Medical Packaging Design: Protecting Patients and Products

Article | May 8, 2018
Medical Packaging Design

Successful medical packaging design must address a long checklist of essentials. They include compliance with regulations, ease of use for patients and caregivers, compatibility with sterilization methods, and efficient manufacturing.

Protecting health and safety is always the first priority. And, while medical packaging design includes lids, pouches, bags and trays, the drugs and devices within are what truly drive design. That means virtually every package involves customization, whether to support sterilization or ease of administration.

Key Priorities for Medical Packaging Design
Vital to the design process is the selection of the right protective material, to be chosen after considering the different properties of available material options. The ideal medical packaging design material needs to support the following priorities:

  • Sterility maintenance until use

  • Barrier to microbial penetration

  • Resistance to physical damage

  • Provide for aseptic opening

  • Compatibility with sterilization processes

  • Ease of use by healthcare providers

  • Ease of manufacture

  • Regulatory compliance

Both production efficiency and quality control are essential for medical packaging design, so the choice of materials and partners is key to creating compliant, cost-effective, sterile barrier solutions.

Tyvek® for Medical Packaging Design
DuPont™ Tyvek® is committed to supporting medical packaging design across a range of applications. It has been used by converters, and medical device manufacturers, for over 40 years.

Tyvek® offers great flexibility in design, and can be utilized with most packaging technologies to create compliant, cost-effective, sterile barrier system solutions. Key advantages include:

  • Excellent performance as lids for rigid trays.

  • Excellent performance with common flexible films in form-fill-seal manufacturing and pouch and bag applications.

  • Compatibility with the broadest range of sterilization processes.

  • Best material for your global distribution challenges.

  • Provides outstanding toughness and tear resistance.

  • Tested and proven in a range of medical applications.

  • Superior performance to alternatives, such as medical- grade paper.

  • Cost efficient grades and production optimization choices.

Tyvek® Addresses the Medical Packaging Priorities
Medical packaging design often involves a wide range of variables. Tyvek® helps make it simpler to design solutions that meet the essentials — and provide the peace of mind that comes with specifying a known and trusted material, backed by the people and quality of DuPont.

Priority: Microbial Resistance
Tyvek® is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), unlike paper, which is made of wood pulp and can be a food source for microbes. The random orientation of its continuous, fine filaments means that its microbial barrier keeps out microbes and particulates better than other materials.

Priority: Sterilization Compatibility
With its porous structure, Tyvek® lets sterilization gases and steam in to do their job, and then quickly escape from the packaging. It is compatible with many common sterilization processes, including ethylene oxide (EO), gamma, electron-beam, steam under controlled conditions, low temperature oxidative sterilization methods and others.

Priority: Long-Term Storage
Tyvek® helps medical devices and products start sterile and stay sterile. In tests, it is shown to be capable of maintaining sterility for at least five years with exposure to a contaminated environment.

Priority: Reliable Strength
With its tough HDPE filaments, Tyvek® provides powerful puncture resistance and tear strength, up to eight times stronger than medical-grade paper of equal basis weight. This makes sterile packaging more durable and reduces the risk of package failure, even during rough handling.

Priority: Low Contamination Risk
With a clean peel and low linting, Tyvek® not only improves ease-of-use for patients and caregivers, it also reduces the risk of contamination from product packaging. Paper, on the other hand, can release a significant number of particulates when a package is opened.

Priority: Manufacturing Integration
Tyvek® can be easily integrated into a sterile barrier system with most packaging manufacturing processes, enabling large volume production at competitive cost. It can also be printed in the same way as paper, using standard commercial printing equipment, to comply with labeling regulations.