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Hospital sterilization pouch

Autopak® is a three-ply structure from Alcan Packaging-Medical Flexibles Americas for in-hospital sterlization of products such as medical trays used for surgery.

Initially market tested in 2003 at Edward Hospital in Naperville IL the structure is converted and hermetically sealed into a three-sided pouch by Cardinal Health that it sells to hospitals and dental markets. A portion of the pouch’s fourth side is open for filling a device that then requires steam sterilization.

The outer bottom ply includes a spunbond-meltblown-spunbond nonwoven sheet from BBA Fiberweb. This layer allows permeation of sterlization gases such as steam while also serving as a barrier to bacteria. The middle ply uses Alcan Packaging’s polypropylene-based coextrusion film. It’s perforated for permeability and contains an autoclavable peelable seal feature that withstands sterilization and activates after sterilization. The outer top ply is an adhesive-lamination of DuPont’s Dartek® nylon and Alcan Packaging’s PP.

The finished lamination resists abuse and is transparent permitting visual identification of the contents. Traditional sterilization wrap and containers do not allow hospital staff to see the contents says Alcan; this can result in instrument trays being opened even when they’re not needed in surgery. Thus the new pouch can help reduce labor costs associated with instrument reprocessing.

A DuPont Silver Award-winner the disposable package also earned a Gold Award earlier this year from the Flexible Packaging Assn (see Alcan indicates that the hospital laundry service represents another target market for Autopak which has also been successfully evaluated in retortable food container lidding and pouch laminations with slight modifications. —Jim Butschli

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