Business & invest,
Specialist fabric manufacturer delivers innovative antimicrobial threads
Nick Nichols | January 12, 2022
Technical Fabric Services Australia, a company with an eye for innovation, has risen to the challenges faced by the medical profession with a product that creates textiles with unsurpassed germ-fighting capability and durability.
The product heralds a new era in antimicrobial protection for clothing for health professionals and builds on the company’s reputation for creating top-quality fabrics to meet the changing needs of industry and consumers.
TFS Australia was founded on the Gold Coast in 2004 by John Agius, who has been involved in the Australian textile industry since the late 1970s. Mr Agius established TFS Australia with a firm commitment to position his company at the leading edge of product design and quality.
Backed by decades of experience in textile manufacturing and an ongoing commitment to research and development, TFS Australia has created a suite of innovative textile products that are exported around the world to create clothing and furnishings to meet the specialist needs of customers from high-end fashion houses to clothing manufacturers for the medical, military and commercial sectors.
The PureTech revolution
The company’s latest advance is the innovative PureTech technology, specifically designed to provide antimicrobial properties for medical garments, bed linen and furnishings.
TFS Australia has an exclusive licence to use PureTech to create innovative antimicrobial fibres that enhance a product with unique germ-fighting capability, durability, and freshness – all without any production hassles, design hindrances or performance let-downs.
PureTech is proven to have 99 per cent efficiency for the permanent protection against bacteria, mould and fungi, including Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), Escherichia Coli and many others.
The advanced materials help avoid cross-infection by these pathogenic micro-organisms, while also arresting metabolism in microbes in order to reduce the formation of odour.
“PureTech is a product that meets the needs of many of our clients in the medical sector,” says Mr Agius.
“Through a scientifically innovative design, PureTech offers high efficacy for the life of the product which can be used for hospital or operating room curtains as well as scrubs and PPE equipment.”
A 2008 study for detecting the contamination rate of privacy curtains, showed that 42 per cent of hospital privacy curtains were contaminated with VRE (vancomycin resistant enterococci) and 22 per cent with MRSA. The study also found that up to 50 per cent of uniforms used by doctors and nurses are colonised by pathogenic bacteria.
The technology incorporates an Eastman Kodak silver salt, a product created from nearly half a century of science, as the active antimicrobial agent in PureTech. The silver salt is deployed in micro-sized particles, rather than nano-particles, which are embedded into the fibre, thus preventing the leeching of silver salts onto the skin or into the environment.
The PureTech fabric and textile products produced by TFS Australia look, feel and last the same as conventional materials, although they require no special treatment when washed.
The sustainability, durability and environmentally friendly nature of the product adds to the appeal of the PureTech technology which uses less water in the manufacturing process and also by the end-user in the care of the garments.
“This technology provides both health and environmental benefits as the products can be used as normal but washed less – and less harshly – due to the continual bacteria-fighting technology,” says Mr Agius. “These items will also need replacing less frequently, as their service life is longer.”
The antimicrobial properties are embedded and extruded in the fibre, locking them into the yarn, and making the antimicrobial property in the material continually work for the life of the garment.
“This is significantly different from other products in the market that apply topical finishes that need to be defined by the number of washes before they lose efficacy,” says Mr Agius.
A sustainable future
TFS Australia’s state-of-the-art computer-controlled manufacturing facility is based on the Gold Coast, one of Australia’s fastest-growing and most dynamic cities with a strong track record in caring for the environment.
“The Gold Coast’s ethos of environmental sensitivity has facilitated our own environmental and sustainable outlook, which is the way of the future,” says Mr Agius. “In selecting a research and development-based model, this drives us to new horizons using the latest technologies and innovations.”
TFS Australia operates its own fully serviced laboratory which facilitates the in-house development of new fabrics exclusively for domestic and international clients, while providing complete confidentiality. The company has a proud track record of ‘thinking outside the square’ to deliver innovative solutions for clients in the textile industry.
“We specialise in elastane-based products which are known for their exceptional elasticity and recovery, and our materials are largely based on nylon, polyester and cotton,” says Mr Agius.
“Among the more unique fabrics we have developed over the past decade include many fibre blends with organic materials such as bamboo, banana and milk.
“TFS Australia products have found functional use in various industrial applications, with fabrics that are tough enough to handle whatever mother nature or humans can throw at it. For example, we produce fabrics that meet the rigorous tests for military uniforms.”
TFS Australia produces materials for swimwear, underwear, workwear, activewear, and even bridal gowns, among other clothing. These materials include fashionable and luxurious microfibre fabrics, ranging from white fabric prepared for printing to vibrant flourescents, plus fabrics with various textures and effects. All of TFS Australia’s materials are knitted, dyed and finished on site to the customer’s specifications.
“We have developed a formidable range of technical sports fabrics that combine compression technology to assist muscle performance and recovery,” says Mr Agius.
“One of our specialty areas is undergarments where cup moulding is essential in garment design and function. Comfortable natural fibres and microfibres are used to create a collection of functional and sensual fabrics. We can also make these materials available with moisture management and anti-microbial properties.”
The company’s products compete against the best in the world, with exports to major clients in China and Indonesia, and emerging demand from South Africa.
Bespoke fabric creations
TFS Australia has built its brand on a philosophy of delivering optimal solutions for clients no matter how challenging the task.
“We work closely with our customers to achieve sometimes difficult specs and outcomes,” says Mr Agius. “Bespoke development is our specialty, which involves building a fabric from the ground up.”
TFS Australia has thrived due to its ability to quickly pivot to meet a rapidly changing market. The company continues to innovate and assess the textile market both locally and internationally.
“We are able to compete with anyone in the world due to our high levels of flexibility, by being able to pivot between small and large runs. Our ability to develop a new product at low cost and low minimums has become very advantageous to our customers.”
TFS Australia is now looking to extend its reach into the United Arab Emirates, a market that Mr Agius says is primed for growth.
“Among the priorities for us is to showcase our innovative PureTech technology in order to achieve more regional and global awareness of what this unique product has to offer across a range of industries.
“Our research capabilities and our ability to develop a completely tailored fabric from the ground up has meant that we’ve developed long lasting relationships with our customers. They know that if they have a fabric they want to develop, we have the technical capabilities to follow through.”
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