HeiQ Australia is focused on the research, development, and commercialisation of novel materials for modifying the properties of textiles. Its parent company, HeiQ Materials AG, was co-founded in Switzerland in 2005 by Australian scientist, Dr Murray Height. HeiQ supplies textile makers with specialised treatments that are applied onto the surface of textiles during their manufacture. Its unique products add functionality, such as adaptive cooling, odour control, antimicrobial properties and moisture management, to everyday apparel produced by over 200 global textile brands.
Attracted by Deakin University’s novel technology to produce short polymer fibres that offer a unique platform for functionalising surfaces, Dr Height established HeiQ Australia, which became one of the first tenants in ManuFutures in 2018. The company works seamlessly with a cross-disciplinary team of researchers led by Associate Professor Alessandra Sutti at Deakin’s Institute for Frontier Materials, including researchers from the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Future Fibres.
A partner-centric approach that meets HeiQ’s industry requirements and tight commercial time frames has seen the team successfully develop and share new technologies such as HeiQ Real Silk, with HeiQ’s global operations in Switzerland, the US, China, Portugal and Taiwan.
Developed over six years, this symbiotic relationship between Deakin researchers and HeiQ has fostered a nimble research structure that has allowed the company and the research to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the team is helping to further advance the HeiQ Viroblock textile treatment technology. When the pandemic began, HeiQ expedited production of HeiQ Viroblock, which combines silver antimicrobial technology and vesicle technology to rapidly destroy enveloped viruses, including coronaviruses. Testing indicates that HeiQ Viroblock achieves a virus reduction of over 99.9% relative to the control.
Since March 2020, this product is being used to treat face masks with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, and is manufactured in Europe, the US and Victoria for global markets. The team is working fast to extend the capabilities and applications of HeiQ Viroblock. The development of textiles and surfaces that are virus and bacteria-resistant is one aspect of helping to address the current pandemic emergency, as well as future pandemic threats.
HeiQ Australia and Deakin researchers are also continuing to collaborate on new starting materials for novel textile treatments to improve sustainability, including waste materials from agricultural or food processing and recycled textiles. Future product applications and topics being explored include home furnishings, uniforms, and scope for increased Australian-based manufacturing capability.