The Importance Of Selecting The Optimal Adhesive For Your Medical Device Design

Selecting the optimal adhesive for your medical material conversion is a key aspect in any medical device design process.

PolarSeal, a contract manufacturer of medical devices and advanced wound care products remains a leading practitioner in flexible material conversion, lamination and slitting for a wide range of medical material applications.

The importance of the right adhesive

The dangers of selecting the wrong type of adhesive can cause unforeseen damages and costs to the business. That’s why you need to know exactly what it is you need and want to get out of the entire design process.

Questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. What is the purpose of the adhesive?
  2. Breathability? Stick-to-skin.
  3. What type of adhesive should you use for holding the device together, which depends on a multitude of things.
  4. And finally, what are the needs for the device?

Additional considerations such as; the material you need to stick to and the intended user. What works and what doesn’t to narrow down the options.

Our trusted advisors are always on hand to provide guidance throughout the initial design phase, and through to end-product.

Characteristics; role in function and accuracy

Adhesives play a critical role in the overall success of your device (From and during manufacturing, and performance of the device). That is why adhesives need to be sought after straight away in the design process.

The challenge which the adhesive has to master in the manufacture of these textiles, is the optimum adhesion to the different materials and a strong and durable lamination, without impairing the diffusion permeability of the textile.

Potential challenges to be aware of during the design process

There are always challenges and factors to consider when designing and developing a new product, as such, there are a few things to consider and to be aware of.:

  • Device malfunctions and potential harm to the end-user
  • Incompatible materials; affecting device accuracy. For example, stick-to-skin applications. Accuracy depends on the device adhering to skin for a certain length of time.

Any insufficient adhesive will more than likely cause the device to fall off. The device must be able to withstand the manufacturing process. ‘the liner, or the support film that’s removed from the adhesive before the adhesive is applied to the intended substrate, can fail due to build-up of the adhesive over time.’

Adhesives have the potential to immensely impact the manufacturing schedule and associated costs, therefore you must ensure adhesive and backing combinations are optimised to withstand and match the speed and friction during manufacturing.

And finally, any movement or sheering of parts can alter device precision. Using an extended border around the device can help to keep it in its desired location. Increasing wear time and improving stability of the device.

Medical material conversion

Potential risks to the user and skin if the wrong adhesive is used

Critically the product you’re designing could be used to make health decisions which could have adverse effects to the end -user. As thinking about the adhesive after the design process is risky and one that will (in most cases) have serious implication throughout the rest of the manufacturing process.

The adhesive plays a critical role in the overall success of your device. Its characteristics and the way it will interact with other materials has an impact on device functionality and accuracy. Whether the device is sticking components together or sticking the device to the skin, in which case sticking the device to the user.

Its’ for this reason that the type of adhesive used needs to be thought about sooner rather than later in the device design process, if not, this could result in launch delay and unnecessary costs.


High breathability is an essential characteristic of adhesives. These liners consist of a multilayer structure of different non-wovens which are laminated with a breathable PU or PE membrane.

Gentle adhesives

The composition of the adhesive layer is likely to be one of the most important consideration. The substrate, or the base material is what the adhesive will be applied to as it’s the directly related to the key function of adherence. Providing the structure for the adhesive which can have an impact on the device particularly with any sort of tape application. Some of the most commonly known materials are films, foams and non-woven’s.

Common adhesive types used in technical markets are variations of acrylic, silicone, rubber, and hydrogels. When selecting an adhesive, the fixation surface dictates the first set of decisions.

Why you can trust PolarSeal!

PolarSeal has over 30 years’ experience in flexible material converting. Specialising in the design and development of medical device, advanced wound care products and Wearable smart patch technology.

Possessing the breadth and experience to take your ideas from initial design concept, right through to final end-product. Using “state of the art” machinery, working with almost all adhesives and construction’s, providing you with the quality assurance that you need to rest assured your device won’t fail.  

‘Partner’ with us to develop your medical device today, and take your ideas from initial concept to reality.

T: +44 (0)1252 726000