Imattec International
Soft and flexible metallic textiles

13.05.2019 Metallic fibers offer a wide range of possibilities, can be integrated in every kind of textiles (soft structure), and can be used in pure or blended with other high-performance materials.

© Picture: Imattec
It is usually the case in the industrial market, where high thermal performance is sought in the sectors of energy, metallurgy or for example the glass industry.
In cases were temperature resistance is not the only point, as the contact with the glowing glass is also very important. That is why Imattec International, Tourcoing/France, uses a fabric made of ultra-thin stainless steel fibers, because it associates softness, smoothness of the contact and thermal resistance (300-1,300°C).
Depending on speed, temperature, moving masses, implementation constraints etc., parameters can be adjusted to boost the performances or the lifetimes of the contact products. For example, a crimp, a twist, a fiber length or section, an alloy, etc., will be more appropriate for an application than for another. This is where the know-how, the products and services of Imattec come into the game.
Among other things, the company develops and manufactures tailor-made solutions from stainless steel (various grades) and also from materials like metals, aramid, PBO, PTFE, PPS and others for glassmakers.
The products range includes staple fibers, slivers, yarns, woven and knitted fabrics, nonwovens, finished products (conveyor belts, woven tapes, ropes, braids, sleeves (woven, knitted, braided), felts etc.
Furthermore, conductive textiles for smart applications are produced. The electrical conductivity of a textile yarn depends on its section and materials composition. Whether it is for a yarn or fabric, electrical resistivity can change from ohm to Kilo ohm. Value added properties are antistatic, magnetic shielding, heating, power transmission and sensoring.
For example, a yarn used for electric power transmission must be very conductive with an adapted section in order to not discharge the battery. However a low conductivity is enough to make an antistatic fabric. For sensors, resilience and variation of conductivity are required.
Lots of areas still need to be explored thanks to the properties and possibilities added by the electrically conductive fibers to the textiles, which are by definition, flexible and soft structures with unlimited uses and present everywhere. Many projects are now at a development/prototype stage.
Stainless steel, copper, silver, aluminum etc., pure or plated on polymeric fibers, in different forms, among a long list of others, are materials used to solve different problems.
The yarn structure also has an importance. It will impact the softness, touch, aspect, price, performances, lifetime etc.
The company can produce a conductive yarn isolated, temporary/permanently mechanically reinforced, textured, with less friction and so on.
The Deshybou project allowed the development of an innovative dewatering solution on filter-press. Its purpose is to decrease times and costs used to dewater the mud (drilling, fish farm etc.). This solution is based on electro-filtration. Mechanical filtration is assisted by electric power (movement of charged particles and ions).
Imattec contributed in the development and the success of this innovative solution by offering specific conductive materials. It has passed laboratory and industrial test. In addition to the filtration of new kind of muds, it also allows reduced filtration time, better efficiency (less water in the mud cake) and a decrease in energy consumption.

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