In September 2012, Patagonia converted its initial investment to a 15% equity stake in AeonClad Coatings. The two companies have established a state-of-the-art RD&D laboratory in Austin, Texas.
Patagonia's first Encapsil down garments will debut March 1, 2013 in limited, special-edition quantities online and in select Patagonia retail stores in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Water-repellent down garments are, for the first time, available from several manufacturers in the outdoor industry. Patagonia, however, has taken a unique approach with Encapsil. The patented plasma nanotechnology uses safe, silicone-based chemistry that, unlike competitors' products, is free of fluorocarbons.
Patagonia's Encapsil technology not only generates water-repellent down on a par with competitive offerings, but also delivers a significant advantage no other manufacturer can: an unprecedented, off-the-charts fill power of 1000 cubic inches per ounce.
Rose Marcario, Patagonia's COO and CFO, said that "Patagonia is proud to announce its equity stake in AeonClad Coatings and resulting Encapsil technology. This investment represents Patagonia's strategic approach to expanded technology partnerships and owned product innovations."
"Our partnership with AeonClad has created a rare opportunity to enhance the performance of down – most notably with regard to water-repellency, durability and cutting-edge fill power," noted Lee Turlington, Patagonia's global vice president of product, "Our Encapsil technology and this unique plasma deposition process opens the door for the development of exciting future product innovations - even beyond down, even beyond the outdoor industry."
Encapsil technology uses a proprietary process and equipment that safely and dramatically increases the down feather's loft, warmth-to-weight-ratio, strength and water resistance. The unique pulse-plasma treatment modifies the molecular structure of the down fiber to make it more hydrophobic, but also strengthens its delicate, complex, tree-like structure. This, in turn, boosts the down's lofting power by more than a third.
"We have a 40-year-long heritage of breakthrough innovation within the outdoor industry," says Casey Sheahan, Patagonia's CEO. "Encapsil water-repellent down, with its unprecedented 1000-fill-power is a game-changing technology that launches the company into a fifth decade of significant firsts."
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