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By Kate Gluck on  11/26/2023

Material Spotlight: 3M 28-Day Acrylic Adhesive for Wearable Medical Devices

Die Cutting - Skin Contact Adhesives for Medical Wearable Devices

Technological advancements in the medical wearables market continue at a breakneck speed. Consumer adoption rates are steadily keeping pace. A recent study found that 49% of US consumers use wearable devices, apps, and digital assistants to monitor their health and fitness.

As the market for medical wearables surges, product designers need increasingly flexible and reliable skin contact medical-grade adhesive solutions. Innovations in medical grade, stick-to-skin adhesives, and pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes are integral to the success of device designs.

Here at JBC Technologies, we are committed to highlighting the latest advancements offered by today’s top medical adhesive tape manufacturers like Berry Global’s Polyken brand, 3M, Avery Dennison Medical, Flexcon, Mactac, DermaMed, and others.

Today we highlight 3M and its newest medical-grade PSA  3M™ Medical Tape 4578, a solution that provides designers and OEMs in the medical wearables space with a 28-day stick-to-skin adhesive option.

Pushing the Limits of Long-Term Wear Adhesives

The industry standard for long-term wear medical adhesives was 14 days for years. In 2022, 3M exceeded that standard by developing 3M™ Medical Tape 4576, which achieved a 21-day wear time. But, with the proliferation of health technologies and remote patient monitoring, OEMs needed more.

Manufacturers in the medical wearables space began asking 3M for an adhesive solution that could stay attached to the skin longer, without sacrificing comfort or skin integrity. 3M began taking steps to develop a next-generation medical adhesive.

Audrey Sherman, Division Scientist for 3M Medical Solutions Division, was tasked to lead the initiative to develop a 28-day wear skin contact adhesive solution for medical wearables. She quickly gathered her team on a project she coined “Project Mercury,” a name chosen to remind them that time was their greatest obstacle: the timeline to develop a 28-day wear medical grade, skin-friendly adhesive was only one year.

The Innovation Process

Sherman’s team quickly got to work developing a skin contact adhesive that would effectively double the previous industry standard wear time.

  • First, they focused on test methods that could identify which existing medical grade PSAs had the potential to stay attached to the body longer.
  • Next, they analyzed manufacturing processes, acknowledging there wasn’t time to create a new process. The team whittled their options down to three manufacturing processes and combined those with the new test methods.
  • Then, the surviving adhesives were put to real-life tests. When the team conducted their first clinical trial, all three samples survived duration.
  • Finally, they selected the top adhesive that achieved 28 days of on-body wear time.

The 3M team introduced the winning product, 3M™ Medical Tape 4578, to the marketplace in February of 2023.

The Result: 3M™ Medical Tape 4578

3M™ Medical Tape 4578 is a spunlaced polyester nonwoven fabric medical tape that consists of a white spunlaced polyester nonwoven backing, coated with a pressure-sensitive acrylic adhesive.

The tape is suitable for cardiac monitors, blood glucose monitors, respiratory monitors, sensors, EKGs–anything that needs to receive and transmit a signal from the body, eliminating the need for a strap, belt, etc. It is designed to provide:

  • A conformable solution with fast grip and high tack.
  • A cohesive internal strength that lasts 28 days, even when exposed to lots of blood, sweat, or tears.
  • Extended wear even when packaged without a release liner.

Increased Wear Duration = Lower Costs of Care

According to some experts, increasing the wear duration of stick-to-skin medical wearables is the single greatest factor in reducing the cost of care per day for consumers. If a patient can use one wearable device per month, utilizing a 28-day wear adhesive solution like 3M™ Medical Tape 4578, it can significantly cuts costs and waste.

In addition, these longer-wear stick-to-skin adhesives are helping OEMs reduce waste, scrap, and contributing to overall sustainability.

JBC: A Partner You Can Trust, from Adhesive Selection to Die-Cutting & Delivery

Whether a product must stick to the skin for a few hours or a few weeks, choosing the right adhesive tape is crucial – and so is the process of converting that adhesive into a functional part.  JBC can help on both counts.

We leverage our wide network of material manufacturers, extensive in-house team of process engineers, extensive stable of rotary and flatbed die-cutting equipment, and cleanroom manufacturing to work with you at every stage of design and development. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you convert your design concepts into reality.

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