Author: Lena Barner-Rasmussen
The Covid-19 virus has sent the demand for certain applications soaring. Hospitals and other health facilities are in an acute need of all sorts of equipment. Walki’s extensive material knowledge has come in handy.
Protective gear for the staff is critical to protect the doctors and nurses that tend to the patients infected by Covid-19, and to hinder the virus from spreading further. Walki plays a crucial role in the supply chain, making sure doctors and nurses can work safely, and there are continuous development efforts to answer to these needs. One of those has been for protective apparel such as aprons.
“Walki is known for producing sustainable laminates for a broad range of applications from construction to packaging and thus possesses extensive material knowledge. So when we were approached with the task of developing a suitable material for single use aprons in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, we accepted the challenge”, explains Bart Vansteenkiste, Business Development Manager Engineered materials at Walki.
The demands set on the apron material are stringent. First of all, the material needs to be durable and tear resistant because you do not want the material to be torn during production. Resistance to water and droplets is also important to protect the person wearing the apron. And finally, the aprons need to be comfortable so that doctors and nurses can go about their work effortlessly.
“Our strong knowledge in how different materials work together was crucial to succeed in developing the apron material so quickly”, says Annika Sundell, Executive Vice President, Innovation.
The material Walki has developed, called Walki®Apron 45, is a high-performance extrusion coated polypropylene non-woven suitable for medical applications.
“It meets all the requirements: it’s flexible and highly tear-resistant with good barrier properties against water”, explains Vansteenkiste.
The material has now been produced on an industrial scale and has undergone testing at Walki premises with very positive results.
“Currently the Walki®Apron 45 is in the process of being evaluated externally and we expect to have the feedback within a week”, says Vansteenkiste.
Although Walki’s focus is on producing materials that either can be recycled or compostable, in this particular case the aprons need to be disposable for hygiene reasons.