In the rapidly advancing field of wearable medical and wearable consumer device technology, M&C Specialties is one of the world’s leading converters, contract manufacturers, and fabricators of die cut adhesive tapes and related components. As part of an increasing trend in patients and consumers wanting to have more active roles in managing their healthcare and wellness, the market for medical wearables is on the rise. Wearable sensors allow users to stay active and manage certain chronic illnesses from their own homes. Safe and high-performing adhesive systems play an important role in the creation of such devices, allowing smaller, lighter, and less invasive models to be increasingly brought to market. M&C Specialties supplies components to the four main segments of the wearable sensor market:
Offering a broad range of materials and design solutions, we work directly with medical device OEMs that seek to replace existing wearable devices with newer, better-performing products. In addition, M&C Specialties partners with a number of product development firms contracted by large OEM medical device manufacturers to carry out their initial product R&D activities in this expanding field.
Our expertise in wearable nonwoven materials, skin contact/medical-grade adhesives, release liners, and related applications allows us to simplify the material selection process for our customers. Based on customer specifications pertaining to performance, cost, supply chain logistics, and other factors, M&C Specialties can cull through the multitude of material options that may exist for any given wearable medical device application, reducing that number to a handful of viable candidates so that customers do not have to spend time testing large numbers of potential products.
M&C Specialties custom matches adhesive systems to meet specifications for such performance attributes as:
For example, in the last decade, adhesive durability and resilience has grown increasingly important in the continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and insulin delivery pump segments as OEMs develop and launch new wearable CGM and insulin delivery devices that boast wear times of 14 days or more. As such, those adhesive systems must effectively withstand temperature changes, contact with moisture and chemical fluids, and outdoor weathering during the entirety of those extended wear times.
Related to an adhesive system’s durability is its breathability, which is the system’s ability to let in oxygen while releasing moisture. Insufficient breathability of medical wearables can result in maceration, which can cause an adhesive to de-bond from the skin. Also important to overall die cut nonwoven adhesive system performance are conformability and flexibility, attributes that contribute to the comfort and durability of the wearable medical devices.
Furthermore, M&C Specialties takes pride in its status as a 3M Preferred Converter. 3M is a global leader in the development and supply of body worn adhesives and various related products. We utilize many of 3M’s adhesive technologies, combining our own expertise with those technologies to design custom converted components for various wearable medical device applications.
On the design side, M&C Specialties assists customers in optimizing the design of their wearable medical devices for enhanced performance and quality benefits. Furthermore, our precise in-line manufacturing capabilities allow us to reduce customer costs by cutting out steps in their assembly processes. For example, in a situation where a manufacturing step requires the assembly of a part from multiple components, M&C Specialties can often take on assembly of that part, supplying it as a value-added subassembly to the customer and reducing the steps in their production line.
Delivery options represent another area where M&C Specialties is a valued partner in the wearable medical device supply chain. Our precision die cutting expertise allows us to deliver converted parts that are optimized for the next steps in the customer’s fabrication processes. A good example of this is our ability to supply nonwoven parts on rolls of a low-tack carrier webs that are ultimately integrated downstream in the customer’s assembly process, where converted components remain attached to the carrier as the medical devices are built on top of them. This format is also ideal for pick-and-place robotics and other types of automation. Other advantages of the roll web format for medical wearables include improved handling, enhanced product protection, and inventory control benefits.
As a leading global converter, contract manufacturer, and fabricator of adhesive tapes and related components and finished products, M&C Specialties maintains its own production, clean room/white room, and engineering facilities. We engage in validated manufacturing processes that are fully compliant with the relevant requirements for the medical devices and related products that we design, fabricate, and supply. Regarding wearable medical technologies such as glucose monitoring and CGM device adhesives, drug delivery pump adhesives, and patient monitoring device interface components, M&C Specialties operates in full compliance with ISO 10993 standards for evaluating the biocompatibility of medical devices to manage biological risk.