Softmed begins sterilisation wrap production to ensure local supply

Friday, 07 May, 2021

Softmed begins sterilisation wrap production to ensure local supply

Australian personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturer Softmed is producing one million sterilisation wraps per month in response to a critical worldwide shortage that threatens surgery cancellations in Australia.

Sterilisation wrap is a critical healthcare product used to wrap and seal surgical trays and instruments to create a microbial barrier for instruments, keeping them sterile until they are opened in the surgical theatre.

Increased demand for PPE during the pandemic has caused a worldwide decline in the material required to produce sterilisation wrap, leaving many hospitals having to manage without this critical product.

Last year, during the height of the pandemic, Softmed established a purpose-built, eco-safe PPE factory in Victoria to cater for the complete non-woven fabric needs of hospitals, such as surgical and isolation gowns, caps and shoe coverings, disposable bed covers and hospital drapes.

Softmed General Manager Sergiy Tsimidanov said due to the complexity of sourcing the base products, as well as the high production standards required, only a few companies globally manufacture sterilisation wrap.

“Until now, Australian hospitals have had to rely on imported products, where there is a high risk of supply shortage — a situation we are currently experiencing. That’s why Softmed is beginning the local production of sterilisation wrap for the Australian medical community.”

According to surgeon Professor Stephen O’Leary from the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in Melbourne, “Surgical catch-up after COVID has been throttled by a shortage of sterilisation wrap; it is yet another case of where we need Australian-made to cope with national requirements.”

Tsimidanov says the company will begin manufacturing one million wraps per month, massively ramping up production before the end of the year.

“It’s a very laborious process — our special-formula non-woven SMS materials go through several stages of quality control. Rolls of material then need to be cut, then ultrasonically welded before being folded. Every product is inspected twice before being packed into a sealed, highly durable bag.”

Softmed’s product complies with medical devices manufacturing standard ISO 13485 and has achieved TGA registration.

Softmed will start delivering sterilisation wrap to local and global markets in May.

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