Innovation Challenges

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Alternative Sealing Processes to Achieve Viral Barrier (closed)

NineSigma
This challenge has closed.
Owner: NineSigma
Tags: Forest Science, Engineering-Chemical, Materials Science, Food Science, Chemistry-Organic, Fabric Manufacturing, Disposable Protective Fabrics, Seal Seams, Laminated Nonwoven Garments
Audience: Other, Subject Matter Experts, Businesses, Researchers
Anticipated Funding: TBC
Applications close: November 15, 2019
Last Updated: November 17, 2019 9:03 PM
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The Challenge

NineSigma's client is a major global manufacturer of disposable protective fabrics used in applications such as surgical gowns and biological protection coveralls. These fabrics are made of a nonwoven substrate consisting of polypropylene or bicomponent (PE & PET) spunmelt laminated to microporous, PE or co-polyester film. The laminated textile offers excellent protection against pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.

However, when garments are made from this laminated fabric today, the sealing techniques are not able to reliably seal complex seams sufficiently to pass the viral penetration resistance test (ASTM 1671 or ISO 16604) and, at the same time, to be economically feasible at an industrial scale. This can often lead to the seam being the weakest point of a garment design making the seam location the most likely pathway for harmful pathogens to pass through.

 A complex seam example would be the inseam or shoulder seam of various garment designs. It requires a non-linear sealing path that can create various seam geometries to satisfy all apparel construction processes. An example of a non-complex seam is a seam in a straight line to standard fixed length. 

Currently, four mainstream approaches are known in this industry. Unfortunately, these methods all have their drawbacks.

  • Glue Seam Seal (1-step process)
    • Slow manufacturing process
    • Glues may be expensive
    • Reliability issues in case the glue is not spread homogenously causing gaps in the barrier
  • Ultrasonic Heat Seam Seal (1-step process)
    • Reliability issues with viral barrier sealing of nonwovens (often caused by pinholes and gaps in the seam)
  • Bar Heat Seam Seal (1-step process)
    • Only seals in straight lines
    • Not suitable for complex seams
  • Sewn Seam with Tape Covering Seam (2-steps process)
    • Time consuming process to tape all seams with conventional tape
    • Often does not pass the ASTM 1671 viral penetration test.

The objective of this RFP is to find alternative approaches that seal complex seams of laminated nonwoven textiles while offering sufficient protection against pathogens. NineSigma's client is also open to the four, earlier mentioned technologies of which at least one of the drawbacks has been solved.
Eventually, the seal has to pass the ASTM 1671 tests (viral penetration resistance).

Eligibility Criteria

For complete details on the eligibility criteria that govern Alternative Sealing Processes to Achieve Viral Barrier Challenge please refer to the website.

Terms and Conditions

For complete details on the terms and conditions that govern Alternative Sealing Processes to Achieve Viral Barrier Challenge please refer to the website.

How to Apply

To submit an application to the Alternative Sealing Processes to Achieve Viral Barrier Challenge please refer to the website.

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