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Spectra Helps Make Prosthetics More Comfortable and Durable

10 March 2006

Comfort Products, the US provider of knitted orthotic and prosthetic products, uses Honeywell's high-performance material in its SpectraCarb material, a Spectra and carbon composite, for orthotic and prosthetic laminations.

The company also used the material in its custom-designed Spectra Sock which protects the inside of prosthetic limbs.

""Spectra fibre’s strength has made it a material of choice for military armour, protective gear and high-performance ropes,"" said Elizabeth Parrish, global marketing manager for Honeywell's Advanced Fibers and Composites business. ""These same characteristics make it ideal for prosthetics, where improvements in strength, resiliency and weight can make all the difference.""

Traditionally, prosthetic limb manufacturers used carbon to add strength. However, its rigidity often created razor-sharp edges that could damage suspension sleeves -- an aid that partially covers the prosthesis and the patient's exposed skin -- and the prosthetic's external casing. These edges can cause discomfort for users.

More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are missing extremities, according to the industry's leading trade association.

Comfort Products uses SpectraCarb to create strong, flexible sockets that fit around residual limbs and allow prosthetics to properly attach and fit. Older, carbon-based sockets were too rigid to allow internal adjustments after the initial lamination, and a new socket would have to be created if it did not properly fit the amputee. SpectraCarb allows professionals to shape and adjust the socket for a better fit. SpectraCarb also provides a more flexible, comfortable socket for the user, and a more cost-effective product for the manufacturer.

Spectra Socks protect prosthetic limbs from damage caused by sharp internal carbon structures. The sock extends the life of the prosthetic limb, saving amputees and medical companies from the aggravation and economic cost of frequent replacements. In addition, the Spectra Sock eliminates squeaking noises that often result from the constant motion of the internal carbon structures during use.

Comfort Products provides Spectra-based products to Windy City Fabricators, a brace and artificial limb manufacturer.

""Our Spectra fibre-based products provide unmatched resiliency, so the people wearing them have fewer visits to the doctor resulting from performance problems or discomfort,"" said Peter Panuncialman, president of Windy City Fabricators. ""The SpectraCarb products offer great comfort because they're more flexible than carbon-only products.""

""By using Spectra fibre, we've been able to deliver on our vision of providing individuals with prosthetic and orthotic products that are more comfortable and durable,"" said Michael Burton, director of sales and marketing at Comfort Products.