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Elmarco supports your innovation journey from ideation to production and beyond

Can nanofibers help improve the performance of my products? How do I determine what nanofiber production equipment to purchase? What else do I need to start producing nanofibers at my facility? What support can I expect after installing and while operating the equipment?

Each of our customers asks these four key questions when deciding if Elmarco nanofiber equipment is right for their products and business.  With our own dedicated R&D and Design capabilities, Elmarco is a reliable partner who can deliver an effective solution to turn your visions and ideas into working nanofiber products. Thanks to the deep expertise and proven know-how of our researchers and engineers, we understand the complexity of the problem and can provide support along the entire journey.

 

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    15 years in the market
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    3 000 m2 research center
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    80 employees
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    Serving global market
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    30 patents
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    250 machines installed

Nanofiber product development: Can nanofibers help improve the performance of my products?

There are two basic approaches to nanofiber product development: 

  1. Purchase laboratory equipment to independently find a solution
    1. Provide your R&D team with lab scale nanofiber production capabilities
    2. Build internal knowledge of nanofibers, nanofiber production, and nanofiber materials
    3. Develop nanofiber products at your own pace
  2. Working with Elmarco to find solution
    1. Contract Research and Development (CRD)
    2. Joint Development Agreement (JDA)
    3. Lab scale trials
    4. Industrial scale sampling


Purchasing Elmarco lab equipment is useful for companies with dedicated R&D departments who are experts in the performance of your products and want to learn more about nanofibers.  You can develop a wealth of internal knowledge regarding the improvements that nanofibers can bring to your products.  However, even on this path, you will need help from Elmarco to scale-up the nanofiber product from lab to industrial scale.

There are many types of cooperative agreements possible when working with Elmarco including CRD (Contract Research and Development), JDA (Joint Development Agreement), lab trials, or industrial sampling are all possible.  For nanofiber concept development, a JDA is typically most appropriate.  If you need a design of experiments executed to help with nanofiber product development, CRD is an appropriate choice.  Lab scale trials are useful if you are at an early phase and want to get an initial idea of nanofiber material performance.  Finally, if you are close to a final nanofiber product, industrial scale sampling produces multiple rolls of nanofiber material that can be used for large scale field trials.

No matter what starting point is used, Elmarco applies an iterative approach to nanofiber product development.  We can alter polymer solution to create different fiber diameters.  The environment, specifically humidity, inside the spinning chamber can affect the throughput and uniformity.  Nanospider parameters such as the level of the high voltage or polymer feed rate can impact the material performance.  Interaction between the substrate and nanofibers can be important in certain applications.  We have a variety of test equipment to evaluate air permeability, filtration efficiency, water column, and fiber morphology that can lead to better product insights.  Finally, understanding how the nanofibers will be post-processed is key to final product performance and our experiences have taught us what works.  Since none of these aspects can be completely isolated from the others, this is what makes the iterative approach so effective for nanofiber product development.

product developement process

The results of this nanofiber product development process are the Recipe of Record and subsequent Joint Material Verification Agreement.

Recipe of Record (RoR) defines the nanofiber production process including the polymer recipe, substrate specifications, machine settings, testing protocols, material performance requirements, and uniformity.

The Joint Material Verification Agreement (JMVA) uses the RoR at an industrial scale to produce multiple rolls of nanofiber material.  This agreement also contains information on the polymer, substrate and additive batch variability, visual defect inspection criteria, material handling requirements, and post-processing steps.

 

Nanofiber equipment offer process: How do I determine what nanofiber production equipment to purchase?

