efficiently to avoid gel blocking. Manufacturers have optimised the combinations of polymer and fibrous material to yield the most efficient absorbency possible. 

 Non-Woven Fabric 

The absorbent pad is at the core of the diaper. It is held in place by nonwoven fabric sheets that form the body of the nappy. Nonwoven fabrics are different from traditional fabrics because of the way they are made. Traditional fabrics are made by weaving together fibers of silk, cotton, polyester, wool, etc.  to create an interlocking network of fiber loops. Nonwovens are typically made from plastic resins, such as nylon, polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene, and are assembled by mechanically, chemically, or thermally interlocking the plastic fibers. There are two primary methods of assembling nonwoven, the wet laid process and the dry laid process. A dry lain process, such as the “melthdown” method, is typically used to make nonwoven nappy fabrics. In this method the plastic resin is melted and extruded, or forced, through tiny holes by air pressure. AS the air-blown stream of fibers cools, the fibers condense onto a sheet. Heated rollers are then used to flatten the fibers and bond them together. Polypropylene is typically the material used for permeable top sheet, with polyethylene is the resin of  choice for the non-permeable back sheet.

Other Components: 

There are a variety of other ancillary components, such as elastic threads, hot melt adhesives, strips of tape or other closures, and inks used for printing.  

The Manufacturing Process 

Formation of the absorbent pad

- The absorbent pad is formed on a movable conveyer belt tht passes through a long “forming chamber.” At various points in the chamber, pressurised nozzles spray either polymer particles or fiberous material onto the conveyor surface. The bottom of the conveyor is perforated, and as the pad material is sprayed onto the belt, a vacuum is applied from below so that the fibers are pulled down to form a flat pad.

- At least two methods have been employed to incorporate  absorbent polymers into the pad. In one method the polymer is injected into the same feed stock that supplies the fibers. This method produces a pad that has absorbent polymer dispersed evenly throughout its entire length, width, and thickness. The problems associated with method are that loss of absorbent may occur because the fine particles are pulled through the perforations in the conveyor by the vacuum. It is therefore expensive and messy. This method also casues the pad to absorb unevenly since absorbent is lost from only one side and not the other.

- A second method of applying polymer and fiber involves application of the absorbent material onto the top surface of the pad after it has been formed. This method produces a pad which has absorbent material concentrated on its top side and does not have much absorbency throughout the pad. Another disadvantage is that a pad made in this way may lose some of the polymer applied to its surface. Furthermore, this approach tends to cause gel blocking, since all the absorbent is on the outside of the pad. The moisture gets trapped in this outer layer and does not have a chance to diffuse to the centre. The blockage holds moisture against the skin and can lead to discomfort for the wearer. 

These problems are solved by controlling the mixture polymer and fibrous material. Multiple spray dispensers are used to apply several layers of polymer and fiber. As the fibre is drawn into the chamber and the bottom of the pad is formed, a portion of the polymer is. Added to the mix to form a layer of combined polymer and fibre. Then ore pure fibre is pulled on top and to give a sandwich effect. This formation creates a pad with the absorbent polymer confined to its centre, surrounded y fibrous material.Gel blockage is not a problem because the polymer is concentrated at core of pad. It also solves the problem of particle loss since all the absorbent is surrounded by fibrous material. Finally, this process is more cost effective because the polymer just where it is needed. after the pad has received a full dose of fiber and polymer, it proceeds down the conveyor path to a levelling roller near the outlet of the forming chamber. This roller removes a portion of the fibre at the top of the pad to make a uniform thickness. The pad then moves by the conveyor through the outlet for subsequent operations to form the competed nappy. 

Preparation of the nonwoven 

- 3 Sheets of nonwoven fabric are formed from plastic resin using the meltdown process as described above. These sheets are produced as wide roll known as a “web”, which is then cut to the appropriate width for use in nappies. There is a web for the top sheet and another for the bottom sheet. It should be noted that this step does not necessarily occur in sequence after pad formation because the nonwoven fabrics are often made in a separate location. When the manufacturer is ready to initiate nappy production these large bolts of fabrics are connected to special roller equipment that feeds fabrics to the assembly line. 

 At some point in the process, stretched elastic bands are attached to the backing sheet with adhesive. After the nappy, is assembled, these elastic bands contract and gather the nappy together to ensure a snug fit and limit leakage.

 at this point in the process there are still three separate components, the absorbent pad, the top sheet, and the back sheet. These three components are in long strips and must be joined together and cut into nappy-sized unit. This is accomplished by feeding the absorbent pad onto a conveyor  with the polyethylene botton sheet. The polyproplylene top sheet is then fed into place, and the complied sheets are joined by gluing, heating, or ultrasonic welding. The assembled nappy may have other attachments such as strips of tape or Velcroe, which act as closure. 

  The long roll is then cut into individual diapers, folded and packaged for shipping. 

Written by: Mrs. Julie Collett
Retired Continence Nurse Specialist


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