INNOVATOR PROFILE

SMARTFIBER AG

COMPANY INFORMATION

Founded: 2005

Headquarters: Rudolstadt, Germany

Website: https://www.smartfiber.de/home/

COMPANY HISTORY

Smartfiber AG develops, produces, and distributes fibers with different functionalities for different segments of the industry. Using production methods created by the Thuringian Institute for Textile and Plastic Research (TITK) in Rudolstadt, Germany, the company combines marine algae and zinc with cellulose to create sustainable textile fibers.

 

In July 2007, Smartfiber AG took over its competitor SeaCell to expand research, production, and marketing potential.
 

MATERIALS

  • SeaCell™ is made from cellulose and seaweed using the Lyocell process. The company claims that seaweed, which is rich in vitamins, trace elements, amino acids, and minerals, helps protect the skin against harmful environmental factors. SeaCell is suitable for a wide range of applications, from sports and leisure textiles to underwear, loungewear, and home textiles.

  • Smartcel™ is a fiber based on cellulose that also includes zinc. Smartcel is produced using the Lyocell process. Zinc oxide is said to help regenerate skin, improve the healing of wounds, and reduce inflammation. Zinc oxide serves as a shield against harmful UVA and UVB radiation.

TECHNOLOGY

Production process: Mechanical/Chemical

SeaCell™ and Smartcel™ are produced using the Lyocell process (see graphic). This process takes place in a closed loop with no released chemicals, and the seaweed and zinc are permanently embedded in the fiber. More information about this process is needed, especially regarding the destination of the waste water.

Manufacture process for the lyocell fibers. (Zhang, S., Chen, C., Duan, C., Hu, H., Li, H., Li, J., Liu, Y., Ma, X., Stavik, J., and Ni, Y. (2018). "Regenerated cellulose by the Lyocell process, a brief review of the process and properties," BioRes. 13(2). 4577-4592. Accessed May 24, 2020, https://bioresources.cnr.ncsu.edu/.)

SUSTAINABILITY

Smartfiber AG has the following certifications and labels: OEKO TEX 100, Vincotte Home composting, TITK Biodegradable, EPA registration, EU Ecolabel, ISPO Top Innovation, NOP Certified Organic, USDA Biopreferred. SeaCell™ was selected at ISPO TEXTRENDS as one of the most promising innovations for summer 2019.
 
SeaCell™: The company states that the fiber is carbon neutral and completely biodegradable. The seaweed is harvested via a selective and sustainable process that removes only parts able to regenerate.
 
Smartcel™: The company states that the fiber is fully biodegradable.

SENSORY/TACTILE

SeaCell™: The integration of SeaCell™ fiber gives textiles a silky feel. An evaluation of socks made with SeaCell fibers found that the SeaCell socks exhibited better performance than soybean, modal, bamboo, viscone, and cotton samples. 

SmartcelTM is said to add a smooth, silky feel to any fabric. 

SOURCING

SeaCell™: The seaweed used for SeaCell is cultivated from algae of the Icelandic fjords.

SmartcelTM uses only medically approved pharmaceutical grade 4 zinc white.

CURRENT APPLICATIONS

ACCESSORIES, CLOTHING, HOME TEXTILES

SeaCell™ fibers are used in sports and leisure wear, underwear/loungewear, socks, and home textiles. 

Smartcel™ is used in underwear/loungewear, socks (especially for medical purposes), clothes for babies/toddlers, and home textiles. 

Images from Smartfiber AG.

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