If Time Heals Wounds, Why Do We Still Use a 93-Year Old Band-aid?

Band-Aids; we have all used them, from minor scrapes to cuts and even bug bites. We see them at the doctor’s office, the hospital, and the pharmacy. Generally, Band-Aids are the same: a piece of gauze surrounded by an adhesive strip. Though they do come in all shapes and sizes, we usually see and experience them looking like this:

That’s right! They were invented in 1920, which in turn makes the Band-Aid 93 years-old. They were created by Earle Dickinson and manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. What is interesting to look at is the innovation of the Band-Aid over its long life span. We have Band-Aids that are for large wounds, ones that wrap around, others with built in antiseptic on the gauze pad, and even little circle ones for small cuts. The product itself has undergone changes, but understandably, the process remains the same, attaching a gauze pad to a piece of tape (later a vinyl adhesive) and covering it in crinoline to keep it sterile. This process is done regardless of shape and size, and for the antiseptic ones, there is one extra step in the manufacturing process to add the disinfectant.

Enter Tsai Cheng-Yu and Hsu Hao-Ming. They have created the new Band-Aid, the AmoeBand. It claims to be more comfortable thanks to it being adjustable with perforated edges as well as a pH sensitive gauze pad which will tell the consumer whether or not the wound is infected. This design is a drastic change from the original that is mass produced. How could a company compete with this product, if it’s popular with consumers, if they have to change their whole process design of manufacturing?


Think of how much money would have to be spent either creating new manufacturing facilities or altering current ones. Even further, this process would have to be planned, designed, tested, and eventually perfected. The AmoeBAND adds the necessity to purchase pH sensitive gauze and add a manufacturing step to ensure the perforations. It is easy to understand from labs in class that a process is never perfect and differs. While each AmoeBand manufacturer may believe they have the fastest process, another may have a cheaper process. There are a lot of factors that will go into actual implementation of this product, if it were to become popular amongst consumers.

However, before all that, there will be the need to convince upper management of companies that this is the product of the future, a product that will reap larger reward, and could be easier to manufacture. That will take research, development, and sturdy planning. Band-Aids have not changed much since the 1920’s, so this could revolutionize the industry and push forward innovation.

Do you think a product like this could be produced by companies to net a positive gain? Would the AmoeBand even catch on with consumers?



Mary Bellis: http://inventors.about.com/od/bstartinventions/a/bandaid.htm


Cristina Lindblad: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-14/reinventions-band-aid

11 thoughts on “If Time Heals Wounds, Why Do We Still Use a 93-Year Old Band-aid?

  1. You present a very interesting point in your analysis of the manufacturing process. Consider what even a slight increase in costs would mean for producers of band-aids. I’m assuming the band-aid category is saturated and stagnant. This means companies are competing on price and higher costs may prevent them from introducing an updated band-aid. It seems simple economics may have prevented an upgrade to the Band-Aid for almost a century.

  2. This made me think about all the times I scraped my knee when I was younger and all of the bandages that I had used. This new innovation of bandages containing pH levels that could detect if your wound is infected or not seems to be a money making idea and also it makes me wish there could have already been a product like this produced when I was younger. Companies will definitely be competing on price and higher costs, which means the competitors will have to change their strategies, such as becoming more cost effective.

  3. The question you left us with really makes me think companies could receive a positive net gain. People just like other companies are always looking for what is new and what will be next and I think this could be it. It would be great to know if a cut is infected and if antiseptics are needed. Also I know every one know the feeling when a bandage doesn’t exactly fit around the cut the way you would want it to. The process would be interesting to see if from a management point this can be made with low costs and high efficiency.I will continue to follow this topic and hope to see the product on shelves in the future.

  4. Reading your article brings to mind the concept of the “better mouse trap”. Although hundreds of new designs and concepts come out to better trap mice, the original is still the staple. Simplicity and product recognition trump ideas that in many ways are superior. Unfortunately, it would seem plausible for this new band-aid to have similar results in terms of sales. The name is not as “catchy” to say and with the popularity of the band-aid name, that’s not good. Even if consumers purchase the product, is anyone who gets a scrape going to exclaim, “Get me an AmoeBand!” My guess would be no. Much like consumers who ask for a Kleenex when they want a facial tissue, consumers will most likely ask for a Band-Aid when they want an AmoeBand. It will be fantastic if the product catches on since there is nothing for frustrating that trying to put a typical band-aid on a cut knee just to have it come off at the first flex of the joint. Nice post overall.

  5. Hmm, this is a very interesting article. I for one would love to have a new kind of band-aid on the market. It’s not that I’m not satisfied with Johnson&Johnson’s Band-Aids, but it’s that there isn’t much on the market for joints. This AmoeBand sounds good to me, because I always get blisters on my knuckles during the winter. Yes, there are band-aids that are directed towards cuts and scrapes on joints right now, but from my experience, they’re not that effective. I don’t think it matters that much if it’s a catchy name or not. People might still call it a band-aid, even though they have AmoeBands at home instead. So yeah, I definitely think that it would catch on with consumers!

  6. This is a great example of when a company stops innovating its products. Johnson&Johnson probably felt they were safe to just stick with there old band-aid product, and ended up making only minor changes to their product line, such as having the latest cartoon character on it. AmoeBand probably came unexpectedly for them, having Johnson&Johnson scrambling to invest more in R&D. Personally, I did not know of this new product, and in order to gain market share they must market the product effectively.

  7. I think that parents and doctors would be interested in this products. The pH component is very interesting to me. Doctors use bandages all the time after surgery, and this could help detect infection in the early stages. Not only should associates be lobbying the decision-makers to adopt the new product, the consumers of the product should be as well.

  8. I think this is a great idea. A Ph testing band aid to alert when infection is present is a million, if not billion dollar concept. I agree that band aids being 93 years old seems a little bit odd. It is even odder that they really havent evolved with the rest of the world. It almost an old technology, but yet effective still. I think the best way for this new type of bandaid to become successful is for the creators to have a major corporation, with a network like Johnson & Johnson, to supply, manufacture, and distribute the new band aid.

  9. I really enjoyed the question you left us at the end of the article. Like other people who have commented, I also believe it would be great and beneficial to the consumer to know if a cut is infected and if antiseptics are necessary. From past experience, I have found that many band aids are difficult to stick on the scraped/cut area of the skin. By the new Amoeband having perforated edges will allow for better comfort and allow the Amoeband to stick better on the skin. I will definitely be following up on this topic in the future.

  10. On the surface, this seems like a great idea and that it would be extremely popular with consumers. In order for it to be popular however, I feel that it would have to include something to stop the infection and not just inform consumers that it is infected. Why not just disinfect the wound with hydrogen peroxide and then apply the band-aid feeling safe that it is disinfected anyways. I do not necessarily see this being effective on the market unless some sort of measure is taken to try and incorporate a way to stop the infection from growing or preventing it all together.

  11. It’s really interesting and kind of unbelievable that it took this long for a company to come in and re-invest the band-aid. It makes sense, though, right? It’s a band-aid… it’s been working for so many years… why change it? I think it will take a few years for this new brand to be integrated into the market, but could definitely see this being a big problem for Johnson and Johnson.

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