Sustainable, biodegradable and an innovation not only for the textile industry.
05/20/2019 | Robust, elastic and resilient – these are the properties of the thread of a spider. The Bavarian company Amsilk has taken nature as its model and artificially produces the sought-after natural fibre by means of a biotechnological process.
Perfect for the textile industry
Biosteel® is sustainable, biodegradable and an innovation for the textile industry. The fibres are able to absorb and transport moisture to the outside and have antimicrobial properties. It is therefore not surprising that the sporting goods manufacturer Adidas is interested in this high-performance material. He has already produced a prototype shoe made of Biosteel®.
Lightweight material promises more
However, the thread would have many more possible applications, for example in medical technology or in the automotive and aerospace sectors. The aviation industry is always on the lookout for lighter materials. Airbus, for example, has also expressed its interest and entered into a partnership with Amsilk a few months ago. The material is already used commercially as an ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products.
Production protects caterpillars
The fiber consists of natural proteins, but caterpillars do not have to die for it. Here’s how the production happens: Bacteria are fed sugar in large steel tanks so that they produce the protein substance. This is dried into a silk powder and further processed into thread.
From pilot project to brand product
With this development, the Bavarian company and other renowned start-ups are moving into industrial biotechnology – a groundbreaking field of the future. So far, the material is still very expensive. They are therefore rather pilot projects.
Now it is different with the cooperation with the company Omega. The luxury watch manufacturer will in future launch its NATO textile straps with the Biosteel fibre. The advantage over the earlier bracelets made of polyamide is obvious: lighter, more breathable and more comfortable.
So far, there is still a lack of acceptance in the industry. But once the first products are on the market, the new material can quickly become a broad topic.
It remains exciting in this subject area.
Yvonne Wicke | Head of Marketing
Sources: Handelsblatt, online article v. 24.01.2019, author: Axel Höpner; Edison eMagazine, issue 09 March 2018, author: Susanne Frank.