It can be difficult to determine what nanofiber production equipment you will need, but Elmarco has the tools to help you.  Using the RoR and JMVA in conjunction with your minimum and maximum annual production volume (m2 / year) requirements, we can create the scope of supply and provide the offer.

nanofiber equipment offer process

In addition to specifying the Nanospider equipment you will need for your nanofiber product, we assist with the peripheral equipment such as unwinder and rewinder, adhesion module and hot air dryer, waste air treatment, air conditioning, and polymer mixing station.  In the process of creating the comprehensive manufacturing solution, or Scope of Supply (SoS), for nanofiber production, we also offer customization to suit your specific manufacturing facility or any other special equipment requirements.  A key component in this entire offer process is the Elmarco cost model that can help you understand the fully burdened cost of producing nanofiber materials.  Various what-if scenarios can be modeled to show the material cost during production ramp-up.
 

Design approval process: What else do I need to start producing nanofibers at my facility?

Once the Scope of Supply is finalized and the offer for the equipment has been accepted, the next step is Design Approval where we finalize the specifics of any customization requirements and define the manufacturing site requirements for installation and commissioning of the equipment.  This includes the facility layout, which Elmarco can create independently if necessary, and all connection points between the equipment and your building.  A key aspect of this phase is addressing the safety requirements since mixing of liquid polymer solutions may be a new process for your manufacturing site. 

Once these engineering details have been addressed and agreed upon, Elmarco will start production of your nanofiber production line and related peripherals.  Since this process will take months to complete, we offer toll manufacturing or tolling services to provide nanofiber material that you can use to begin seeding markets.  This bridging between ordering the equipment and final commissioning can decrease the time to market for your nanofiber product.  If this is valuable to your company, we can discuss the details and prepare an offer for our services.

design approval process

 

Production to commissioning and beyond: What support can I expect after installing and while operating the equipment?

After production of your nanofiber production solution is complete, the equipment undergoes a series of tests to ensure it operates as designed and specified.  The first battery of tests is the Mechanical Integrity Test (MIT) phase where all functional elements of the machine are checked for full operability at minimum and maximum set points.  Once completed, we then add chemicals for the Chemical Integrity Test (CIT) phase which is where the first nanofibers are produced from your new equipment.  The next phase involves initial trials of the RoR and producing the intended nanofiber material.  Once these initial trials are successful, we move into the formal Preliminary Acceptance Test (PAT) phase where we use the RoR and JMVA to certify the equipment performs as required.  Most customers visit Elmarco during this phase to witness the PAT firsthand.

Upon successful completion of the PAT, the equipment is carefully and methodically disassembled for transportation.  Working with local vendors, we crate individual pieces of the equipment so that it can be loaded into shipping containers.  As for shipping, our logistics team can provide any shipping via air, road, or sea and can arrange for FCA Liberec to DAP Customer Site and everything in between.

Once all the equipment has arrived at your site, our experienced installation team arrives to begin the installation process which takes a few months depending on the SoS.  We are familiar with providing all installation services including rigging, manipulation equipment, electrical, water, and general contracting.  We can also coordinate with your team since there will likely be other installation related activities occurring in parallel.

After installation has been completed, we re-test the equipment using the same procedures used at Elmarco’s facility including MIT and CIT.  Since we are now operating the equipment at your facility, the next phase is Final Acceptance Test (FAT) where we use the same RoR and JMVA to demonstrate the capabilities of the equipment.  When the FAT has been successfully completed, there is a training phase where we show your operators and staff all the critical functions of the machine including diagnostic procedures.  We also offer more theoretical training to help R&D staffers learn the fundamentals of electrospinning and how to modify the nanofiber product parameters.

Now that the equipment is operational and you are shipping nanofiber material to your customers, the support from Elmarco does not end.  With our comprehensive one-year warranty, we provide remote diagnostics to help resolve most equipment issues and on-site support is available whenever necessary.  You can also order spare parts and consumable parts directly from us.  If you are concerned about long-term service, we can offer extended warranties and/or service packages that include semi-annual visits to keep your equipment in top operating condition.

In summary, you can see that Elmarco is not only a manufacturer of nanofiber production equipment, but also a full-service solution provider capable of assisting you at all points on the journey from ideation to production and beyond.

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