Fibremark Solutions, a London-based specialist in the development of supply-chain traceability solutions for the textile industry, has recently obtained a US patent for its wholly owned Fibretrace Technology (also called “Photon Marker System for Fiber Material”).
The Fibretrace system uses patented nanotechnology particles embedded in cellulose fiber. These fibers can be mixed into any natural or man-made fiber at the very start of the production process (often at the farm itself), with no impact on texture or performance. With Fibretrace in the mix, the fiber can be spun and woven. The fabric can be dyed, washed, bleached and laser-etched. The tracing fibers are still instantly readable using specially developed handheld, bluetooth-connected readers, so users can verify the entire supply chain in real time. Also real time results and data can be transferred to the Fibretrace blockchain.
Fibremark is now seeking to extend this US patent protection through an international patent application and a European patent application. The aim of this project is to reach a more transparent, traceable and sustainable fashion industry.
Danielle Statham, director and shareholder, Fibretrack/Sundown Pastoral Co., explained the benefits of the new technology.
How does Fibretrace work? How can you check fibers and textiles through it?
The game changer in traceability will be that the Fibretrace technology can instantly identify, verify and quantify fibers, their origin and their journey in the supply chain. Organic pigments are embedded in raw fibers at the cotton gin or spinning mill and they remain for life within the garment. Portable handheld devices and smart phones can identify the technology.
How can textiles be scanned? Do you need specific conditions to make your technology work?
Our technology has sophisticated scanner technology throughout the supply chain and technology available for the consumer through their smart phone; our fibers and software platform work instantaneously. It is remarkable for both the brand and the consumer from a marketing perspective to see where their garment originated, how it was produced, who produced it and, from a brand angle, advertising and collaborations with this are endless in particular giving people the stories behind what they are buying.
Who owns this project and what is the role of each player?
The shareholding team involved are: David Statham, director, Sundown Pastoral Co., and insider of the agriculture industry; Sanjeev Bahl, founder of Saitex International and an industry leader in manufacturing; Andrew Olah, founder of the Kingpins denim supply-chain trade show and the Transformers summit series; and me, Danielle Statham, director, shareholder and fashion supply-chain expert.
I have put this team of minds together and established this partnership with the aim to fulfill truthful public sustainability goals.
Our businesses together were always going to make an impact in the sustainability debate and now together we can create a true force for good for future generations.
Paul Stenning, the inventor of the technology, is also part of our team and will continue to work with fibers and expand our patented technology into all available natural or man- made fibers in the very near future. Our CTO Malcolm Wild has extensive experience in business systems and software platforms; he leads our team of technicians. Shannon Mercer is director of business development and communications.
As Fibertrace is a cellulose fiber that contains minute rare earth particles, could these particles be harmful for the wearer?
Cellulose fibers are natural fibers from sustainably sourced wood pulp like viscose fibers we now see in many garments. Pigments are organic rare earth minerals.
These are natural fibers from the environment, much like the fiber of cotton. The particles are blended in such minute quantities it does not even classify as contamination at the raw bale level of cotton.
Have you already start selling these fibers in the industry? What feedback are you getting?
Now that we have our US patent published and our European patent pending we can reveal we are collaborating with great minds in the industry and look forward to brands and customers sharing the journey with us to change the industry for the better.
The response has been remarkable. This has been years of research along with tried and tested technology to perfect and build.
A few years ago, when Lenzing had launched Refibra, they assured they could find out if fibers employed are fake or real. Is your system working similarly?
We are unclear of what Refibra does, however we believe there is no other system in the cellulose world like our product where fibers like ours are inserted into the product at a raw level to withstand the supply-chain process. Furthermore with the ability to read for veracity with instantaneous confirmation is exciting and groundbreaking.We believe others test forensically, which is of course exact, albeit limited and seriously slow in an ever-evolving market such as fashion.