The main motivation behind the research projects carried out at AITEX is to identify market needs, generate ideas and solutions based on them, provide them with added value, transfer them to companies to improve their competitiveness and have a measurable impact.
The development of techniques such as electrospinning, 3D printing and/or bioprinting made it possible in previous years (within the REPAIR, DENTALTEX I and II, and MEDIC@TEX projects) to create a product for skin regeneration in burn patients. The techniques also led to the development of a device for the treatment of periodontal diseases and respiratory protection masks against COVID-19 at FFP2 level for the RFU-COVID 19 standard.
On the REPAIR side, the aim is to transfer the results obtained in the development of the successful clinical case that is currently underway with 11 patients to manufacturers of medical devices. The project developed SKINHEALTEX, a product consisting of a nanofibre veil designed for the treatment of second and third-degree burns, which is protected by utility model U201831222.
Transfer of the results of the periodontal health line (designed during the DENTALTEX I and II projects and line 1 of MEDIC@TEX) is underway, sharing the technology developed and its results with interested companies, optimising manufacturing and increasing technical resources. Periodontal disease alone affects 33% of the population and within this group, 25% suffer from severe periodontal disease, so the sector is constantly demanding technological solutions with optimum results.
Finally, given current demand from the private sector, we intend to continue with the development of personal protective masks, but using an ecological design approach with industrial scalability. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, around 129,000 million disposable masks are used per month, and in Spain alone, the figure is around 705 million, of which only 9% are recycled. This means millions of tonnes of plastic end up in landfills, rivers or the sea as microplastics. As Zero Waste Europe warns, countries should not have to choose between protecting the environment and public health, as is happening. «In the future we have to make sure that we are prepared for pandemics like this and deal with them in a sustainable way«. This line of work will focus on developing a new prototype filtration mask which is ecological (produced with compostable, recyclable, biodegradable materials) and combined with the properties of nanofibres (light weight, increased durability and filtration efficiency, reduced influence of humidity, the inclusion of additives such as antiviral and antibacterial agents. This is thanks to the expertise gained in the previous year during the MEDIC@TEX project (where type IIR surgical masks, FFP-2 masks compliant with RFU COVID-19 regulations and hygienic masks with compostable materials were made using nanofibres as the main filtering element).
The work has enabled us to transfer the knowledge generated, value-added products and technological development to textile companies working in the health sector.
- To provide solutions to companies by transferring the advances achieved by AITEX to cover the current needs of the health sector.
- To respond to these needs by means of the advances in the techniques used and their results in the tissue regeneration sector for dermal and dental tissue regeneration.
- To provide technical and economic solutions for the development of ecological masks for the prevention of COVID-19.
The project consists of three main lines of work, in which the aim is to:
Line 1 – SKIN. Review results obtained in the clinical case of the REPAIR project (on dermal regeneration using nanofibres with burn patients) and transfer results to companies in the sector.
Line 2 – DENTAL. Transferring results to companies on devices for the treatment of periodontal disease and technologies developed at AITEX for the dental sector in previous years.
Line 3 – ECO4MASK. Eco-design of respiratory protection equipment, revaluation of waste created during the pandemic and transfer of the results to companies (contrasting proposed solutions and carrying out an economic study), by means of:
- Nanofibre solutions for respiratory filtration membranes.
- Compostable or biodegradable solutions (using materials of renewable and biodegradable origin) and mono-material solutions (made from recycled and recyclable materials).
Within the transfer part and at the general level of the previous lines of work:
- Identify the market or need: companies related to the subject.
- Assess and quantify the market opportunity/need: identify national target companies (prioritising those in the Valencian Community).
- Conduct a scalability analysis of the technology.
- Define the specific attributes of the product and its final value proposition: by means of an Executive Report on the product or technology to be transferred, and its properties.
- Industrial feasibility study: the processes and technologies used to achieve the product and scale it up to industrial manufacturing level.
- Concept/product test.
This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE.
- Grant number: IMAMCI/2021/1
- More information: NON-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES PLAN
- Year: 2021
- Status: In progress
- Entity: IVACE