Texus Fibre

July 2016

Creating high value industrial textiles from wool

Wool once made up more than a quarter of New Zealand’s total exports. These days it is around 2%. Changing consumer tastes and the rising use of synthetic fibre has radically reduced the importance of wool as an export earner. However Texus Fibre reckons wool has a future beyond carpets for a new generation of products using the unique characteristics of wool. 

Texus Fibre CEO Nick Davenport is a mechanical engineer who has worked with synthetic materials through a company called Nexus Foams. Texus Fibre was established back in 2011 and the company specialises in respiratory filtration – how people breathe in toxic environments – using the natural and sustainable qualities of NZ grown wool. 

Millions of people around the world in China, India, Northern Europe all face the problem of air pollution. Current solutions to the problem include a range of facemasks. Nick says current solutions to the problem are generally designed in the workplace where people are compelled or forced to wear protective masks.

The world wide market for filtration is in the region of $16 billion. 

Texus Fibre wanted to produce products that could improve this area of health by creating a range of materials that satisfies regulatory requirements but also improves the comfort of breathing. The solution was wool which Nick says is unique in its functional attributes when it comes to respiratory filtration. He says wool is extraordinarily efficient in capturing particles and coping with moisture.

What Texus Fibre does is create products for designers to create new respiratory devices that are comfortable to wear and work as well or better than existing systems. 

Technically most other respiratory filters are measured by their particle capture efficiency and the energy required to pass gas through it. Texus wants also to include a breathability and comfort factor. Texus has spent a lot of time researching the performance of wool as a solution to respiratory filtration that offers all the benefits of standard filters but adds the breathability and comfort that wool brings. Helix is Texus Fibre’s brand for one of the new formulations of fibre that delivers all these sought after qualities. 

Texus’ research led them to buy AgResearch’s non-woven production line in Christchurch, formerly Wool Research Organisation of NZ. There, machines process fibre to produce a continuous textile roll, which is then made into filters.  The company is currently converting around 10 tonnes of wool into airfilters. 

Nick says that the electrostatic properties of wool are the key to producing an efficient air filter, removing the very fine particles in the air that are damaging to health. 

Initial testing of Texus’ formulations in comparison with synthetic filters has shown that it outperforms its competitors many times over.