A new attitude to life – what textiles can do

Do you want to be 90 years old and still enjoy life to the fullest? “Sure, if I stay healthy”, is the most frequent answer. Unfortunately, this cannot be taken for granted.

Many companies and research institutes are concerning themselves with social and demographic change as well as health promotion from a wide range of different perspectives, and are deriving important measures from this work. The basis for all activities is formed by statistical surveys on diabetes, obesity and the changing age structure.


More than 21% of people will be over 60 years old.
(UN report World Population Ageing 1950 – 2050)

Not only that: dietary habits are changing and bringing further consequences with them.

1 person in 3 is overweight.

(WHO/global diabetes report 2015) []

Today, vaccinations have already eliminated many diseases. Other diseases, in contrast, have become even stronger and will continue to increase in the coming years. One example is diabetes.

1 adult in 11 suffers from diabetes

By 2040, it will be 1 in 10
(WHO/global diabetes report 2015)

People suffering from diabetes or obesity in particular need to learn that their conditions will lead to further negative side effects. For example, wounds heal very poorly. Wounds that does not heal in an orderly set of stages and in a predictable amount of time are considered to be chronic. Even the body itself does not have the ability to heal chronic wounds without appropriate medical treatment.

These wounds are not only a physical burden for the patient: they also represent a major financial burden for health insurance companies and hospitals. In the meantime, an entire industry is engaged in dealing with the topic of wound care – not just to relieve or support health insurance companies and doctors, but also to enable patients to return to normal life without restrictions. In this context, the focus is on the healing support of chronic wounds, which are estimated to constitute 12 percent of all wounds.



Chronic wounds can cover large areas and exude a lot of fluid. It has been found that wounds heal better and faster in a moist environment. For this reason, it is important for the healing process to remove exudate from the wound while keeping it moist. Wound dressings thus need to be very absorbent, avoid adhering to the wound and be easily removable.

Woundcare Animation

For many years already, Freudenberg Performance Materials has been working on materials for wound dressings that actively support the healing process of small and large wounds. As a recognized development partner, Freudenberg works with the market leaders in wound care, developing new product solutions for these companies.

Marcus Simon


“The most important thing is to precisely understand the market and its requirements. By doing this, our R&D team can translate these requirements into specific product performance based on nonwovens, foam or other materials. To bring an innovation to a successful market launch, it is also important to work with the right partner, who tests the effectiveness of our materials in the form of end products in the clinical field.”

Marcus Simon, Business Segment Manager Medical

Marcus Simon, Business Segment Manager Medical, and his team worked together with a customer to develop a gelling wound dressing for chronic wounds, which has been proved to accelerate the healing process.


Although gelling wound dressings are nothing new, Freudenberg’s development offers significant advantages for clinicians and patients. The homogeneous and uniform surface of the material makes the wound dressing more absorbent and means that it does not need changing so often. Its high stability in the moist state makes it much easier to change the dressing because the material generally remains whole when being changed.  

Dörthe Buckenauer knows from personal experience what significance this development has in reality. Following surgery on her leg, the Freudenberg employee suffered for months with a badly healing wound. All attempts at treatment had proved unsuccessful. When her colleagues heard about her suffering, they gave her a sample of the new gelling wound dressing. She took it to the hospital and asked the doctors to use it on her. The results were successful. Just a few weeks later, the wound had healed – even to the astonishment of the doctors.


“I had been suffering from an open wound on my leg for months, making it difficult for me to walk. It was only with the new wound dressing that my Freudenberg colleagues had developed with one of our customers that the wound finally healed.”

Dörthe Buckenauer, Customer Service, Freudenberg Medical

For Dr. Bernd Schlesselmann, Manager R&D Medical, Hygiene, Adsorptives, this was the best confirmation he could have wished for that this innovation could have a major impact. Together with his team, he is already working on further innovations that will improve the lives of patients.

It is a very good feeling to see your own work leading to people being helped.

Dr. Schlesselmann, Manager R&D Medical, Hygiene, Adsorptives

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