Fighting the pandemic with FUNCTIONAL TEXTILE FINISHES

Sven Ghyselinck – CEO, Devan

The pandemic has shaken the entire textile industry to its foundations and has accelerated the use of functional textile technologies. In no time, the industry embraced antimicrobial / viral-reducing agents in order to make textiles free of viral contamination and cross-contamination. Belgian textile technology company Devan Chemicals quickly responded to this new situation with their flagship product, known under its tradename as BI-OME®. But, that’s not all: in the meantime, Devan launched some other technologies that are definitely worth looking at.

In September 2020 Devan announced new test results confirming the high performance virus-reducing capabilities of its BI-OME fabric coating technology on both unwashed and intensely washed fabrics. “In view of the COVID-19 pandemic and fast-approaching autumn/winter flu season, we were keen to provide textile manufacturers with concrete assurance regarding virus reduction performance on washed samples according to ISO 18184. This exceeds the limitations of the post-wash antimicrobial results most commonly shared for other technologies, giving the textile industry a clear, more precise overview of performance and wash durability,” comments Sven Ghyselinck – CEO, Devan Chemicals.

Excellent after-wash results

Over recent months, Devan has worked closely with a series of international third party laboratories to test different fabric substrates against a wide range of enveloped viruses. Before washing, samples treated with Devan BI-OME score good to excellent (99% and higher, according to ISO 18184) results on virus reduction. Different substrates, like polyester, cotton and polycottons, were exposed to enveloped viruses like SARS-COV-2 (known to cause COVID-19), Feline Corona, Vaccinia (the EU standard for enveloped viruses) and Porcine Respiratory viruses. After 30minutes, BI-OME already reduced 99.96% of the activity of SARS-COV-2.

After washing, a decrease in virus reduction performance of coating technologies is normal and expected. However, BI-OME is confirmed to deliver only a minimal reduction, retaining up to 98.5% virus reduction even when the fabric is washed 25 times at 60°C. Devan is further improving its formulae to improve wash resistance even more and at the same time keep the economical add-on cost as low as possible.

Award winning technology

Based on its recent analysis of the European antimicrobial technology for the textile market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes the Belgium-headquartered Devan with the 2020 European Technology Innovation Leadership Award. Devan’s highly relevant antimicrobial technology addresses issues concerning the contamination of PPE and textiles, including the spread of drug-resistant bacteria, viral transmissions, and hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Its quat-silane technology, due to its non-migrating behaviour, physically punctures the microorganism cell to destroy it without interfering with cell DNA. Notably, it eliminates the adverse effects of leaching antimicrobials while providing high efficiency in the range of 99.9 percent to 99.99 percent, even after multiple washes.

“By providing non-migrating antimicrobial technology for the textile industry, Devan plugs the safety and performance gaps inherent in current inorganic and organic antimicrobial agents. Its antimicrobial technology, unlike silver- or triclosan-based technology, comprises non-migrating monomers and prepolymers such as organo-functional silane,” says Monami Dey – Industry Manager, Frost & Sullivan. “The organo-silane polymers are covalently bonded and polymerized to the textile surface as a coating via padding, exhaust, and spraying techniques. The coating forms a non-leaching reactive surface and destroys the microbes on contact, without releasing harmful components into the environment.”

Ghyselinck is happy with the award: “The best practice award is a nice recognition of the hard work we did in the last 6 months to evaluate the performance against viral activity. It’s great to see that our efforts did not go unnoticed.”

Greener chemistry

“Devan is working towards sustainability and green chemistry. For instance, its technology does not contain any harmful solvents such as formaldehyde or polychlorinated phenols and fulfils the regulatory obligations of the EU BPR,” notes Dey. “Its commitment to promoting sustainability in textile finishes with a strong focus on GMO-free, kosher, as well as halal certifications, and recyclability has given the company an edge in launching new products at an accelerated pace to match customers’ most pressing concerns and demands.”

