In a world where innovation and cutting-edge technology holds the key to solving global challenges, Savant has made an exciting investment in The Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company (SNC), a leader in nanofiber product development and manufacture. Kate Turner-Smith, Partner at Savant, expressed her enthusiasm about this partnership, stating, “We are thrilled to be working with SNC and harnessing their expertise in nanofiber technology. This investment aligns perfectly with Savant’s vision of driving meaningful progress through innovation.” With SNC’s proprietary electrospinning technology and their ability to address the market demand for bulk nanofiber materials, this collaboration opens up many new possibilities.
What is nanofiber technology?
Nanofiber technology refers to a manufacturing process that produces extremely fine fibers at the nanometer scale, typically ranging from tens to hundreds of nanometers in diameter. These fibers are significantly thinner than human hair, which has an average diameter of about 75 000 nanometers. The nanoscale size of these fibers gives them unique properties and applications that have garnered significant attention in various fields, including materials science, biotechnology, electronics and healthcare.
The production of nanofibers is achieved through different techniques, with one of the most common methods being electrospinning. The electrospinning process involves the use of an electric field. As the polymer solution is exposed to the electric field, a jet of liquid forms, which is then stretched and solidified into ultra-fine nanofibers as it travels toward a collector. This process results in the creation of nanofibers with high surface area and porosity.
Key properties of nanofibers
High surface area: Due to their small diameter, nanofibers possess an incredibly high surface area relative to their volume. This large surface area allows for increased interactions with substances like cells, molecules and other materials.
High porosity: The nanofiber structure typically exhibits a porous network, creating an environment that promotes efficient gas and liquid exchange. This characteristic is especially beneficial for applications like filtration, tissue engineering, wound care and drug delivery.
Versatility: Nanofibers can be engineered from a wide range of materials and actives, including polymers, ceramics, metals, pharmaceutical or cosmetic ingredients and composites, making them versatile for various applications.
SNC: Pioneers in nanofiber product development
Founded in 2011, SNC has emerged as a forerunner in the field of nanofiber product development and manufacture. The local South African team has developed proprietary equipment and methodologies to manufacture nanofiber material at scale. Due to its proprietary electrospinning technology, it is one of a select few nanofiber companies in the world that can address the market demand for bulk materials. Eugene Smit, CEO and Founder of SNC comments; “we remain committed to our goal of making the world a better place through nanofibers and believe that our technology, in the hands of our extremely smart, driven and proudly South African team will achieve this goal on a global scale.”
SNC’s potential lies in its ability and expertise to develop nanofiber products that provide solutions across diverse sectors, including biomedical and healthcare, energy, environment, electronics, cellular agriculture, cosmetics, textiles, automotive and aerospace, construction, packaging and biodegradable materials. SNC has already had varying degrees of commercial success in cosmetics, biomedical and healthcare, cellular agriculture and filtration, and continues to explore other areas of nanofiber application.
Key differentiator of SNC’s electrospinning technology:
Nanofiber technology continues to be an area of active research, with ongoing developments exploring new materials, improved manufacturing techniques and novel applications. But one of the major limitations for nanofiber technology to date has been its inability to scale. While in the past it has been possible to come up with unique solutions to problems at lab-scale, it has not always been possible or feasible to scale these solutions.
SNC’s proprietary ball electrospinning technology unlocks the potential to scale, and, when combined with SNC’s expertise in the field of polymer science and nanofiber development, allows them to unlock these opportunities in a commercial sense. As this technology advances, its potential to impact diverse industries and contribute to innovative solutions for global challenges becomes increasingly evident. SNC’s proprietary electrospinning technology is a game-changer in the nanofiber industry.
Here are some key benefits of their high-throughput electrospinning platform:
- High productivity: SNC’s technology enables cost-effective commercial-scale manufacture of nanofiber products.
- Needleless electrospinning process: SNC’s innovative approach allows improved throughput and sclability compared to traditional needle electrospinning.
- High-speed electrospinning technology: SNC’s technology allows the jets to self-arrange and self-optimise, enabling faster polymer jet acceleration and increased fiber production.
- Versatile material spinning: The high-speed electrospinning technology allows SNC to spin a wide range of materials, including different polymers and active ingredients from various organic solvents, water and acids.
- Additive inclusion: The spinning solution can incorporate numerous additives such as cosmetic actives, pharmaceutical drug molecules, peptides, vitamins, antibacterial agents, pigments, ceramics, metals and oils, enhancing the functionality and versatility of the nanofiber materials.
- Global patents: SNC’s electrospinning technology has been recognised and patented in 17 countries, solidifying their position as pioneers in the field.
Savant and SNC: A partnership for innovation
Savant’s investment in SNC brings together two dynamic forces in the field of technology and innovation. Underscoring Savant’s commitment to driving innovation in Africa and pushing the boundaries of technology, this collaboration will expand SNC’s advanced nanofiber technology and expertise, opening up new avenues for growth and development that could revolutionise industries and contribute to solving global challenges.
In a world filled with scientific studies and patents showcasing the incredible potential of electrospun fiber materials, SNC stands out by transforming these concepts into commercial realities. Their ability to manufacture nanofiber materials at scale and comply with industry regulations is crucial for widespread adoption.
SNC’s forward-thinking mindset, diverse team of experts and streamlined production processes ensure that innovative nanofiber concepts become tangible solutions. From material scientists and engineers to project managers and quality assurance experts, SNC’s team consistently delivers groundbreaking products that exceed industry standards.
When asked about SNC’s partnership with Savant, Dave Barron; SNC’s Head of Finance commented; “We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with Savant who has established themselves as a thought leader in technology innovation. On a fundamental level, Savant exhibits the same values and drive for innovation in Africa as we do and SNC have no doubt that this partnership will prove to be invaluable in our growth.”
Savant and SNC: Shaping a better future
The collaboration between Savant and SNC marks an exciting milestone in the realm of nanofiber technology. Through this partnership, Savant and SNC are poised to shape a better future by unlocking the vast potential of nanofiber materials, which gets us very excited! As the world continues to evolve, innovations like SNC’s nanofiber technology hold the key to addressing complex problems and creating a positive impact across various industries.
Savant Partner Kate Turner-Smith expressed her excitement about the investment, stating, “We believe that SNC’s nanofiber technology has the potential to revolutionise many industries. By partnering with SNC, Savant aims to unlock the full potential of nanofiber materials and contribute to solving global challenges. We are confident that our collaboration will yield remarkable results.”