The History of the AKTON® Polymer

Founded in 1970, Action Products, a Maryland-based company created a dry viscoelastic polymer that has revolutionized the medical cushioning sector. Since 1970, it has established itself as a leading manufacturer and distributor of cushioning and comfort products used in the medical and related industries throughout the world.

Most of the company’s products are derived from an ultra-soft synthetic gel-like material. This unique, shock-absorbing material, branded Akton®, was invented by the company’s founder, Dr. McElroy, in the basement of his home more than 40 years ago. What began as a scientific pursuit to develop padding that would help prevent pressure sores in immobilized patients has grown to a corporation that sells over 2000 products for hundreds of application. Its diversified markets include hospitals, home health care dealers and therapists, military and law enforcement agencies, equine and shooting sports and a wide variety of original equipment manufacturers.

Wheelchair cushions and bed pads were the first products sold by the company. In the mid-1980s, Action expanded its market to include hospital operating rooms. Research indicated anesthetised patients were developing pressure sores during surgery, similar to those seen on bedridden or wheelchair-bound individuals. A product that could prevent such tissue trauma was in high demand. By 1990, the company had designed approximately 50 products for its operating room line. These products include table pads, head pads, chest rolls, patient positioners, pediatric positioners, and specialty surgical frame pads. 

The company’s second major line of medical products serves the home health care industry. Besides the standard wheelchair seating and positioning cushions and surface support pads, Action also manufactures heel and elbow pads, commode pads and hand exercisers for rehabilitation.