In the era of e-cards, Eric Chen, founder of Kingwills™ New Material, is still used to presenting a physical business card to friends who meet for the first time.
As a special fiber material, the name of flashspun metamaterial is very strange. Speaking of application scenarios, you will find that this material is everything around you — nearly 100 subdivisional scenarios including protective clothing, medical packaging materials for medical packaging, automobile covers, vapour barrier material for building envelopes, desiccant packaging, logistics transfer bags, outdoor tents, etc.
Before the emergence of Hypark™, the global flash spun metamaterials were monopolized by foreign technologies for more than 50 years, and the application market was in short supply for a long time. Even before 2020, the information about this material on Baidu was very scarce.
The large-scale production base of flashspun fabric was put into production in Nantong, Jiangsu.
Since 2014, Eric Chen has led his former colleagues and a group of elites majoring in materials and chemical engineering in Zhejiang University to devote themselves to the research of flash spun metamaterial, overcoming the technical bottleneck and realizing homemade production and mass production.
Now, this material has finally won the name of a Chinese enterprise.
The application scenarios of flash-spun metamaterial are generally irreplaceable, which is closely related to their material characteristics.
Eric Chen said that this material has more than a dozen characteristics different from other common materials, in which two seemingly contradictory characteristics are especially prominent.
First, waterproof, and breathability. Lightweight waterproof material is mostly airtight, however, the flash spun metamaterial can pass through gas molecules as it controls the porosity in a very narrow window range, and blocks liquid molecules, solid molecules, bacteria, and different carriers carrying viruses.
Second, lightweight and tough. The weight of Hypark™ material is usually 30-60g/m2, which is half lighter than the equivalent area of paper (about 60-120g), but its toughness and strength are better than most materials.
Eric Chen said that flash spun metamaterial has two unique characteristics. First, it is green and environmentally friendly, its chemical elements are only carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. After combustion, carbon dioxide and water are produced, and no other residues; and it can be 100% recycled; the coupling degree is high between material fibers, which can be cleaned and peeled off. As a packaging material, no debris and fibers will be produced.
"For example, the packaging materials of most of Class III medical devices in the world are made of this material, which is antibacterial; medical devices placed inside the human body can remain sterile and clean." Eric Chen introduced that the medical protective clothing during the pandemic was first made of this medical suit material, which was resistant to bacteria and viruses and breathable.
In the field of industry and consumption, industrial desiccant packaging, logistics transfer bags, heat shield, outdoor backpacks & sleeping bags, Clothing, wristbands, washable labels of luxury goods, umbrellas, kites, etc. are also made of this innovative packaging materials.
"Hypark™ is applied in all aspects of life," said Eric Chen.
Flashspun metamaterial, which has "contradictory advantages", has been monopolized by foreign countries in the past 50 years, and they are all "exclusive secrets" from technology to equipment.
Eric Chen said that in terms of the production process, an extremely complicated process attributes the characteristics of this material. "In micromorphology, the material is a completely disorderly organization. In the process of becoming a product, it must be orderly, and the process itself is a 'contradictory work'."
Production equipment is also a "bottleneck" of flash spun metamaterial. Being monopolized by individual enterprises, no other available equipment suppliers in the world.
"Process, equipment and formulation shall match each other, and there were very many variables in the process. We constantly tried and made mistakes. Even a small part, we also designed 40-50 plans, carried out numerous tests and verification repeatedly, then finalized the plan. Eric Chen said frankly that from the laboratory to the pilot production line, and then to today's large-scale production line, a lot of manpower and material resources were input, and finally the dilemma was broken.
In June 2022, Kingwills™ completed the A round of financing exceeding RMB 100 million yuan, which was led by GL Ventures, followed by Oriental Yuhong, a listed building waterproof company, CCIG's fund, CITIC Environment Investment fund, and Asian Green Fund. The raised funds will be mainly used for the construction of large-scale production lines.
Oriental Yuhong, the industry leader, was originally a major customer of flash spun metamaterial applications in China. Previously, the company sent technical experts to evaluate the product technology, scale capability and cost, and finally decided to invest in Kingwills™.
"The product can be completely produced in China, which is stable in quality and cost-effective after scale production." It is a necessity in the industry after 8 years.
Under the advocacy of "scientific and technological autonomy", Hypark™, a new material of Kingwills™, takes the lead.
In July 2021, Kingwills™ settled in Nantong Development Zone to build a large-scale flash spun production project. In August 2022, the first production line was put into operation, with a production capacity of 3,000 tons. After the completion of Kingwills™ Industrial Park, the annual output value will exceed RMB 10 billion yuan.
With strong production potential, it is commercialized rapidly. Kingwills™ also focus on the application of medical packaging, safety protection and green building.
In terms of business model, Kingwills™ is "customized". Eric Chen explained that flashspun metamaterial is of "affinity", which can be made into various products, and is used as basic material. It is easy for printing and coloring treatment as it is used as composite material together with other materials with various characteristics; various forms of delivery can be realized based on different industries and different customer requirements.
"The underlying technical innovation is alike. The intermediate application level actually requires us to have an in-depth understanding of customer demand, and then micro-innovation is made to form downstream products." This model likes a big tree. "Homologous technology is like a root, and going deep into the industry can flourish."
In actual cases, Kingwills™ often makes development together with customers. Open the product manual, there are 20 different products only in the building field, including some household waterproof products.
Flashspun metamaterial becomes mature gradually, and the team has started the research and development of other new materials. At present, Kingwills™ mainly produces and sells Hypark™, but not only this in the future. "We want to develop more products."
Eric Chen expects that Kingwills™ can develop more high-tech materials which are scarce in the world, becoming the leading enterprise of new materials in China, filling in the gap of the industry, and truly achieving " independent innovation".