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News | May 22, 2024

AFFOA Announces First Awardees of Product Accelerator for Functional Fabrics (PAFF) Program

By Advanced Functional Fabrics of America

Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) announced the selection of Loomia and Z-Polymers as the first two Product Accelerator for Functional Fabrics (PAFF) program awardees. This first-of-its-kind initiative is designed to enable organizations to leverage AFFOA’s capabilities and personnel, at no direct cost, to increase the speed to market of Advanced Functional Fabric (AFF) products for commercial and defense applications.

The PAFF program is specifically tailored for companies that are in the advanced stages of commercializing an advanced fiber or fabric product or process. With a performance period of up to 12 months, the program was created to help organizations fill the gaps in their product/process development processes and accelerate their time to market.

“Most companies working on advanced functional fabrics, whether they are startups or well-established organizations, have gaps in their product development process, and finding the expertise or training teams to fill those gaps can be quite costly and time-consuming. We have worked very hard here at AFFOA to create a resource with decades of experience, cutting-edge technologies, and unique capabilities that the advanced textile industry needs. And now, with the PAFF program, they access these resources at no added cost and can get their product to market faster.” shared AFFOA CEO Sasha Stolyarov. “We plan on conducting several rounds of the PAFF program and are excited about its potential impact on the domestic advanced fabrics ecosystem.”

The PAFF programs’ first two awardees are both startups working on commercializing novel fiber and advanced fabric technologies with dual-use case application potential. Loomia makes a soft, flexible circuit built for easy integration into textiles called the Loomia Electronic Layer (LEL), which can be used in medical wearables, automotive interiors, outdoor goods, and robotics. The PAFF program collaboration will focus on Loomia’s 12V Loomia’s Electronic Layer heating design that can be used for DoD uniforms, medical devices, and automotive interiors.

Z-Polymers, a materials science company, is developing Tullomer™, a unique polymer compound made into stronger-than-steel fibers without the use of harmful PFAS chemicals that can be used for Electrolyzers, Fuel Cells, and Carbon Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) Parts The PAFF program will focus on leveraging the ultra-fine diameter Tullomer™ fibers for development of extremely strong and thin woven structures, to help build highly efficient membranes for fuel cell and electrolyzers applications.

“Participating in the unique PAFF program to accelerate the creation of new applications for our product Tullomer™ helps us fill the gaps that normally require high costs to bring products to market.” Shared Michael Zimmerman, CEO of Z-Polymers. “We are looking forward to continuing our work with AFFOA.”

AFFOA’s PAFF programs will be accepting new proposals from companies later in the year. Future PAFF awardees will have access to AFFOA’s system integration, advanced fabric prototyping, design, digital engineering, supply chain building, and testing and evaluation capabilities to accelerate their product and process development.

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About AFFOA

AFFOA is a non-profit, public private partnership and one of the DoD funded Manufacturing USA Innovation Institutes headquartered in Cambridge, MA. AFFOA’s mission is to “Rekindle the domestic textiles industry by leading a nationwide enterprise for advanced fiber & fabric technology development and manufacturing, enabling revolutionary system capabilities for national security and commercial markets”.

About Loomia

Loomia makes a soft, flexible circuit built for easy integration into textiles called the Loomia Electronic Layer (LEL). The Loomia Electronic Layer (LEL) is a soft, flexible circuit that can add functionality to a range of materials such as wood veneer, knit and woven textiles, and PU leather. The LEL can be patterned to heat, light sense and more by using patented patterning and integration methods. As a specialty circuit, the LEL is ideal for applications where the integration between electronics and soft surfaces is critical such as a medical wearables, automotive interiors, outdoor goods, and robotics.

About Z-Polymers

Z-Polymers is a materials science company that has invented a new polymer, Tullomer™: an eco-friendly, inert, and stronger-than-steel fiber that facilitates the hydrogen economy and 3D printing. By reducing carbon footprint by over 90%, this revolutionary polymer eliminates harmful PFAS chemicals and offers unparalleled strength for electrolyzers, fuel cells, and carbon fused deposition modeling (FDM) parts. Z-Polymers is committed to reducing energy consumption, carbon footprint, and enhancing sustainability by optimizing a class of materials known as liquid crystal polymers (LCPs). These materials possess high strength, chemical resistance, and excellent thermal stability, are processed at low temperatures, are PFAS-free, use no toxic chemicals, and are gentle on the environment. Join the green revolution with Tullomer™. This company is the only one in US developing this type of material.