Atmospheric plasma coating system
Total Project Value (AUD)
IMCRC Funding (AUD)
Applying plasma coatings to textiles can create functional products with improved performance. However, conventional coating technology requires the use of a high-pressure vacuum chamber, and as a result, the process is restrictive and costly.
To revolutionise the technology and enable textile coating at atmospheric pressure, advanced textile technology company Xefco partnered with Proficiency Contracting and Deakin University on a three-year, $5 million research and development (R&D) project.
The core focus of the research was accelerating the development of Xefco’s plasma coating system to deliver a large-scale roll-to-roll prototype.
“By advancing the plasma treatment technology, we will be able to coat and treat large format materials like textile rolls, at a low cost and high production efficiency,” said Tom Hussey, Xefco’s Chief Executive Officer.
Once a small-scale plasma coating system was successfully delivering functional coatings similar in quality to those produced by commercial solutions, Xefco and Deakin were able to invest in a second IMCRC R&D project. The project’s focus was to extend the system’s application and develop an alternative, less-water-dependent approach to conventional textile dyeing.
“By utilising our plasma technology to produce different, highly durable treatment options including colour that uses less water and dyeing agent, we hope to tackle some of the environmental challenges associated with current processes, including water pollution and waste,” said Scott Whitby, Xefco’s General Manager of Plasma Technologies.
According to Hussey, while the grant funding was a key benefit of working with IMCRC, another advantage was the program’s focus on exploring longer-term commercial opportunities.
“IMCRC encouraged us to think and approach manufacturing in new and unconventional ways. This has not only steered how we shaped our products but informed how we intend to get them to the market,” he said.
“Xefco has also grown as a result of the project, employing new team members and raising money to fund the ongoing development and commercialisation of our plasma coating system.
“And by expanding our project portfolio to explore dyeing applications, we’ve unlocked new capabilities and new markets which are critical and fundamental to Xefco’s success in the future.”
IMCRC encouraged us to think and approach manufacturing in new and unconventional ways. This has not only steered how we shaped our products but informed how we intend to get them to the market.
Chief Executive Officer