Teijin Frontier, the fibre product converting business of Japanese conglomerate Teijin Group, has partnered with Murata Manufacturing to develop what they claim is the world’s first piezoelectric fabric with an antimicrobial performance.
The Pieclex fabric generates electrical energy and exhibits antimicrobial performance when a motion is applied. It realises antimicrobial performance by converting motions such as human movement into electrical energy by combining Murata’s piezoelectric technology cultivated through development and manufacture of electronic components with Teijin Frontier’s fabric technology, which spans from yarns and materials to product manufacturing.
Pieclex also contributes to protecting the global environment as it uses plant-derived polylactic acid (PLA) as its raw material and does not apply chemical agents and organic solvents, the firms say. PLA is produced by fermented starch extracted from plants to produce lactic acid then bonded.
Since plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and synthesise starch, Pieclex does not increase the total amount of carbon dioxide that causes global warming.
The two companies have established Pieclex Co Ltd as a joint venture company for the purpose of research, development, manufacturing and sales of the fabric.
Going forward, the company will develop a wide range of applications of Pieclex, from clothing products such as sportswear and innerwear to industrial products including filters and sanitary materials.
Production and sales will start this year, with the goal of JPY10bn (US$92m) in sales by fiscal 2025.
“The fabric developed by the newly established Pieclex Co, Ltd makes use of Murata’s piezoelectric technology and knowledge cultivated through products such as SAW filters, resonators, and sensors,” says Murata’s chairman of the board and president Tsuneo Murata. “To the present, Murata has contributed mainly in the field of electronic equipment, and I am very happy that this combination with Teijin Frontier’s fabric technology will let us challenge the creation of new value in the field of fabrics. This joint venture will make the most of both companies’ strengths and contribute to the creation of prosperous lifestyles through electrical fabrics.”
Teijin Frontier’s president and CEO Shinji Nikko adds: “The piezoelectric fabric developed by Pieclex Co, Ltd realises antimicrobial performance without using chemical agents. It also contributes to environmental load reduction as it applies plant-derived raw materials. Pieclex integrates Murata and Teijin Frontier’s technologies and I believe this innovative fabric will be essential for sustainable future lifestyle.”