New ecological coatings for durable mattresses

New ecological coatings for durable mattresses

Company: Sioen Fabrics (coordinator) and Interco Healthcare. Sioen Fabrics (Mouscron) produces polyuretane coated textiles for more than 20 years and is a world leader in this domain. Interco has been active for many years offering specific solutions for medical mattresses and relies on Sioen products. It is the specialist in high quality medical mattresses for all patients and risks.

Problem statement: Due to their combination of water vapour permeability and high elasticity, polyurethane coatings are the materials of choice to protect both the patient and the medical mattress itself. These PU coatings are made in DMF (solvent). However, an increasingly strict European environmental policy is forcing the industry to develop more environmentally friendly coating systems and to reduce the use of this product. In addition, eco-labels are becoming increasingly important and necessary to promote products on the market. The ecoPUR (Ecological Medical Support Surfaces for the future) project had the following objectives:

  • – to develop new ecological coatings for sustainable mattresses in line with the philosophy of the new ISO 20342 standard, published in 2019.
  • – To scientifically evaluate the properties of these new coatings (pressure distribution, disinfection resistance, breathability, abrasion resistance, durability)
  • – to analyse the life cycle for the new mattress systems in comparison with the old coating technology.
  • – to evaluate the developed concept clinically and in the field.

RTO actions: Centexbel, the Belgian research centre for textiles and plastics, has actively contributed to the success of the EcoPUR project.
Firstly, the centre, which is ISO/IEC 17025 accredited, carried out numerous standardised physicochemical and biological tests to assess the properties of the new coatings: RET value – ISO 11092, water penetration resistance – EN 20811, drapability – ISO 9073-9, cytotoxicity – ISO 10993-5, allergen sensitivity (no animals) – OECD 432 E, accelerated ageing of the material – ISO 1419-C (1995), fire resistance – CRIBB 5, etc.
Secondly, Centexbel has developed an in-house pilot capable of reproducing the disinfecting action of the mattress cover. This machine can apply disinfectants used in hospitals and also mimic the rubbing action of a bed sheet, all in an automated manner. This test has recently been added to the annexes of the ISO 20342-1 standard (“Assistive products for tissue integrity when lying down”). This new test allows both to standardize the disinfection/rubbing resistance tests of fabric manufacturers and to compare the coatings offered on the market. The end user will be able to evaluate the ageing of these products in the face of different cleaners, which will be relevant in his choice of purchase for a long term use with a reinforced safety and comfort for the patient (avoid the formation of bedsores and the transmission of infection). In addition, a pre-standard PN22_MATRESSCLEAN, financed by the FOD economy, will complete this study.
Thirdly, Centexbel provided support for the development of new products, through various market studies, existing labels, and continuous monitoring of intellectual property in terms of patents and scientific publications.

Industrial benefits: As part of the Ecopur project, a range of different coatings has been developed. These are now available on the market and offered for sale:

  • – DMF-free rainwear with a bio-based coating
  • – DMF-free polyurethane imitation leather
  • – Waterproof protective cover for outdoor furniture with a DMF-free formulation
  • – Prototype design of a DMF-free medical mattress cover with the best compromise between “disinfection resistance/abrasion/pressure distribution

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Sioen Fabrics

Sioen Fabrics produces polyuretane coated textiles.

Av. Urbino 6, 7700 Mouscron, Belgique

Last updated: 14 January 2024

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