The manufacturing of nanomembranes produced by well-known Czech Nanospider machines located in the factory in north Bohemia will be joined by the production of respirators in Pilsen. NAFIGATE Park will produce these protective medical devices together with its industrial partner. As the seemingly never-ending coronavirus pandemic continues to affect large parts of the world, the demand for protective equipment is growing. NAFIGATE Park recently separated from its research company NAFIGATE Corporation, and will now focus on industrial production. The team from this company has been researching nanofibers for the past 15 years.
Nanomembranes of the highest quality
“Our goal is to provide people will very effective protection against viruses, bacteria and dust particles”, said Michal Mareš, director of NAFIGATE Park.
He is convinced that the production of high-quality nanomembranes will pay off. According to him, customers will gradually learn to distinguish between products that just use the label “nano” as a mere marketing gimmick, and those that represent the true technological cutting edge. Nanomembranes from Nafigate Corporation were also tested by the Institute of Scientific Instruments at the Czech Academy of Sciences, which in the past helped to make city of Brno famous as an international centre of electron microscopy thanks to its research and development. “The nanomembranes are perfectly compact, so we can expect high efficiency when it comes to capturing particles even at the nanometer scale”, said Eliška Materna Mikmeková from the Institute. The protective equipment, which includes a high-quality nanomembrane, can be washed, sterilized in numerous ways and used repeatedly – even fifty times, which equals to several months. “We specialize in high-tech nanomembranes, and that is relatively a small segment. Our products will therefore be quite expensive,” said Lenka Mynářová, co-owner of NAFIGATE Corporation. The company recently obtained a European patent for its manufacturing process. Production will reach tens of millions of face masks and respirators per years. NAFIGATE is already registering demand both in the Czech Republic and especially abroad – in Europe as well as other continents, such as countries on the Arabian Peninsula.
Former textile factory
The first factory for the production of nanofibre membranes was opened by NAFIGATE Park in the former Feigl & Widrich textile factory in Andělská Hora. It was built in 1904-1907 and is now a cultural monument. In addition to the production of nanomembranes, the factory will also have its own research and development department. “We want to lead the way in the development of our industry and we intend to maintain our position as a leading innovator,” emphasized Michal Mareš. The years of research into nanofibre membranes will now be transformed into production thanks to the support provided by European funds; specifically through the domestic OPPIK programme. The funding for the nanofactory project in Andělská Hora was provided by the shareholders of NAFIGATE Corporation. Lenka Mynářová points out that sectors that require long-term research have remained on the sidelines of venture capital attention in the Czech Republic compared to, for example information technology. However, the co-owner of NAFIGATE Corporation sees hope for future Czech start-ups in new EU programmes, such as the Recovery Fund and the Just Transition Fund.
Nanospider leads the way
Two Nanospider machines for the production of nanofibre materials have been delivered to the factory in Andělská Hora by the Elmarco company. The renowned Czech Nanospider technology, which was invented at the Technical University of Liberec in 2003, will also be used by the laboratory facilities in the development sector of NAFIGATE Park.
“The Nanospider machines are the only ones that can produce nanofibres on an industrial scale and with such quality. We have the latest generation of these machines in Andělská Hora,” said Michal Mareš.
NAFIGATE Corporation has been cooperating with the Elmarco company for a long time. They have used their machines several years ago for the pilot production of nanomembranes and testing of customer requirements. NAFIGATE has thus already started exporting membranes on a limited scale, which will be used for water and air purification in various parts of the world. However, in view of the coronavirus pandemic, priority has now been given to protective medical devices.
Innovation – the Czech way
Thanks to Nanospider technology, the Czech Republic has significant innovation potential. “We are ahead of the world and can produce nanofibres of the highest quality,” says Lenka Mynářová. The fact that this technology was developed in the Czech Republic and is still being further developed here gives Czech scientists and developers a strong competitive advantage – it is available to them in any form, be it industrial or scientific. “Apart from nanofibre membranes, there aren’t many fields where our country can say that it has the world’s largest production capacities in” adds Lenka Mynářová. Nanofibers have great advantages. While nanoparticles been the target of criticism because of the way the harm ecosystems and organism, nanofibers do not pose similar risks.
For further information, please contact Lenka Mynářová, firstname.lastname@example.org