FibeRio Helps Commercialize Nanofibers
In an earlier article we discussed Celluforce, a company looking to commercialize Nanocellulose which is a nanomaterial that is environmentally friendly and possesses superior properties with a variety of potential applications. One company producing and helping to commercialize a wide variety of novel and readily available nanomaterials is FibeRio.
Founded in 2009, Texas based Fibrio has received over $16 million in funding from the likes of SABIC Ventures, Aster Capital, Silverton Partners, and Cottonwood Technology Fund. The Company’s main focus is to supply manufacturing equipment for the production of nanofibers at a scale that makes commercialization of nanofibers economically feasible. The company does so through the use of their Forcespinning technology to produce nanofibers at a very cheap cost.
Nanofibers are defined as fibers with diameters less than 100 nanometers. The primary interests in nanofibers revolve around increased surface area and novel mechanical properties of materials in the nanoscale. As the fiber diameter shrinks into the nanoscale, the integrity of mechanical properties of that material increases by orders of magnitude. The surface area to volume ratio of the material increases up to 1,000 times higher than a microfiber. Many materials when processed into nanofiber dramatically improve electron transfer. Thermal resistance of popular insulative materials can be increased by almost 50%. Tensile strength has been shown to increase by up to 40% over the same weight of material when spun into nanofiber. Many base materials can be spun into nanofibers including polyolefins, polyesters, polyamides, copolymers, biopolymers, and ceramics.
Until now, nanofibers have had limited product applications due to their high production costs, inconsistent morphologies and low yield manufacturing processes. The application of nanofiber technology to commercial products is due to the growing awareness that nanofibers enhance the performance of many products ranging from filtration to textiles, from tissue engineering to drug delivery, from energy to cosmetics, with more potential applications being researched in laboratories around the world.
As these technologies transition from research to commercial applications, their success is critically dependent on the availability of low cost development and volume fabrication of nanofibers for the cost effective delivery of commercial products. Fiberio is supplying equipment and processes that are meeting these demands. Utilizing rapid response manufacturing methodologies, the company is quickly developing and delivering their Forcespinning technology to the market while producing the highest quality and most cost-effective equipment.
No information seems to be available regarding FibeRio’s intellectual property and licensing practices. The equipment Fiberio sells to researchers and companies is used to produce novel nanomaterials at a cheap cost that can then be used in commercial products. While Fiberio receives revenue from the sale of their machines, whether or not they are receiving royalties from materials developed with their machines remains in question. Nevertheless, the broad potential applications for nanofibres that can now be realized through FibeRio’s economical production methods make this space an interesting one to watch going forward.