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New Hydrospace fabric to open the door for new markets
07
Aug '08
Yorkshire Forward is investing £165k in Leeds based Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) to develop a fabric that will have many commercial uses ranging from medical to protective clothing.

Hydrospace is a new and unique nonwoven fabric which has channels running throughout, that can be filled with liquids, gels or solid particles.

The commercial potential of this new fabric is vast with applications in numerous fields including:

• Wipes – for, household, medical, cosmetic, baby, industrial and domestic use
• Filters – for the filtration of blood, air, gas, petrol, chemical, etc.
• Protective – clothing, shields and blinds
• Insulation - acoustic and thermal

Chris Fowler, MD of NIRI said; “Hydrospace provides a controlled storage and delivery mechanism for numerious active ingredients which is simple to manufacture and is relevant to many markets and applications. The grant from Yorkshire Forward is a major boost and will help ensure that this technology fulfills its potential. Of particular interest is the potential for Hydrospace to improve filters that remove harmful pathogens and toxins from blood.”

Hydrospace fabrics are made using a process called hydroentanglement which involves fibres being blasted with high pressure water jets which bonds them together. Hydrospace's novelty lies in the ability to create and fill channels inside the fabric.

NIRI was formed in 2005 as a University of Leeds spin-out Company, specialising in developing and enhancing nonwoven fabrics to meet the needs of businesses worldwide. Since the spin-out, NIRI has grown its commercial consultancy business and in parallel developed its own range of products including anti-bacterial door pads and slash resistant roller blinds both of which will be launched this year. NIRI uses novel technology and their specialist knowledge to solve industrial problems and help clients innovate in many market sectors.

Recent projects where NIRI have innovated successful solutions include; insulating the Houses of Parliament, recycling expensive waste material, developing a novel wound dressing, and enhancing feminine hygiene products.

Jim Farmery, Head of Innovation at Yorkshire Forward, said: “Yorkshire Forward is delighted to be supporting NIRI in this innovative project. We are committed to encouraging businesses in our region to innovate through a range of activities. Yorkshire Forward's grants allow for the successful research and development of new products, which can open up a range of new markets for the region's businesses”.

Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute

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