As long as we continue to make Twaron and our other products, we will continue to innovate. We do this through intensive cooperation with knowledge institutes, universities, specialized companies and our customers.
Open innovation to create value along the chain
Teijin Aramid is a front runner when it comes to delivering technical performance. By following an Open Innovation approach, we stay at the cutting edge of our business. We invite our customers to come to our laboratories to exchange ideas, to take part in experiments, to run tests, and to work with us to develop new products and applications. And we collaborate throughout the value chain to bring these new products to the market.
Speeding development of bio-based material
An example of our intensive collaboration is our research into bio-based raw materials. In this area, we have entered into a partnership with Avantium, a specialized company with a patented process for producing a natural feedstock for making new bio-based polymers. We are working especially closely with Professor Rastogi who also works with Loughborough University in the UK and Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. The aim of the project, which started in Jun 2010, is to replace the raw materials needed for important polymers – which are still petroleum-based – with a natural material derived, for example, from waste material generated by cane sugar production. We also aim to avoid competing with the food chain.
“Thanks to our partnership with Teijin Aramid, we can develop new and exciting applications for our patented technology. We are working together to study the unique characteristics of polymer products in which we have introduced bio-based raw materials. This enables us to speed up the development and application of bio-based materials.”
Tom van Aken, CEO Avantium
Over the years, internal cooperation has also resulted in the successful in-house development of optimized production processes where sustainability and product innovation play crucial roles. One such example is our new enhanced spinning method: Twaron Jet Spinning. Its key technological breakthrough came when Teijin Aramid R&D developed a new para-aramid solution – one with both a high molecular weight and the right viscosity for being spun with a kind of paint jet. This technology has already been proven in a continuously operating pilot plant. Jet Spinning produces two new products: a fibrid type product with a film-like structure, and a pulp type product with a very fine pulp structure. These jet-spun products differ from regular Twaron pulp in that they can act as a self-binder.
Colleagues from our R&D and Business Incubation teams work closely with paper makers to convert the jet-spun pulp into high-performance paper products that offer a unique combination of thickness, strength, porosity, dielectrics, chemical stability and heat resistance.
New product development with university and startup company
Our new polyethylene tape, Endumax, is the result of a unique collaboration with colleagues from our Japanese parent company, Teijin Ltd, with the University of Loughborough in the UK and with several companies, including Novameer BV, an innovative start-up company based in Veghel (NL). The new Endumax tape is strong, stiff, tough, cut-resistant, and highly resistant to chemical substances. It also has a long service life.
Following extensive research, we opted for a production technology that does not require any solvents. As a result, it has a lower environmental impact, as it requires less energy and results in lower emissions to water and air. Another benefit of this solvent-free process is that we can build small and flexible production units.
We started this co-development project with a small team. Its key challenge was to come up with a new technology focused on quality, potential profitability, and on delivering environmental benefits. Our Open Innovation approach and good collaboration within Teijin has made all the difference.