For brands looking for novel natural antimicrobial solutions, Devan has opted for linseed oil, which can be sourced locally as Belgium is a producer of linen. “Flax is one of the few plants that requires little to no pesticides as it has its own defence mechanism,” says Dr Vanessa Daelman – Manager, Performance Division, Devan. The active ingredient is REACH-compliant and BPR-listed, and EPA registration is ongoing.

Boosting immunity

In the middle of the pandemic, Devan also launched a new blend in addition to its R-Vital® range of active ingredients. The new ‘multivitamin’ blend consist of vitamin C, vitamin E and ginger and is developed for immunity-boosting properties.

“COVID-19 makes us feel more concerned than usual about staying strong and healthy”, says Ghyselinck. “Scientists discovered SARS-CoV-2 in late 2019, but most of our immune systems had never heard of the virus. While we wait for a vaccine, we need to rely on our bodies to fight off the virus and build up our line of defence. A balanced immune system is crucial and depends on how healthy we are, both mentally and physically.”

The new multivitamin blend is part of the R-Vital® range. R-Vital® is a fabric treatment that enables textile manufacturers to boost their textiles with a range of microencapsulated active ingredients. The technology was first launched at Heimtextil in 2018 with active ingredients including Q10, Thyme oil, Aloe Vera, and more. The fabric treatment is based on microencapsulation. Active ingredients are encapsulated and applied to the fabric. The treated textiles touch our skin and the friction causes the microcapsules to break. Then, the active ingredients are absorbed by our skin and transported throughout the body.

Since its launch in 2018, Devan has continuously added new ingredients such as CBD, Avocado and Echinacea. This week, the company added a multivitamin blend in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The blend contains vitamin C, vitamin E and ginger and is designed for immunity-boosting properties.

A recent study found that dietary supplements such as vitamin C are effective in helping the immune system fight off COVID-19. The research was carried out by Adrian Gombart of Oregon State University‘s (OSU) Linus Pauling Institute and collaborators at the University of Southampton (United Kingdom), the University of Otago (New Zealand) and University Medical Center (The Netherlands), and findings have been published in the journal Nutrients.

“Vitamin C has roles in several aspects of immunity, including the growth and function of immune cells and antibody production”, says Adrian Gombart – Professor, Biochemistry & Biophysics, OSU College of Science; Principal Investigator – Linus Pauling Institute.

According to Business Unit Manager Marleen van der Auwera, there’s more: “Vitamin C is an antioxidant, meaning it protects skin cells from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure. Vitamin E is an antioxidant as well, and may help protect your cells from damage. We also included ginger in the blend because it’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties.”

“We have also learned from the lockdown that consumers increasingly invest in Health & Wellness- related textile products”, Ghyselinck adds. “Brands who are into smart digital marketing, have shown that these products can generate successful and profitable business”.

New Partnership

Recently, Devan announced a new partnership (next to its existing partnership with Yoshiaki Chemicals) to accelerate innovation in the Indian mattress and bedding industry. Saan Global will be the official distributor of Devan technologies.

Saan Global intends to use Devan’s highly relevant technologies to help the Indian foam & mattress manufacturers innovate. The companies are focusing to set new quality standards for the industry and develop a completely new product range for the end customer. Using Devan’s bio-based non-metal based antimicrobial / viral reducing product & PCM technologies, can make it easier for mattress manufacturers to develop a new health and comfort centric product range, provide technical guidance to produce more sustainable products with modern technique and unfolding new opportunities in healthcare and bedding industry.

“We are very grateful and looking forward to our collaboration with Saan Global”, says Sven Ghyselinck. “The Indian market is not only one of the largest consumer markets in the world, it also has long-term upward potential due to the rise of a trendy middle-class and its overall drive for technology innovation. For now, we focus on our BI-OME® (antimicrobial / viral reducing technology) and Thermic® range (PCM technologies) but I am convinced that the ancient origins of Ayurveda offer further future opportunities with Devan’s Health & Wellness range.”

Apart from topical treatments, Devan also provides in-yarn solutions and has various projects with different players in the Indian textile market.

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