Sectors covered: Technological innovation in textiles and clothing
Innovation priority: Smart, high-performance materials
ELIIT funding: €70 000
The water and air filtration sector is the largest market for nanofibre products. Moreover, this market is growing, with predicted annual growth currently at around 35%. This is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased the need for antimicrobial and antiviral filtration textiles.
In the area of nanofibre-based textile filter production, there is now an urgent need for environmentally friendly and cost-effective surface treatments which do not contain organic solvents or caustic solutions.
What's the goal?
To address this need, the Plasma Nanotex project is transferring industrially proven technology developed by the CEPLANT Key Enabling Technologies (KET) Centre. The technology is low-cost plasma surface activation of textile materials. It is being transferred to Nafigate, an SME making nanofibre-based textile air and water filters.
This transfer is solving critical problems with Nafigate’s filters, such as weak adhesion between the nanofibres and the substrate material - insufficient hydrophilicity - which reduces the effectiveness of the filtration process and water filter clogging. It also provides the basis for constructing a new high-throughput production line, thereby boosting Nafigate’s competitiveness.
In line with its mission as a KET Centre, CEPLANT is transferring the results to other European SMEs in the textile, clothing, leather and footwear sector as part of the implementation phase. In the context of the pandemic, this will open up possibilities for the technology to have a high economic and social impact.
The project’s key challenge is adjusting the technology to meet Nafigate’s high-throughput production needs. This will enable the company to improve the performance of its innovative and award-winning EcoBrane and Nanocleaner filters, and support the design of the new production line.
How has ELIIT helped?
The main impact of the ELIIT support was using plasma treatment to create a new generation of nanofibre membranes with superior adhesion properties.
Another impact is on the market position. Before the project, Nafigate’s factory was fitted with standard nanofibre production equipment. This support gave it a unique selling point by enabling the company to offer pre and post-production plasma treatments.
Further impacts concern the company’s internal organisation, with a specific team to focus on this project’s activities.
Another significant benefit has been seen during the mentoring – not only for researchers but also for administrative departments. Communication with our mentor allowed us to look at the project’s implementation from a different perspective.
Meet the partners
Nafigate is a Czech high-tech company that deals with breakthrough innovations and technologies for market entry. Its unique know-how makes it a world leader in its field.Its cooperation with a global network of scientists and industrial partners enables it to continually innovate. Nafigate has participated in multiple EU-funded research and development (R&D) projects and won several prestigious international awards.
Nafigate’s spin-off company, Nafigate Park, focuses on producing nanofibres. It makes innovative air and water purification filters that can filter out not only solid particles but also bacteria and viruses.
1 of 4 KET Centres in the Czech Republic, CEPLANT is a research centre within the Department of Physical Electronics (DPE) of the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University in Brno, the country’s second-largest public university.
It performs R&D in basic and applied physics, specialising in plasma physics, plasma diagnostics and follow-up applications. The DPE has been involved in this research for more than 50 years, resulting in CEPLANT’s inclusion in the Roadmap of Large Research Infrastructures of the Czech Republic in 2018.
SME: Nafigate Corporation a.s.
Country: Czech Republic
Tech provider: Masaryk University – CEPLANT
Country: Czech Republic