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Key developments in production of CRAiLAR fibre
14
Mar '12
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc, which produces and markets CRAiLAR, a natural fiber made from flax and other bast fibers, announced key developments this week toward advancing its first full phase of production in order to supply its CRAiLAR fiber to global partners.

Step Change Increases Capacity, Opens Opportunity for Third-Party Manufacturing
In 2011, the Company embarked on a yearlong effort to optimize production of its CRAiLAR technology. The resulting process improvements effectively reduce the enzymatic process time by 40 percent, thereby significantly reducing the overall CRAiLAR fiber cycle time. This reduction in process time significantly increases production capacity in each planned manufacturing facility. More critically, the CRAiLAR optimization allowed NAT to evaluate third-party manufacturing partners for that process, which will further increase overall production volume and accelerate growth of its flagship product, CRAiLAR Flax fiber.

"This milestone is the culmination of the last year's efforts of our innovations team, led by Jason Finnis, our CIO," said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. "Intended as a strategic initiative that would maximize the volume capability of our first facility this year, it's now apparent that the improvements in efficiency and resultant economics of our CRAiLAR process allows us to consider third party manufacturing as a critical option in our expansion plans."

Partnership Inked with Tintoria Piana
As a result of this optimized process, Tintoria Piana entered into an agreement to execute the CRAiLAR enzymatic process exclusively for NAT, augmenting the Company's plans for manufacturing capacity. The agreement calls for Tintoria to commence production in Q2 2012. Tintoria's history in textiles dates to 1582 in Biella, Italy. The privately held, family-owned business has dyed fiber for the traditional apparel business for more than 60 years, and operates principally out of Cartersville, Georgia in North America.

"This move would be consistent with most other branded global industries, where outsourced manufacturing allows for faster expansion of the technology proposition and resulting brand message for our partners, while significantly reducing the capital requirements to scale up to meet demand," Barker added.

New Facility Leased in Florence County, South Carolina, Governor Nikki Haley Welcomes Company to the State
Additionally, NAT plans to open a facility in the 143,500 square foot Delta Mills Cypress plant on Old River Road in Pamplico, South Carolina. An initial USD $8 million investment that will create 25 jobs is expected as part of the Company's establishment of production facilities there. Flax, grown as a winter crop in Florence and surrounding counties, will be processed out of NAT's new facility in Pamplico, S.C.

"We are constantly working to bring investments and jobs to all areas of our state, but it's always exciting to see a company invest in one of South Carolina's rural areas. We celebrate Naturally Advanced Technologies decision to locate in Pamplico and create 25 new jobs," said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

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