The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: August 5, 2008
Elmarco Begins Construction of a Unique Nanofiber Research Center
(Nanowerk News) The Liberec company Elmarco, a leading producer of nanofibre materials as well as machines for their production, has begun construction of a new research and development centre. The centre, currently in the early stages of construction in the Liberec North industrial zone, will cover an area of 1750 square meters and is being built to further progress the development of nanofibre materials, and in cooperation with global market leaders and top international universities, to widen the possible applications of nanofibre technology.
This is the start of a unique base for research and development in the Czech Republic. “The entire new research and development facility is co-financed from European Union funds through the OPPI (the Operational Programme for Industry and Innovation), in particular the “Potential” programme. The total budget for the investment exceeds 190 million Czech crowns, of which 75 million will come from EU funds.” explained Ladislav Mares, Elmarco executive, representing the company’s owners.
The Liberec company, currently world leader in technology for the creation of machines for the large scale production of nanofibres (super-fine fibres, approximately 1000 times finer than human hair), announced that as well as the research centre, a factory is also to follow. “We are creating a unique centre for research, development and production of nanofibre materials and simultaneously for the development and completion of machines capable of producing nanofibres on an industrial scale.” Mr Mares went on to say. “The new plant construction project should likewise be co-financed from EU funds. The planned investment into development and the production hall should ensure that the company’s production capacity will increase markedly and thus push up revenues from the nanotechnology sector such that they approach the one milliard Czech crown mark. By 2010, the number of employees should also have risen by 140, giving the company a total workforce of 310. However Mr Mares added that the main goal remained the retention of the company’s tempo and its lead internationally in the field of research and development.
This unique research centre should be finished in approximately one year. The construction of the production hall will follow – modules designed for the production of individually developed technologies and nano materials, and for the testing of pilot plant and prototype production lines. Research and innovation will be carried out together with all the leading universities with whom Elmarco has established cooperation.
Elmarco has successfully cooperated with leading Czech academic and scientific institutions (The Technical University of Liberec, AV ?R, VŠCHT, Charles University, Prague) on the development of nano technology, and this year has also entered into an extensive programme of partner cooperation and joint research abroad. Currently it is involved with research projects with the North Carolina State University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA and the Stellenbosch University in the Republic of South Africa.
Since May and June the development of new nanofibre textiles and materials for the US Army has been taking place in the USA, with the help of Elmarco researchers, and using the Nanospider technology, which the company developed in cooperation with the Technical University in Liberec. Elmarco is cooperating with the North Carolina State University on the first project and with MIT on the project for the army.
Together with Stellenbosch University in the Republic of South Africa, the Liberec company is developing nanofibre yarns which are to have unique characteristics, for example the ability to reduce water permeability or maximize protection against the transmission of infection. The Liberec company has a number of other partnership contracts for cooperation on research in preparation. One concrete project just about to begin in Singapore is with the University of Singapore, and will be concerned with the development of filtration materials as well as the production of special panels for a revolutionary use of solar energy.
Another project in the pipeline is with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - CSIRO in Australia which is concerned with materials capable of maximum sound absorption as well as being thermally insulating, and composite materials of high rigidity. Research in Asia and Australia will commence this autumn.
Elmarco, which has risen from almost a family business into the role of internationally recognized company, significantly influencing trends in the use of nanofibre technology, is among other things holder of the Nano 50™ award, issued by the prestigious electronically distributed magazine Nanotech Briefs – the official NASA periodical, and is the holder of two nominations for the Index Award at this year’s INDEX 08 trade fair in Geneva, where six hundred exhibitors – producers of nanofibres from around the world – met.