Client: Ulster University - Shaping Innovation
Knowledge Provider: Ulster University
Sector: Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials
Ulster University - Shaping Innovation
Whether it's new product research and development, technical solutions or driving internal efficiencies the team at Ulster University can respond to any business challenge. Ulster University work with thousands of businesses annually. The services include consultancy, access to facilities and equipment and student project support.
One company that has recently availed of collaborating with Ulster University is Bioflex Yarns Ltd. Bioflex is a company specialising in the development of thermal regulating products, there are 60 million Diabetic patients throughout Europe prone to have foot or blood circulation issues. Bioflex have developed a range of smart textile products to service this specific market
Bioflex is helping shape the future by offering unique nanotechnology based solutions that transform textiles and nonwovens, giving them a whole range of desirable new properties. By developing Reactive Phase Changing Material (PCM) products Bioflex will be driving a new patient preventive approach to mitigate ulcer formation or skin abrasions that are prone to Diabetic patients or the over 65-year-old population. About the Case
Integrating the PCM materials into yarns and developing those yarns into appropriate structures and fabrics that would have a good handle, elasticity and be desirable to wear was a problem area for Bioflex.
Bioflex approached Alison Gault, lecturer on the Ba (Hons) Textile Art, Design and Fashion Course at Ulster University to help them identify ways to integrate the PCMs with various yarns and use dye techniques to produce a range of knitted products suitable for the new patient preventative approach without degrading the PCM properties. Using specialised knitting machine technology, Alison was able to develop knitted structures that would enable Bioflex to produce the fabrics to maximise the benefits of the PCM’s ability to maintain body temperature and reduce the risks of skin deterioration through abrasion.
Using 2 and 3 colour jacquard processes in weft knitting to produce fully reversible fabric structures whilst knitting with 5 ends of yarn (twisted together) enabled the successful integration of the PCM yarns. The fabrics were made into various structures, which could then be used to demonstrate the efficacy of products suitable for diabetics. This was to specifically maintain body temperature by cooling or warming, prevent abrasion or skin damage with the potential to develop into worsening conditions such as diabetic ulcer or limb amputation and therefore bringing improvement to health and well-being through a range of commercial products being a key output of the collaboration.
PCM containing fabrics are now being successfully produced by Bioflex and are being incorporated into various products,
A product range is now available for purchase on the bioflex website and can be purchased at www.bioflexyarns.com further product ideas are being pursued in line with the company ethos.
Trevor Schofield, Company Director for Bioflex yarns stated, “It was great working with Alison. Her unique knowledge and dedication in the development of the PCM incorporating yarn, in a timely way, was excellent and this enabled us to incorporate them into a range of products offering diabetic solutions that were also aesthetically desirable products. The customers can now identify with a product that would be comfortable and protective but also through the innovation in the yarn and the structures designed would also be something they would want to wear whilst increasing their health and wellbeing.”
Alison Gault is a lecturer on the Ba (Hons) Textile Art, Design and Fashion Course at Ulster University. With expertise in textiles and fashion, and industry experience in knitwear, Alison has an understanding of the principles of design solutions for medical and technical textiles in knit, weave and non-woven fabrics. Knowledge Provider Name
: Ulster UniversityContact Name
: Alison GaultTelephone number