Medical Packaging: Cross-Linked Polyethylene Foam (XLPE)

Cross-linked Polyethylene Foams (XLPE) are unique, closed-cell materials used extensively to create medical packaging solutions. Certain grades of XLPE foams are expanded in a natural process, using nitrogen verses chemical expansion. The XLPE foam is non-toxic, hypoallergenic and latex-free and can come in direct contact with skin and be used in operating rooms. It has a cushion-like feeling, is water resistant and has the capability of being Gamma sterilized to be used with medical devices. It is widely used in the medical device industry to package and protect surgical instruments, implants and other surgical devices, both inside and outside of a sterile barrier system.

An example of XLPE foam used as a packaging medium is for surgical instrument trays during surgery. This provides both a visual display and organization of instruments to the operating attendants, sterile nurses and surgeons. The protective insert is lined with cross-linked polyethylene foam material and is free of foreign particulates. Leading medical device manufacturers have come to rely on this unique, closed-cell foam product to protect their instruments, implants and other medical devices.

Compression molding is a common method of fabricating cross-linked polyethylene foams and is widely accepted within the orthopedic industry. Used in orthopedic implant protection, foam was developed to protect specialized surgical implant devices. Compression molding mitigates particulation, as it seals the material. UFP Technologies is able to compression mold, die-cut, and perform other select fabrication methods of XLPE foams within our clean room facilities located across the United States.

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